John Edwards and the Harper Valley PTA
On Facebook, the Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, the AP, and yes, Oliver Willis "Krytonite to stupid"' blogs, I have never seen so many people who have decided to join the gang of John Edwards bashers because of his egregious error in having an affair with another woman.
The graphic I borrowed from that trashy blog post at Kos is precisely my disposition.
The situation feels as though a whale injured himself and the sharks are around to shred him.
Most of those sharks believe they are on the moral high ground. I tend to think about Tom T. Hall's Harper Valley PTA, sung beautifully by Jeannie C. Riley in the late 60's:
Lyrics applicable here:
The note said, "Mrs. Johnson, you're wearing your dresses way too high
It's reported you've been drinking and a-runnin' 'round with men and going wild
And we don't believe you ought to be bringing up your little girl this way"
It was signed by the secretary, Harper Valley P.T.A.
Well, it happened that the P.T.A. was gonna meet that very afternoon
They were sure surprised when Mrs. Johnson wore her mini-skirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard, I still recall the words she had to say
She said, "I'd like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley P.T.A."
Well, there's Bobby Taylor sittin' there and seven times he's asked me for a date
Mrs. Taylor sure seems to use a lot of ice whenever he's away
And Mr. Baker, can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town?
And shouldn't widow Jones be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?
Well, Mr. Harper couldn't be here 'cause he stayed too long at Kelly's Bar again
And if you smell Shirley Thompson's breath, you'll find she's had a little nip of gin
Then you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a mother I'm not fit
Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you're all Harper Valley hypocrites.
Now, I am not excusing John for his behavior. I would agree he shouldn't have risked his marriage, his family, and aspirations to be the greatest president of this decade over a gold digger who apparently refuses to get a job, and as Elizabeth is describing "a parasite" whose "life is pathetic". I tend to agree. I'm sorry Elizabeth felt the need to express her anger in her book (for her, it probably is therapeutic for an infidelity victim), but I won't join in with the other sharks in saying she was wrong or complicit with her husband in joining him on the campaign trail to help fulfill his political ambitions.
John and Elizabeth's causes were still mine: to lift up the poor, to strengthen the middle class, to obtain universal health care so that businesses wouldn't have to choose providing health care only for themselves, but be a part of a pool with options for cheaper gov't plans as competition.
John also pushed Obama and Hilary to the point where they had to start stating their positions instead of relying on personalities.
I look forward to the National Health and Palliative Care Organization's Person of the Year, Elizabeth Edwards, on TV this Thursday on Oprah.
To the sharks on these places, don't be caught doing anything wrong. Otherwise, you will be the next wounded victim.
Update on May 5th: Elizabeth speaks out.