Saturday, August 9, 2008

John Edwards

I suppose I should say something about the John Edwards fiasco. Given that I don't have a TV (so I can't watch the Olympics) and I don't have anything intelligent to say at this point on the Georgia-Russia war.

Obviously John Edwards did something terrible and reprehensible. By breaking his marital vows he hurt not only himself, not only his wife and his children, but society as a whole. As a society we are all hurt a little bit when our image of the institution of marriage is tarnished by a scandal like this one. As a former Edwards supporter I'm seriously disappointed.

That being said, all of us are sinners. As St. Paul said, 'there is no man righteous, not one.' We are supposed to try and help each other out when we fall, not jeer at one another and rejoice in each other's misfortunes. Adultery is a serious sin but it's also a fairly common one, and there's no sin too great for forgiveness if one is truly sorry. I think that John Edwards, for his part, is truly sorry.

I believe that at bottom, John Edwards is still a good man, though as we now know a seriously flawed one with as much liability to evil as any of us. Parnell was an adulterer too, but he was one of the greatest men his country produced in his century. Allende was a womanizer, so was Franklin Roosevelt, so was Michael Manley. We should give our sympathy to John Edwards and his family as he struggles to redeem himself from the burden of his wrongdoing, and we should hope that the day may come when he can again have something valuable to contribute to the political life of his country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As an Edwards supporter, I share your profound sense of disappointment. I even feel slightly betrayed. Though, we are not his family members, we as supporters did place a good bit of trust in him as we supported him and encouraged others to do so. I The revelations definitely undermines that trust. I was aware of the changes in his positions from '04 to the '08 race, but still felt that he was a decent and genuine candidate. He seemed to learn from the '04 run when he ran like an expedient politician, only to realize the fallacy of expediency and return to his true principles for the '08 run. I still don't doubt this latter run was more genuine. But it's also true as he said that he started feeling a little full of himself. He needs to earn his redemption now. The "cause" is more than just giving speeches on universal healthcare and progressivism and then disappearing into lucrative private life once the run for the presidency is over. He owes it to his supporters, to society and to his wife to redeem himself. Elizabeth Edwards is a greater person. She still urged him to keep running for the sake of the cause, despite learning of his betrayal and her cancer remission. That's a remarkable commitment to the cause. John Edwards should learn from Al Gore. Deeds matter more than words.