Elizabeth, John and That Other Woman

(NOTE: This is taken from conversations I’ve had with myself and friends, as well as stories I’ve read written by others.  The arguments rage on and on and on.)

“We should string him up by his balls.”

“I know that.  But — ”

“I never did trust him.  He was always too much of a pretty boy.  Insincere.”

“Yeah, I know that, too.  But — ”

“I always thought Elizabeth was too good for him.  This just proves it.”

“How could she take this public, though?  What about their children?”

“Everybody always blames the wife.  Remember how Silda Spitzer stood up along with her creepy husband and everybody ganged up on her for being a sap?  Weren’t you critical of her then?”

“Yeah, I was.”

“So, tell me.  How is the wronged wife supposed to act?”

“I don’t know.  I just hate it that she’s made all of this public.  I always admired her so much — and this behavior diminishes her.”

“You haven’t answered the question.  What’s she supposed to do, instead?  Maybe she wanted to tell her side of the story — get it out there.”

“Why?  To punish him?  That awful other woman?  The child who’s probably his?”

“Yes, yes, and yes.  What’s wrong with that?”

“There’s an innocent child here who didn’t ask to be born.”

“Like she said, though, it’s not her problem.”

“How can it not be her problem if her husband’s the father?  She’s telling part of the truth that’s comforting to her, about having her husband and this woman cheat on her.  She’s ignoring the child.”

“Are you telling me John and Rielle have told the whole truth?”

“No, of course not.  But why does Elizabeth have to enter into a public discourse about it?  I think she’s great.  I think she’s better than that.”

“You just want her to stay quiet and be the good little wife?”

“You know what?  I don’t know what I want.  I also don’t think it’s any of my business.”

“So what?  We spend most of our time talking about things that are none of our business.”

“But this is about politics, too — and the supporters both Edwardses misled when he ran for president.”

“It’s also about death.  She’s dying, you know.  You’ve always said that cancer makes you crazy.”

“I know.  It’s the truth.  A woman is dying and she wants to tell her story before she disappears.”

“Yeah.  Can’t you understand that?”

“Of course I can understand.”

“You just wish she had another story to tell, don’t you?  You wish this all had never happened to her?”

“That’s exactly what I wish.  But it’s too late, for that, isn’t it?”

“Oh, yeah.  Way too late.”

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

5 comments… add one
  • Very powerful, Ruth.  I’ve heard similar conversations.  I feel so sad for her…and for the child.

  • Ginny Agnew Link

    This is such a complex issue. To the extent we see her book Resilience as an attempt to restore John in some way the feminist in us says “No” but to the extent it is a wonderful woman who is facing her own death and does not want to be thought of as a patsy we say “Yeah!” Nothing about this situation is simple, nor is the response of other middle-aged women who know what it is to love a powerful complex man. Sex is the messiest thing ever invented and when it rides the same horse as power… very complex, thank you for talking it out with us.

  • I feel sorry for her, but also for the three children they have together, and also the  one he has with Rielle – or whatever she calls herself.  How embarrassing and confusing  it must be for the children, especially Kate, who is older.

  • Yes, it’s politics, and it’s also money.  A lot of people will buy that book.  She is doing the book tour thing.  I have heard her on a couple of radio shows.  I don’t have TV here in Alaska, but I’m sure she is on TV as well.  Why do they want more money?  And what was his role in writing the book?  Did he okay everything she said?  From what I heard on the radio I don’t think she had anything new or insightful or wise to say about human relations.  But perhaps there is more in the book than just celebrity exhibitionism.  I do not intend to read it.   Maybe she will establish an educational fund for injured wives with the proceeds. 

  • Winston Link

    As a North Carolinian, I was fed up with John Edwards before he ever hit the Presidential campaign trail.  As far as we can see, he only wanted and ran for and received the title, “Senator,” to add cache to his appeal to the non-NC masses in his Presidential bid.  His brief senatorial career owes much to imagination and little to documented facts.

    I’m all for Elizabeth having her say— any way she chooses!

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