Friday, August 29, 2008
Cheatin' It Up in Hempstead
I just received an instant message from one of my politically minded pals in regards to John Edwards. Apparently, he's going to make an appearance at Hofstra University next Friday, his first since he was outed for cheating on his cancer stricken wife of more than 25 years. I'm sure the event will be filled with local and national media seeking comments from attendees before and after his speech. My feeling at the moment is that he is a lousy human being, adulterer and a cad. I'm not quite sure why I am attending this Educate 08' forum but I'm anxious to hear what he has to say. Will he circumvent the truth? Will he speak of the affair at all? I suppose he'll put a sleazy political spin on the whole mess and make me detest his cheating ways even more.
I saw him speak four years ago at Hofstra, getting up in the wee hours of a chilly March morning, to listen to a stump speech that I heard was riveting, powerful and would sway my vote in the forthcoming primary. It did. He spoke of the poor, his two America's and the working class. I was mush, fell in love with his ideas and switched the lever on primary day. Edwards didn't get the Democratic nomination in 2004, yet I knew that he would emerge in the coming years and be a valid contender for the presidency.
Well, he blew it. I just can't get past it. I supported Gary Hart in the early 1980's until he decided to have a dalliance with Donna Rice. I even wrote my American History Regents exam essay on his 1984 bid for the presidency. I was sorely disappointed in him and vowed that I would never support another politician that cheated on his wife, no matter what kind of marital arrangements they had. Bill Clinton's oral sexcapade left me limp simply because it was tacky and totally off base. For God's sake, he was the President of the United States of America and he chose to get head in the hallways of the Oval Office. I found it in my heart to overlook his blue dress mess because the economy was booming and life was good. I'm sure Hillary Clinton felt differently about his widely publicized incident since she was embarrassed and humiliated on the world stage.
John Edwards' cheating heart is quite a different monster. He broke his marital vows to a woman who has suffered endlessly in her adult life. Elizabeth Edwards, an accomplished lawyer in her own right, raised a family with John, lost their son Wade tragically in a car accident and had two, late in life children with him. Her final fate is her ongoing battle with incurable cancer, knowing that she will someday have to leave her small children in the care of this man, flawed character and all.
I'm not sure how I will fair next Friday but I do know that I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least in those fleeting moments during his speech. None of us can ever understand the inner workings of a marriage nor can they judge what they don't understand. I'm not a very forgiving person but I'm always willing to hear the other side before shutting them down. This is your chance Mr. Edwards, so bring it on!