Just get it out of your systems already
by Skaje, Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 12:46:17 PM EDT
I was an Obama supporter from the start. But that didn't mean I didn't respect John Edwards. I believe that just as Hillary Clinton made Obama a better campaigner, Edwards made both of them step up to the plate back in the early days when the front-runners were content to tread water. Obama was content to speak in grand, vague terms, and while Clinton's speeches were more concrete, she was just saying the same thing every Democrat says when gunning for the big job (the economy, healthcare, education, etc.) Edwards however, he decided to talk about poverty. Yeah, Democrats are always there for the middle class, but what about the poor? What have we done as a nation for the most vulnerable recently? This is a man who kicked off his campaign in New Orleans, a city ravaged not just by a hurricane, but by government indifference.
So I witness the feeding frenzy today on mydd and dailykos with a great sadness in my heart. Let me bring up something here, something I think that a lot of people don't realize or have simply forgotten.
Politicians are human beings. With all the faults and weaknesses that entails. And when we hold them up to standards that we ourselves often fail to live up to, we create a culture that begins to value strict definitions of morality over actual political record and positions.
As a human I know I've done things I regret, things that if I were a national politician would be booed by the masses, attacked by the newspapers, and mocked by late-night comedians. All of them people who may have skeletons in their closets but are eager to judge others.
That's what saddens me most today, is the judging. Reporting on this story is required, obviously just ignoring it isn't going to make it go away, and I'm not saying we ought to do that. But the casual way the vast majority of us are passing judgment on John Edwards, comparing him to grinning shit-eaters like Newt Gingrich and John McCain, is disgusting to me. The way we all presume to know what his marital life is like, and furthermore that we should all care beyond the simple fact that yes, he is no longer politically viable in any way. I'm not saying we should be defending his actions, just that when we pass moral judgment with such abandon, such eagerness, it starts to make us look like the other side.
When we let the penis police dictate who's a "good" politician and who isn't, we just give the radical rightwing more ammunition. We lose good politicians, reputations are sullied, and scum fuckers like Rush Limbaugh laugh at us. We let what should be private actions overshadow everything else, such as the career of the best president we've had in the last 40 years.
So get it out of your system already. Go ahead, call Edwards whatever names you want, say "I told you so!", express incredulity that he was even running for president, and if you really feel like it you can even presume to know what his wife is thinking. But I won't be a part of it.
I'll be quietly mourning the end of yet another progressive Democrat's career.