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08 August 2008

Edwards: Not the first, hardly the last

I am hardy ashamed to admit that I am a liberal. Call me whatever you want. You can use all the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity adjectives to describe me if you'd like — I've heard them all hurled at me at one point or another. Yet the liberal in me gets a little less liberal anytime I hear about a politician who has had an "incident" involving some sort of an extra-marital affair.

This afternoon, I sat in my office, waiting for the Internet to come back. It had been out for hours, starting at the beginning of the day. As the day progressed, we had CNN on in the background, as per usual. Out of nowhere, it happened: CNN announced that John Edwards, whose wife was stricken with cancer, admitted to having an affair with a woman who had been his campaign Web site's documentarian. 

It took my breath away.

This wasn't supposed to be something John Edwards did. He's the guy who enjoys going to Louisiana to help rebuild neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He's the guy who kept on telling us how he was the poor son of a mill worker who made it big. This John Edwards would never, ever have an affair.

Yet again, another big-name politico in yet another sexual tryst. Add him to the list: JFK, Bill Clinton, Jim McGreevey, Newt Gingrich, Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, Larry Craig ... I could go on forever here.

Sometimes, I just wonder what goes on in the mind of these politicians. Is it the power? Is it arrogance? Is it that their wives are that unsatisfactory? Is it a combo of all these ideas and more?

Whatever the reason is for these extra-marital affairs, it's all sickening. But it's even more sickening because so often, the very politicians who are sleeping away from home are the very same ones who keep on telling us how important it is to protect "the (so-called) sanctity of marriage."

What, in these marriages, is sacred? You'd almost think based on what we hear from the far right that marriage, as it is right now, is perfect. 


Instead, it's a complete mess. And it's an atrocious shame. 

John Edwards is just another name to add to a list that sadly will continue to grow. He's not the last politician we'll hear of who cheated on his wife, lied about it — and then got caught by the media. In this world, it seems more and more that it's almost acceptable for one spouse to cheat on the other.

And yet, the biggest issue — even bigger than the infidelity itself — is the sanctity of marriage. 

In so many ways, it's really broken. And it's going to take more than a Constitutional amendment to fix it.

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