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The Expansionist
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
 
Puritanism, Racism, and Hypocrisy. The media of late have been filled with fake indignation about John Edwards having had an affair, that story vying with an odd tale about a woman whose 2-year-old child disappeared and the mother did not report that disappearance to the authorities. Mind you, hundreds of black children a year disappear, hundreds of black women disappear, but the major media pay absolutely no attention to that. No, the media are interested only in white children, and white women. And scandal from politicians, not ordinary people nor non-political celebrities.
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Quite the contrary, the Hores of Hollywood get a free pass when they screw around, have babies out of wedlock, and destroy one marriage after another thru infidelity. That's fine. No problem, no moral issue. Just wall-to-wall coverage without any moralizing.
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A politician does precisely the same kind of thing as a Hollywood Hore, and all of a sudden the media find their moral voice and express the (presumed) outrage of the community. What a bunch of bullsh(asterisk).
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Trying to justify their imitation indignation, the media poke their noses into the financial arrangements involving the woman who dallied with Edwards, trying desperately to find some financial wrongdoing in the payments made to her for her work for the Edwards campaign and the assistance she received to live well in a lavish setting. They plainly hope to uncover diversion of campaign contributions to "hush money", but seem not to be getting very far in that.
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Nor is the disparagement of the Internet documentaries she produced as not being worth the $114,000 she was paid in the slitest sensible. Who is to set the value of any filmmaker's work? Hollywood films cost millions and millions and millions of dollars, and not all even turn a profit. When the value is not money but votes, or the good feeling about a candidate that might lead to votes, the amount that a campaign pays anyone is the campaign's business, not some self-appointed film critic in political media. One editor of film criticism, Maria Russo in the Los Angeles Times, said the idea of webisodes was all very new at the time, and cutting-edge, untested. Who is to place a value on new ideas?
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Lacking for genuine public-policy issues in this affair, media fall back on scandal for the sake of scandal, and question the paternity of Ms. Hunter's baby dauter. Edwards says the timing is wrong for him to be the father, and expresses willingness to take a paternity test. Ms. Hunter demurs. The media find another 'candidate' for the position of baby daddy, but no one knows.
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Pundits speculate whether this will end Edwards' political career or he can emerge, down the road, from the cloud of shame that his behavior has cast on his future, to become a viable candidate for something, at some level of government.
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And the rest of us, the sane and sensible among us, at first dismiss the story as trivia, then become indignant at the absurdity of so much attention and so much mock shock and dismay that a man in the public spotlite would dare to have an extramarital affair. What about those Presidents of recent memory who had affairs, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Democrat) to Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) to John F. Kennedy (Democrat) — three out of four Presidents in the relatively decorous Forties and Fifties — to Bill Clinton (Democrat) most publicly? Jimmy Carter admitted to 'lusting in his heart', but not following that lust into action. John McCain is said to have been unfaithful to his first wife, over 30 years ago. I never heard any extramarital scandal associated with Richard Nixon, but that didn't make him a good guy, did it?
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What about the behavior of Americans in general? Altho the great preponderance of ordinary people think "cheating" is immoral, studies indicate that around 25% of men and 15% of women engage in extramarital sex at least once in the course of their marriage, and 17% of divorces result from the discovery of cheating. Fully reliable statistics are of course impossible to get, because people lie about things they are ashamed of. So these figures reflect what people admit to. The divorce rate is sturdier, statistically speaking, but not as well established as you might think.

The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
If 17% of those divorces arise from infidelity, 9% of first marriages, 10% of second, and 12% of third marriages suffer infidelity — and that is apparently only infidelity the other partner knew about.
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Marriage is not the only stable relationship to suffer "cheating". Many people who refuse to marry, or at least put off marrying until they are sure a relationship is solid, have formal or informal understandings forbidding 'extracurricular' sexual activity. An unspecified but very large percentage of relationships that are supposed to be sexually exclusive end because one or the other partner decides they don't want to be faithful to that particular partner. Many people enter into "serial monogamy" without sanction of government (living together), and each subsequent relationship after the first constitutes infidelity as some people might see things. Remember that the ideal we are given is of no sex before marriage, no sex outside of marriage, so the first committed relationship should be treated, for moral purposes, as marriage, and every subsequent relationship not ended by death as infidelity.
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Plainly monogamy is for many people a very tuf row to hoe, and hos make it so. Many a married person has been lured from the straight and narrow by predatory people who care nothing about the 'sanctity' of a relationship that gets in the way of their having their way with someone attractive. Rielle Hunter was said, in some news stories, to have gotten bad vibes from Mrs. Edwards, and blamed Elizabeth E. for her firing: "Someday, the truth about her [E.E.] is going to come out."
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I was going to ignore this story as trivia, but am so irritated by the hypocrisy and absurdity of it all that I have to say something: "And the relevance of all this to public policy is ...?"
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John Edwards did not run for saint. He ran for President.
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John Edwards' campaign was not about "family values" nor moral purity, but about gross economic inequity in American civilization and the harm we suffer as a Nation from the rapacity of the rich and the powerlessness of the poor. What has that got to do with adultery?
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The plutocratic rich — many of them adulterers themselves — must be rolling on the floor laffing at the stupidity of the American people, that they would throw over their one consistent champion because he couldn't keep his pants zipped. Who is to take Edwards' place as the voice of the voiceless poor, crushed by the malign, vicious behavior of the plutocratic rich? Of what conceivable relevance is John Edwards' sexual behavior to his politics of socioeconomic justice? If we are, as a people, so stupid that we demand perfect purity from our leaders, then we will continue to be ruled by the vicious, evil scum who pose as solid citizens and faithful husbands — while reducing the bulk of the population to penury.
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But it's all selective, isn't it? Martin Luther King, Jr. cheated on his wife. That is not what he is remembered for. He has been secularly beatified by having his birthday created into a national holiday. So unwilling are we to hear of his flaws that the Wikipedia article on MLK does not include the words "adultery" or "infidelity", and a search on "sexual" discloses only that he "possibly engaged in sexual affairs". MLK's repeated plagiarism is discussed only in the "External Links" section after the actual article. No, MLK was a saint. We've decided that, and even tho many Americans accept that he was a seriously flawed person, what he worked on (not alone, by the way) was so important that we will not permit the focus of history to be on his flaws. Besides, he's dead, and we mustn't speak ill of the dead.
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A book last year about Mahatma Gandhi by one of his grandsons suggests that the greatest of modern figures in the area of political change thru peaceful means may have been fooling around on the side. Does that in any way void Mohandas Gandhi's message?
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John Edwards is very much alive, thank goodness. I hope he fites back against the evil scum in media and the plutocracy who would silence him with irrelevancies. And as for major media focusing on vanished white women and girls and paying absolutely no attention to vanished black women and girls, that speaks volumes, to me, of the nonexistent moral authority of the media to pronounce on anyone.
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,138 — for Israel.)

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