Monday, August 25, 2008

too little, too late for Edwards

Today's Daily News reports that former Senator and one-time media darling John Edwards (oh . . . and he also ran for POTUS) is busily making phone calls to former supporters begging forgiveness and expressing regret for his affair with staffer Reille Hunter. Edwards, apparently, is not offering excuses or explanations; he's only expressing regret:
One source who compared notes with other former colleagues said Edwards makes no attempt to justify or rationalize his behavior in these desperate phone conversations. He simply expresses his regret for deceiving them and asks for their understanding and forgiveness.
Apparently, however, his regret does not strike one-time supporters as sincere, or at least not sincere enough:
Many think he's still not telling the truth.

"As painful as it will be for him, he needs to come clean," one of them said. "There's an overwhelming view that he's still lying."

The sad truth is that Edwards has fallen victim to the common human condition: Ever the idealist (whether honestly or merely for political leverage), Edwards could not avoid the cold, hard reality of human fallenness. Theologians identify "sin" as inherent in the human animal. Maybe; I'm not so sure. Regardless, sin is pervasive. Perhaps that's why the Daily News piece saddened me. Edwards deserves every bit of shame and scorn he receives. But so do those heaping the shame and scorn. While we're at it, so do I.

I sympathize with his former supporters: They saw in him a hope for the future, regardless of what the rest of us saw, and now they feel betrayed and humiliated. Of course, the real victim in all of this is the hapless Mrs. Edwards. Well beyond being publicly humiliated, the man who had promised to forsake all others and to cherish and honor her forsook instead his vow, and this when she needed him most. I emphasize the wrongs done to her not to draw our attention to Mr. Edwards's flaws but to put in perspective the failings that plague us all.

To be sure, Edwards' defeat in the Democratic primaries was a victory for America (perhaps not an unbiased assessment). But his moral failure is no one's victory, and the sad aftermath of this drama, including John's spurned pleas for a second chance, reveals the worst in human behavior and relationships. Edwards's story reveals precisely the problem that Jesus' story solves. Before we point our fingers and cast aspersions on a man who once hoped to have his mail forwarded to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., let's make sure we remember that our stories, too, would be tragedies were it not for a man who once blessed the poor, the meek, and those who make for peace.

1 comment:

jason said...

aha - you've fixed it - well, your posts are still too deep for me to comment on....but I will continue to read and learn =)

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