Opinion: Three strikes, Ms. Shriver


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California’s ‘three-strikes’ law is about truly heinous crimes. But in politics, it’s a serious breach of behavior and self-interest to commit a ‘’do as I say, not as I do’’ violation.

Maria Shriver is not an elected official, but she is married to a renowned one, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was born into an even more famous family of them, the Kennedys.


So the inevitable outcome when hubris meets hypocrisy can’t have been lost on her. Why should the hoi polloi of us feel we need to obey the laws the politicians pass, if the high and mighty themselves won’t observe them? It undercuts the repute of politics and the public regard for the rules and regulations we are all supposed to adhere to.

At least twice, Shriver has been photographed using her cellphone without a hands-free device -- a violation of a law her husband signed. When he made it law, he noted that if he ever caught his teenage daughter breaking it, ‘’she’ll be taking the bus.’’

After his wife was caught by a gossip site driving while chatting on a cellphone sans legally required device, Schwarzenegger promised, ‘’There’s going to be swift action,’’ and Shriver apologized. I wonder whether her daughter, the one who was threatened with the bus if she broke the law, gave her mother a piece of her mind.

But Shriver was not aboard a bus -- although a Cadillac Escalade is certainly of long and lumbering proportions -- when she was seen parking said SUV in a red zone in Santa Monica for nearly an hour. She was reportedly at a doctor’s office, which I can’t imagine to be official business.

Everybody screws up once in a while, sometimes in bigger ways than not. But a red zone is a big unmistakable crimson no-no that drivers learn even before they’re old enough to get behind the wheel. How could she not see it? And if she did see it, what little voice told her, ‘’It’s OK, go ahead,’’ especially on the heels of her cellphone transgressions?

It’s a shame that paparazzi follow her hither and yon, but one definition of morality is doing the right thing even when no one’s looking, isn’t it? I am pretty sure that if I’d tried to get away with the same thing, I’d have come out of my doctor’s office to see my car on the way to the tow yard.


What ‘’swift action’’ will her husband insist upon this time? Another apology will ring a bit hollow on the heels of the other one. In the meantime, maybe we should all chip in and buy her a bus pass.

-- Patt Morrison