When We Look in the Mirror, We See John Edwards

by Bill Brenner on June 2, 2012

I admit feeling some glee over the fall of former U.S. senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards. I always thought the guy was full of himself, and cheating on his cancer-stricken wife was probably one of the shittiest examples of infidelity you could find. Yet I’m going to defend him — a little.

Mood music:

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Edwards was back in the news this week when a jury found him not guilty on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions. A mistrial was declared on five other charges after the jury declared it was hopelessly deadlocked, USA Today reported. He was accused of using nearly $1 million from Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter, a former campaign videographer.

At a press conference yesterday, Edwards said, “I do not believe I did anything illegal. I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. There is no one else responsible for my sins. … I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It’s me and me alone.”

Yeah, I’ll say it:

  • I always believed Edwards was more about cockiness and empty rhetoric than substance.
  • I hate him for the way he treated his wife, Elizabeth.
  • I’ve always seen him as a political narcissist.

I also admit that in holding those views, I’m a hypocrite. I think any of us who judge him are hypocrites. We’re all sinners, right?

I’ve never cheated on my wife, but I’ve sure as hell lied to her. It’s usually because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of something stupid I’ve done in the addiction department. I’ve written about the lying at length in this blog.

The dumb things I did to cover the damage of my addictive behavior makes me understand all too well how a guy like John Edwards could play fast and loose with the law to hide his sins. It’s a human weakness we all have inside of us. Some are luckier than others at controlling it.

I also have an ego of my own, so it’s kind of funny that his irks me so much. Maybe it’s because his ego comes with a stylish head of hair.

Convictions or not, Edwards is paying for his sins. His political viability is vaporized and he knows he did shitty things and that the public hates him for it. I think the suffering he has to go through for that is appropriate. But like the rest of us, he could — if he really wants to work at it — rebuild himself and turn his experiences into something good.

If he can do that, I’ll be one of the first to give him credit.

John Edwards

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