The Legacy of Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Edwards passed away two days ago. She was a best-selling author and a universal health care advocate. She influenced her husband’s policies towards the poor. She called herself the “anti-Barbie.” She was a brilliant lawyer who could have made a very good public servant herself.
She chose, instead, to sublimate her career interests for that of her husband. You can bet she didn’t make that choice because she didn’t want the media scrutiny; John’s choice gave her no choice about that. She also chose to raise four children. Those were her choices, and she made them for herself and for her family. One assumes that she did not regret them.
There is a tendency, especially in death, to take someone like Elizabeth and make her into a martyr for a cause, make her suffering the stuff of sainthood. Something tells me that Elizabeth Edwards wouldn’t want that any more than she wants Rielle Hunter listed on her Wikipedia page as a known “associate.”
John Edwards was a North Carolina senator who decided to run for President and might have been successful if the news hadn’t leaked about his $400 haircuts. One tab was reportedly as high as $1,250, and his grooming costs were incurred by his campaign. For someone who spouted off about being an advocate for the poor, the hypocrisy was too much. Before the National Enquirer broke the news about his worst mistakes for hubris, his career was already spiraling with the TidyBowl Man and a bellowing Howard Dean.
After Elizabeth Edwards found out about the affair her husband had with a “campaign videographer,” she stayed. I don’t know if she actually forgave him or not. She says her husband told her it was a one-time indiscretion. Rielle claims something different, and John wisely keeps his mouth shut since it was his web of lies that got him in more trouble than his dick did. At the very least, he lied about the paternity of Rielle’s child, and he allegedly attempted to cover this up, and badly, with an aid, using campaign contributions from a wealthy woman supporter. His only defense is that his wife’s cancer was “in remission” while he was having his affair.
He should be in jail. Why he’s not is one of those mysteries like why Julian Assange seems to be hunted down at every turn while Dick Cheney enjoys the sweet life, reportedly somewhere here in Austin, even though he conspired to out a CIA agent. Life is not fair.
Perhaps one good example of life not being fair is the news that John Edwards was at Elizabeth Edwards’ bedside when she died. Does he deserve such mercy and compassion? Hell, no. But I suspect that the gesture was just as much for Elizabeth’s sake as it was for John’s. Before her death they separated, and Elizabeth was hoping to divorce him after the required year’s separation. Hearing that she wouldn’t have a year may have softened her heart. She is not here to ask, and some things should remain private if she was.
Elizabeth Edwards was not a saint. She was a woman. She made choices. Some of them were good; some were bad. She was human, just like the rest of us. I think that’s how she’d want to be remembered, not with the adulation of a sea of National Enquirer devotees but with the real, mature love of a husband who was all too human himself for thirty-three years of her life. In the end, do you want to be right, or do you want to be loved?
Entry filed under: Adultery, Celebrity, Death, Love, Marriage, Men, Politics, Relationships, Social Commentary, Women's Rights. Tags: Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Edwards, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Julian Assange, National Enquirer, North Carolina, Rielle Hunter.