Saturday, August 9, 2008
There are several ways to look at this whole John Edwards affair and the media frenzy that has joined it. Of course, when I first heard the rumors that he'd had an affair, it was a month ago when a tabloid was toting the story and trying to get a comment from Edwards, saying that they had photos.
Because a tabloid was involved, I questioned whether it was true, but still wondered in the back of my mind. I think we've all become accustomed to the idea that a high-powered, good-looking man is going to get around a bit, especially those running for president or already in office.
When I heard that Edwards finally admitted it was true (after weeks of denying the affair and watching his former staffers defend him), I also thought, "Why can't guys like these just keep their zippers up? What is it with power and the penis?"
And I wondered about Paul Tsongas--yes, little ol' Paul Tsongas. Remember him? I can't imagine the guy getting it on during his campaign. Sure, Tsongas didn't have the nice-nice hair, like Clinton and Edwards, and he had that little face and stature. He was a not a presidential hottie. Perhaps that's my own bias.
Now, I'm thinking about reality. What if Edwards' wife knew about this affair all along? What if it really wasn't an affair, and this woman was simply part of a polyamorous relationship that was honest and well-intentioned? But in this society, that just doesn't fly right, and that's why someone like Elizabeth Edwards has to issue a statement that says, "I knew, he told me, I was hurt and we worked through it." If she issued a statement that said, "John and I are in love and committed to each other and our children, but we also have relationships outside our marriage that are meaningful and important, etc," that would be a different story, and we wouldn't be sitting around blaming power and the penis, or Edwards' wonderful hair. That would be a powerful story that would make these women married to these men far more interesting than being labeled a victim.
And that would mean we wouldn't have to listen to shock-and-awe media stories about a candidate's life gone wrong with power and his penis. Or we would have to change the way we look at possible presidential candidate--and vote for more people like Paul Tsongas.