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Shame on Edwards, shame on us

Fri, Aug 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

John Edwards got busted by the National Enquirer. It's rather a sad thing that news sources are getting their leads from such an empty publication but I've suspected as much when watching the network news and seen headlines in papers as large as the Star Tribune, which will feature two headed dogs and such on the front page, above the fold. It's a fine line between news and entertainment these days and the latter sells more.

So John Edwards had an affair with a woman of less substance than his wife. Pardon me, while I yawn.

The man is handsome, rich and powerful. It's an aphrodisiac recipe. The foolishness of it is that these guys keep believing they won't get caught. Secret Service agents must sign contracts upon hire promising they will never, ever, in this life or another, think about a career in writing. Ditto drivers, cooks, and hotel maids.

I'm disappointed at the cliché that gets played out time and again. Middle aged man, expensive suit, and young, starry eyed girl with aspirations to be someone's second wife or featured in People magazine. I'll vote for the first unfaithful husband who brings out a plain looking, similar aged woman, maybe less attractive than his wife, and says "She doesn't look like much but she reads really interesting books." But, so far, no.

I will donate money and carry signs for the first candidate with a real interest in governance and policy that opens the campaign with a statement: "Here is my political position, here is how I plan to manage this job, I will discuss these ad nauseum with the community that I wish to lead. However, my personal life and my religious life are not relevant to this position and are not open to discussion."

When I apply for a job, the prospective employer can ask me about my training, my career experience, my relative strengths and weaknesses. They do not, cannot, ask me about my religious practice or sexual behavior. Think about it. Wouldn't that be creepy in a job interview? Political candidates are applying for a job. Voters are the potential employers. Perhaps this years' long campaigns cause us to run out of questions so we turn to the bizarre for conversation. I might suggest, we get there far too quickly and ask the important questions with too little attention.

So we have McCain and Obama accepting an invitation to be drilled by Rick Warren and an audience nation wide waiting to hear all things faith based. Are we looking to hire a national minister? That would be the only good excuse for such a meeting.

We have an economy in a death spiral; a war with no end in sight which contributes to the economic problems if we bother to connect the dots; a brand new international conflict bubbling up in Georgia (I took out an atlas and was relieved to see this is not the Georgia on our southeastern coast - whew - Bush and Rice got that stern look like Atlanta had been invaded and they might have to kick some behinds); a health care system that is not a system at all; a public education system that is over regulated and underfunded; outrageous fuel costs and people still driving Hummers; jobs that support families disappearing and being replaced by minimum wage jobs that we are told represent economic growth. Did I mention bridges falling into rivers.

My apologies for such a dark scenario but, in all of that, we demand to know how and if they pray and who is hanging around the hotel rooms?

No, John Edwards should not have made such foolish decisions but his apologies and confessions should play out in his house, to his wife and children. He actually is on the right side of most political issues and the backlash of this would have been crushing to that effort had he been the chosen candidate. But he isn't the candidate. We ought not generalize about how these indiscretions impact the real issues at hand.

Shame on you John; the cameras were always pointed at you. Shame on us, for accepting the circus tent news as valid and caring too little about the decisions made in those trailers behind the tent. I don't care where they pray or what they like to eat. Let's care about what they do when they show up for work in January.

Beadrin Youngdahl lives in Peterson. She can be reached at

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