Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Are We Suprised With This Stuff?

John Edwards has joined the ranks of political candidates, officials, patrons and other famous people by committing adultery. Yawn and sigh. This information of course was brought to you in blazing headlines and full-front page color photos by none other than the National Enquirer, probably one of the few "newspapers" who still has a decent circulation.
Of course, initially Edwards danced around it and made vague denials and assertions that the rag was full of lies so he wouldn't comment on it. Then, he decided to "come clean" and admit to the affair. He held an interview with Bob Woodruff of ABC News where he explained his version of the events. Basically the affair started and ended in 2006. He told his wife about it. They've decided to move on. Should be the end of the story. Wrong.
How we love our sexual scandals and peccadilloes. How we love to shake our heads and cluck-cluck or tisk-tisk or whatever we do and say "what a sleaze!" How could he do this to poor Elizabeth? Does the man have no shame? Or, if you were in the Edwards camp, say "Why John? Why would you do such a thing? Say it isn't so!....
Alas, it is so. It is all too common place to see these types of admissions come to light. Of course what Edwards did was wrong. He admitted to Narcissism and Ego-Centric behavior. He is contrite and remorseful. He said his wife has forgiven him. However, what he did was also very stupid. Gone is any chance of an appointment to an Obama administration. Gone is his credibility and likely gone is his ability to continue to focus on his poverty program.
However, before all the right-wingers, TV Evangelists, News Pundits, Gossip Queens, Political Enemies decide to jump on the "Let's trash Edwards" bandwagon remember he was not the first to do this nor will he be the last. Whether it's a politician or a powerful businessman, or a powerful military leader, academician, reverend, or whomever, powerful positions attract egocentric and narcissistic people.

We know our political history is replete with sexual scandals in the White House and out. As far back as Thomas Jefferson, we've known that presidents and other politicians have mistresses and affairs. We can fast forward through the history of the United States focusing on the affairs of presidents and basically identify either a president or a senior political figure that is involved in an affair in about every other decade. Don't think so? Please just Google "Presidential Mistresses". One president, James Buchanan, likely our first gay president had such a cozy relationship with William R. King, that his political opponents called King Buchanan's "better half" or his wife.
In the 20th century presidential affairs and sexual scandals are well known. Warren G. Harding had Nan Britton, FDR had Lucy Mercer, Dwight David Eisenhower had Kay Summersby (although while he was head of the Army in WWII), JFK had just about every woman that could breathe, LBJ had Alice Glass, Gary Hart had Donna Rice, Bill Clinton had Gennifer Flowers and Monica, Newt Gingrich fooled around on his wives, John McCain fooled around on his first wife, Larry Craig, David Vitter, on and on and on and on.
So I'll ask. Why are we suprised at this. The country at large acts like Claude Rains does in the scene from Casa Blanca where as the Vichy Police Chief Louie, he closes down Rick's cafe because he's "Shocked! Shocked! to find gambling going on at the joint". Of course, this is said right before the croupier comes to Louie and hands him his winnings thereby immortalizing a terrific example of hypocrisy. We know politicians lie, cheat, steal, fornicate, etc. etc. etc. It's a given this will continue. What we should be doing is not paying attention to this as it is all deeply personal. Why do you want to hash over ground that has already been plowed over and over again by the politicians in the past. It's old news, it's sad news and it's not really news, at least not worth listening to.
Tell me what you think,