April 24 2012
Is John Edwards a Criminal or Just a Jerk?
I dread hearing the sordid details of Edwards’ affair rehashed on the airwaves.
Whether or not he actually broke the law, Edwards clearly broke his marriage commitment and behaved in a vulgar manner. He - like Clinton, Spitzer, Vitter, and Schwarzenegger - used his position of power to take advantage of younger and (in some cases) largely defenseless women. Edwards acted as if sexual improprieties were part of his job description.
But the fact is there will always be men, like Edwards, who act like pigs. If, as a society, we want to see fewer of these scandals erupt, we ought to probe a bit deeper and ask what other factors may be leading to these very public sex scandals.
We ought to consider, for instance, what role modern feminism has played in creating this laissez-faire sexual culture. For decades feminists on the left have undermined relationships and the value of marriage. Add to this, women’s professional and economic successes, as well as improvements in birth control, and women have much more freedom today than in the past. But, there is a cost to that freedom. Gender roles have largely dissolved, romantic relationships are of a bygone era, and we’ve lost site of what a health relationship really means.
I don’t want to know any more details about his marriage or affair. I don’t care if he did or didn’t break the law. Nor, do I want to be a judge of his morality. But, at some level, I think Americans are troubled by this situation. And a public conversation about the effects of decades of distorted gender politics would be a lot more productive than any court trial.