Former NC Senator John Edwards’ admission today that he had an affair with video director Rielle Hunter in 2006 is today’s news.
Expect more commentary on this affair in the days, weeks, perhaps months to come. It won’t be over until all parties show up on Oprah or Leno or The Real World to weep real tears before the public.
Let me just briefly express my sympathy for the Edwards family, Ms Hunter, and whoever else may be hurt or even inconvenienced by media maggots picking over this story till it is dry as bones. Take heart, folks, the silver lining is usually a fat book deal down the line, if not a major motion picture.
For a few moments here, though, count me as an unpaid freelance maggot, with few readers.
Rich, famous, and powerful men frequently cave in to the temptations available to alpha dogs. Whether these lapses get covered in the press or not, they are seldom if ever really newsworthy, and the amount and duration of the coverage have no bearing on their actual importance.
Infidelity is sad, sorry business. So is lying to the press—though arguably it’s worse to lie about the nuclear weapons capacity of a foreign power than to lie about what one’s doing with his privates.
The timing of Edwards’ confession is unfortunate—coinciding with (and probably obliterating forever from public consciousness) the urgently needed push for Congress to investigate and pass judgment on the unconstitutional behaviors of the present administration.
America loses its innocence year after year as each new scandal is treated as unprecedented and shocking.
Perhaps we crave the sensationalism because we think it wipes clean our own small failings to meet unrealistically high standards of behavior—it is for this hypocrisy, by the way, not for our purported permissiveness and license, that the rest of the world derides us Americans.
We "strain at a gnat and swallow a camel" (Matt. 23.24).
We are a nation of busybodies incapable of preserving its founding principles, which slip away while our enquiring minds peep through the drapes of the Beverly Hilton.