Thursday, May 17, 2012
Weighing in on John Edwards
Who I feel so sorry for, of course, are his children, Cate, Wade (posthumously), Emma Claire, and Jack, and also toddler Quinn, who is the victim in this ridiculous affair between her mother and John Edwards. The irresponsibility of this man is staggering. Even if he no longer loved or was in love with his wife, how he could disrespect her so much is beyond me. And, not only did he disrespect his wife, he disrespected each one of his children, including Quinn, at the same time. His "legacy" to these children will reverberate forever in their lives. Where ever they go, whom ever they come in contact with, and whatever they do in life, Edward's "legacy" will be an albatross around their necks.
My heart has broken for Cate, the oldest child, who has accompanied her father to and from court and has sat by his side during this lurid trial. I can imagine the hurt, frustration and embarrassment she is going through. I can imagine the comments she overhears or are said right to her face. Does she love her father? Probably. Has she forgiven him? Probably. But, never will she or the other children ever be able to forget. For the rest of their lives, the comment, "Son/daughter of John Edwards, former presidential candidate, who had an affair and another child as a result of the affair, as their mother was dying of cancer..." will always be associated with their names and deeds.
This is the problem with my generation of "leaders." They are not leading well. Instead of realizing and roll modeling the sacrifices involved in a public life of politics and campaigns, they are exhibiting and modeling abhorrent behaviors in their lust for sex, power, money, and position. Gone are the respectable behaviors that go along with marriage and parenting. Instead, "anything goes," and therefore the type of people who go into politics and public life exhibit the worst of behaviors instead of the best. Those that are respectable are not even going into public life. And, why not?
The media scrutiny is unbearable. We hold a magnifying glass up to these public people and then we are dismayed when they perform abominably. No one is perfect, but coming as near as you can is what is needed in our leaders and politicians. Men will be men and boys will be boys are not the standbys of good behavior. We don't need to let it "all hang out," as said in one of the key phrases from the '60's generation. The pants need to be kept zipped.
The tell all books, the reality shows, and the 24/7 news cycle needs to stop. I don't want to keep up with the Kardasians. If you need therapy, go to a therapist. Some things are better kept private. There are some things that happen in life that are no one's business and no one needs to know about. I know this is what John Edwards thought when he was caught up in this affair - but, if you choose the public life, you are held to a higher standard whether you like it or not. Your judgment and choices are taken into consideration. People who act as rash and foolishly as Edwards did do not have any business running this country.
Watching these tragic and scandalous sagas play out each day on TV and the news and talk shows does nothing to uplift our country. We need to stop wallowing in the behaviors these leaders exhibit and we need to promote those who exhibit the values we respect and want to uphold. It is a vicious cycle - power, scandal, news reporting, perp walks, court trials, appeals, more scandals - and the cycle begins all over again. When will the public's thirst for this stop and when will the media stop reporting on it?
Bill Clinton, John Edwards, John Kennedy, Gary Hart, MLK, Elliott Spitzer and dozens of senators and representatives in Congress in the last forty years have hurt our country more than help our country. Their behavior disrespects our country, democracy, and all that we stand for in this world. As the years go on, prospective candidates see this behavior as acceptable to people in positions of power. It is part of their "power trip." How sad that our country has aligned itself with the lowest of the low instead of the best of the best.