Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards

GMA – Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

She is an eloquent speaker, an expressive author.  Elizabeth Edwards is effervescent, effusive, and has an excellent mind.  She understands profound policy issues as easily as she prepares a sandwich.   Her memoir appeared on The New York Times bestseller list.  Few think of Elizabeth Edwards as every woman.  Other daughters of Eve might say Edwards is exceptional; surely, she is not as I am.  Yet, life experiences might have taught Elizabeth Edwards otherwise.  Just as other ladies, she is brilliant, beautiful, and not nearly equal to a man.

For years, millions of Americans thought Elizabeth Edwards could be a political power in her own right.  However, friends aver, Elizabeth never had an interest in that.   First and foremost, the role Elizabeth Edwards has said is most significant to her is that of Mom.  She was happy to support her husband, glad for the opportunity to speak on his behest.  However, Ms Edwards was content to be behind the scenes.

The wife and mother believed as much of the country did.   Her spouse, John, was quite superior.  Not only was he an accomplished attorney, as was she, He was a Presidential candidate in 2008 and a Vice President aspirant in 2004.  John Edwards had a following, as did Elizabeth.  Each was “stunningly” successful in their work.  Certainly, the two were characterized as a powerful pair.  Neither could be called common.  Average Americans, they were not.  Still, John was the one who could command an audience, or a country.

He was handsome.  Granted, in her youth, Elizabeth was also smashing.  However, by 1998, a woman told an Edwards pollster the lovely ‘Lizabeth looked like his [John’s] mother, or older sister.  Indeed, this casual observer said of the then future Senator’s spouse, “I like that he’s got a fat wife.”   In the new book, “Game Change,” which documents the doings within the 2008 Presidential campaign, it is revealed that the aforementioned anonymous woman remarked in relief, “I thought he’d be married to a Barbie or a cheerleader.”  Perhaps these verbalized thoughts were the first reported glimpse into the present.  Elizabeth Edwards is every woman.  Infrequently, is John Edwards spouse looked upon as a separate individual.  Ms Edwards is regarded as unequal.

Ostensibly, Elizabeth and John were thought to have an exceptional life.   In truth, they were as you and I are.  Elizabeth Edwards and her husband are never free from human emotions.

Humans, adult men, women, adolescents, and sandlot age persons tell others a tale.  People weave a yarn that helps to inform others it also instructs the storyteller.  Dan P. McAdams, a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern and Author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self” states, “(T)hese narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”  This may explain why no two persons are alike.  However, the thought might not help to explicate what is real for a woman and not necessarily for a man.

Either might think themselves a failure if a relationship is severed.  Each could characterize himself or herself as someone who is not good enough. Perchance, societal standards will cause a woman greater stress.  A female might believe herself, damaged goods.  While Americans state that they have progressed beyond such suppositions, in actuality, any or many a label can classify a divorcee as undesirable.  Some will say she could not satisfy her man. Her age might ensure that she is thought to be an unattractive asset.  Perchance, some will say, she was too forthcoming, overly friendly when in the company of other men, a flirt, a floozy, and a femme fatale.  

Then there are the financial ramifications and considerations.  Men, before a divorce and after fare far better fiscally than their counterparts do.  Interestingly, a study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that men who think of women in a more traditional, some would say sexist manner earn more money than those chaps with equalitarian views.  The variance is vast.  The more old-fashioned a gent might be, the greater his rewards.

Women, on the other hand, make less on average than men do.  Parents may posture that an excellent education will nullify the gender gap.  However, the Pay Gap Persists; Women Still Make Less, than men do. Surely, most surmise, Elizabeth Edwards will be amongst the exception.  She need not worry.  Once separate, the conventional wisdom is, Elizabeth Edwards will be equal.  The accepted thought is Edwards is not every woman.

After all, Ms Edwards graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in English. She went on to study American literature and ultimately secured her degree in law. She certainly is set for life. However, her status as a “professional” person, one out in the work-world became less of a priority.  Elizabeth Edwards, as her friends will attest to, thinks of herself as the proud mother of four children: Catharine, Emma Claire, and Jack. Her first child, Wade, died in 1996.  Time away from the office takes a fiscal toll.

In truth, even if Ms Edwards had remained a fixture in a solid firm, she would have experienced as most every other woman has.  Women Earn Less Than Men, Especially at the Top.  No matter the tale Elizabeth or every other woman might tell themselves, there are some facts that females know they must face.  Emotionally we can evolve.  Economically, the road is rougher for the “fairer” sex.

Only the desire to treat someone of a different sex fairly is great.  Parity is not the reality. Be it a former spouse with whom we have feuded, a friend, male or female by nature, wives wronged, and women righted, wish to achieve equality.  This may be why many women welcomed the prospect of “no fault” divorce.

While it is fine to think that we might not wish to place the onus on one or the other partner, in truth, the notion of a “no fault” divorce has done much harm.   A blameless split severs more than a legal bond.  It presents “perverse consequences for women,” says Lenore J. Weitzman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Stanford.  Divorce for women is just different than it is for men.  Perhaps, “There are enormous financial ramifications” even if you are Elizabeth Edwards.  Potential economic woes must worry any woman who contemplates the disillusion of a marriage.  The appearance of wealth, for women, maintained while married, will not warm the cockles of a heart hurt.  Nor will the façade fill her coffers.  Frequently, females face financial ruin, realized in divorce.

That truth has power.  Does a wife such as Elizabeth Edwards weigh the practical and or parse the paradox of a deceitful philanderer.  This may depend on the missus, the mistress, the money, and more.  In a moment, the yarn spun may be sufficient.  In the next minute, the same saga may sound silly, insincere, or just more of the madness.  If a husband is All apologies and earnestly expresses remorse, a couple could come to terms with what occurred.  An admission could kindle forgiveness, or after a series of confessions, one too many might be the permission to leave that a scorned wife sought.  Elizabeth Edwards stated she was “relieved” and hoped husband John’s long delayed disclosure would end the seemingly eternal drama that had become her life.

What we do not know; nor does the soon to be footloose and fancy-free Elizabeth, is how her saga will evolve.  While Elizabeth Edwards is every woman, she is like no one else.  Her tragedy, comic relief, travel, and she are uniquely her own.  This is true whether one’s name is Ellen, Emma, Eileen, Eve, or even Rielle.  What differs is who directs our performance, the stories told.

What might matter most to someone such as Elizabeth Edwards is how the eventuality of a divorce will affect her health.  Will this woman, who loves her life as a mom, be able to help her children?  Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill. Indeed, the research reveals Divorce undermines health in ways remarriage doesn’t heal.  What is a aggrieved Eve or Elizabeth to do?

A captive American audience awaits the details, the decision, or knowledge of the direction a resolute Ms Edwards will take.  For months, or perhaps years, observers asked of the screenplay that appeared often on American television screens, in tabloids, and in books.  Some wives expressed sympathy for exactly what they witnessed in their own marriages.  Singles also empathized.  Elizabeth Edward’s experience is not isolated to the institution of wedlock.  The similarities scream out.

Women pose.  They posture.  Females hide the pain, and the shame. They may shout, shriek, or calmly express distress.  “I am so determined. This time I will lose 40 pounds,” said Elizabeth Edwards as she greeted a guest at the door of her home.  Did she wish to present herself at her best for her husband?  Might Ms Edwards words “show a lack of pretense,” or, as her critics say, was the statement but another act on Elizabeth’s. part.  What role did and does Elizabeth play in this drama?  Can anyone know for sure?

Is she a caricature, stereotyped as a spouse?  What is the story Elizabeth tells herself and others? A women’s place is in the home, on the campaign trail, to pale in comparison to her husband.  

Might her yarn be the same is true if a dame is a professional person, a politician, a plumber, or a Professors wife.   A women’s work is never done, be it that of a domestic, a doctor, a lawyer, a baker, or candlestick maker.  Elizabeth Edwards, as many women can attest to the notion, when you are of the fairer sex, praise pours in sparingly.  Disparagement is distributed frequently. At times, the two are synonymous.  

The former North Carolina Senator’s erstwhile aide Andrew Young exemplifies this.  In his tome titled “The Politician” Elizabeth Edwards is described as the wife and mother could not keep her man.  She “became intoxicated by power, and sometimes looked the other way.”

The Edwards Adviser, as do most, at least in America, acquiesced to the old adage, there is a good woman, behind every man.  A gent does not act alone.  Certainly, John Edwards did not.  Mister Young, in his writings, marvels that Rielle Hunter and Elizabeth Edwards each moved John to do as he has, or perhaps the two damsels did as all people do.  

With societal standards in mind, they pen a tale that reflects their truth.  The title; This is your life (and How You Tell It.)  Men might have opportunities that allow for a more sensational, secure, and solid plot.

Woman work on a screenplay more mired in woes.  She persistently updates the plot.   Just as Elizabeth Edwards, she transforms the treatment of our own life.  She learns and finds Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers. For some, the saga was audacious, and certainly not what they expected from an authority on the law.  Others saw them selves.  Every woman might relate to the reality, Elizabeth Edwards has learned every woman is as she., effervescent, effusive, bearers of excellent minds.  We all experience hurts and heartaches, many of our own making, many more that are not.

“I am a woman.  Here me roar.”  Watch me soar.  I may occupy the planet “in numbers too big to ignore,” but will I ever realize the heights, or have rights equal to those of a man.

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards . . .

Hillary Clinton; The Campaign Crisis and Elizabeth Edwards’ Choice

Elizabeth Edwards – Morning Joe – Full Interview 4/2/08

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Democrats are divided.  Progressives once certain that they would support the Party nominee, are now, no longer sure that they can.  People on the Left for the first time in their lives are looking to the “Right.”  Staunch Liberals state they will vote Republican in 2008 if the candidate of their choice is not the Party’s nominee.  Many Democrats say they will not vote at all.  Much damage has been done.  The political process has become a play for power or an attempt to create chaos.

Persons devout to the Grand Old Party purposely become “Democrats for a Day” just to alter the outcome in primary elections.  Some individuals wear elephant and flag pins on their lapel; yet, they cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.  These Conservatives think if the Senator from New York is selected to represent the Progressives in the general election, Republicans will be assured a win.

Prior to the primaries, Hillary Clinton was defined as polarizing.  However, the former First Lady felt certain she could and had changed her image.  Perhaps, for a time, this was thought to be true.  Senator Clinton showed herself strong.  She was a formidable force in Congress.  Military leaders learned to trust that she could indeed be a hawk.  

Women were elated.  The thought that they might be able to elect someone they relate to, suited those who frequently felt oppressed in a male dominated culture just fine.

Persons of color, grateful for what seemed to be a more secure life, when husband Bill was President turned to candidate Hillary Clinton for reassurance.  People, early on, believed the former First Lady was their last and best hope.  As the Presidential aspirant often mused, “It did take a Clinton to clean (up) after the first Bush, and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush.”  In January 2008, the Editors from the esteemed New York Times offered their endorsements.  The prominent periodical proposed the Primary Choice: [was] Hillary Clinton

Yet, more recently, after weeks and weeks, months and months of mean and malicious statements from the candidate, her husband, and the entire Clinton Clan, some within the Progressive Party no longer think Senator Clinton sincere or suitable.  Indeed, some say she would not be a superb Commander-In-Chief.  Hillary may be too intent on conquest.

Many, among those who lean left, look, and see what they think wrong.  This week, a top House Democrat denounced Clinton campaign tactics.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, of South Carolina and the highest ranking black in Congress, also said he has heard speculation that Clinton is staying in the race only to try to derail Obama and pave the way for her to make another White House run in 2012.

“I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this.  But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win” in November, Clyburn told Reuters in an interview.

Race is not the only issue that separates, or segregates supporters.  Patriotism, patronage, and parishes are also seen as partitions.  In this recent round of debates, candidate[s] and correspondents made it known if a flag pin was not worn on a man’s lapel, the gentleman would be classified as un-American.  This standard apparently, does not apply to women who condemn the chaps.  Guilt by association was also a reason to denounce and divide the electorate.  Political advertisements delivered in Pennsylvania were full of venom directed at victims of circumstance.  Any person who was casually, or closely connected to one candidate, was castigated, as though they were the Presidential hopeful, himself.  The electorate was encouraged to take sides.  

Americans witnessed what one woman and her advocates will do for a win.  The stakes are high; the slams and damnation higher.  Condemnation for the smallest slight caused a “bitter” feud.  One candidate was intentionally crippled.  Barack Obama was forced to defend a concept.  Even a quote from the scriptures could not save a man who is not only of the Christian faith, but Christian in his actions.

The man of faith spoke of how the sacred passages in the Bible speak of the need to “cling” to what is good.  Yet, in a climate of constant criticism from the Clinton Camp, Democrats seem to only cling to a fight.

Such brutal battles have spurred the Editors of The New York Times to question their own earlier call.  The current stance of those in charge of the illustrious publication is New York Senator Clinton is not a superior choice for President.  She has adopted The Low Road to Victory.  Those charged to inform the broader community write . . .

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work.  It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party, and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self-interest should push her in that direction.  Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race.  . . .

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11.  A Clinton television ad – torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook – evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden.  “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy, and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning.  She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

The Washington Post also asked readers to call into question the posture of the Presidential candidate.  Former contributors to the Clinton campaign offered testimonials and expressed trepidation for what Hillary Clinton and husband Bill think best.

More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show.  Clinton’s lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally. . . .

Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton’s early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories.  Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March.  The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.

“I think she is destroying the Democratic Party,” said New York lawyer Daniel Berger, who had backed Clinton with the maximum allowable donation of $2,300.  “That there’s no way for her to win this election except by destroying [Obama], I just don’t like it.  So in my own little way, I’m trying to send her a message.”

The message came in the form of a $2,300 contribution to Obama.

Donors are not the only ones who have made the leap.  Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón served as an ambassador to Chile during Bill Clinton’s presidency, considered himself a close friend of Sen. Clinton, and became a “Hill-raiser” by bringing in about $500,000 for her presidential bid.

Yet, while many express distress and a desire to distance themselves from the Clinton Camp, a few think Hillary or her Health Care plan makes her the best choice.  For months now, Americans have anxiously awaited word of an endorsement from the popular, populace, and once Presidential candidate, John Edwards and his beloved wife, Elizabeth.  In interviews, Elizabeth Edwards expresses the Clinton Health Care Plan is her preferred “Choice.”  Once heard, I personally felt a need to pen a letter to the lovely Elizabeth Edwards, a person I sincerely hold in high esteem.

Dear Reader, I invite your review, reflections, and perchance you may wish to write a correspondence of your own.  Your communiqué may be to me, to Senator Clinton, to the Edwards family, I know not.  I only trust that whatever we wish to say, it is vital we honor the words of a great philosopher.

Be Kind.

For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

~ Plato

I desire to write with reverence.  My wish is that my words will be received as intended.  Benevolence, I believe is beautiful.  Empathy, I think, essential if we are ever to be universally insured or ensure that we care for our fellow man, woman, and child.

Dearest Elizabeth Edwards . . .

I hope you, your children, and John, are well.  I know all too well how cancer can devastate a family.  Weeks ago, I heard you speak of how the financial strain on a family without adequate medical coverage can lead to bankruptcy and death.  Sadly, for too many, the lack of a comprehensive health care plan is the cause of economic, emotional, and perhaps physical heartbreak.  Your words prompt me to write.

Now, as the nation turns to you and your neighborhood, as the primary in North Carolina approaches, I feel a need to share my distress.  

Last August, in 2007, I attended the breakout session your husband John held at the Yearly Kos Convention.  While I was fortunate to speak with him for a moment as he exited the room, I was among those who did not have an opportunity to offer a formal question.  As John proposed, I submitted my query in electronic mail.  The issue on my mind, then and now is the same subject you discussed, Health Care.

Elizabeth, I recall when you spoke of how Hillary Clinton’s plan was as John’s.  At the time, you expressed much angst that the New York Senator delayed to present a proposal and then copied John’s program.  While I have no argument with those contentions; nor do I quarrel with the notion that Barack Obama’s plan is deficient, I think an endorsement of Senator Clinton’s her Health Care Choice program is troublesome.  I recall the words of your husband John.  In November 2007, as a Presidential challenger john Edwards declared . . .

“Senator Clinton’s plan, which came out in September, is very similar to the plan I announced in February.  But I haven’t seen any specifics about how her mandate would work or how she would enforce the mandate.

Time has not helped to enlighten the electorate.  Hillary Clinton is consistently evasive.  The former First Lady, who failed to secure a workable system near two decades ago, walks a fine line, for she has reason to fear if she slips the people may not place her into the Oval Office.

In Health Debate, Clinton Remains Vague on Penalties

By Kevin Sack

New York Times

February 1, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton inched closer Sunday to explaining how she would enforce her proposal that everyone have health insurance, but declined to specify – as she has throughout the campaign – how she would penalize those who refuse.

Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate, last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.”  When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”

The former First Lady has shown herself to be extremely disingenuous in the past, and the present.  The future unfolds; and many individuals demonstrate that they do not feel there is reason to believe that her words will be less mendacious.  Stories of how deceitful she can be fill the airwaves and the periodicals.  The press, those who were close political affiliates of the Clinton’s, while polite, hint at how Hillary treats those who go against her.  In very hushed tones, event organizers shared stories with me.  While I was a strong Clinton supporter and active contributor in the 1990s, recent revelations, comments made by the Clinton’s, and the harsh rhetoric Hillary espoused leaves me beyond disillusioned.

The public, I believe has infinite reason to distrust the Presidential aspirant.  I have no faith that she will follow through with worthy programs.  As I assess her record in the Senate, I realize there is reason to doubt.  We need only consider the change in her policy position on Iraq.  When Senator Clinton thought she could safely say she would not commit to exit Iraq until after her first term, that was her stance.  Only the threat that she might lose votes was the catalyst for other considerations.

Elizabeth, I think few, if any, can question the Clinton campaign is divisive.  While some think this strategy is fine, I believe as your husband John voiced.  We must be united and work together as one.

It is apparent to me; Hillary Clinton is flexible only when it suits her needs.  I recall John wrote and spoke of how he hoped his health care proposal would, over time, give way to a Single Payer, Not For Profit Plan.  Barack Obama has expressed a similar sentiment.  Each, your husband, and Presidential hopeful Obama, has addressed the notion that their plans were but starting points.

When I did chat with your husband, I thanked him for his mention of how Hillary Clinton was indebted to Insurers and Pharmaceuticals.  Elizabeth, months ago your husband gave us reason to believe that Hillary Clinton is well connected to those who profit off of our physical and financial loss when we are most in need.  As a professional, well educated, white woman, who learned through experience that many Faculty Lecturer’s, at major Universities, are among the uninsured, I invite you to ponder the veracity, a position does not tell the full tale.  The quality of a candidate is not necessarily evident in a Health Care plan.

Please, please, please consider Barack Obama has a life history of bringing people together for a common cause.  Senator Obama uses his expertise as a community organizer to unite us, citizens of the United States of America.  [You may have read the cover story, A New Hope, in the March 20, 2008, Rolling Stone.]  Presidential aspirant, Obama is eager, and has demonstrated he does care about the American people.  Barack Obama has helped many common folk understand that we the people make a difference.  Change comes when the average American is part of the solution.  

Senator Clinton may believe without Lyndon Johnson the Civil Rights Act 1964 would not have come into being.  I recall those years.  People were out on the streets in protest.  The community concluded it was time for a change.  The President merely signed the papers.  

Personally, I prefer to support a President who believes and acts on the democratic principle that he represents me, and not her personal interests.  

Elizabeth, I hope you and your husband John will be as profoundly reflective as I believe you both to be.  America needs a person in the White House who is truly connected to the American experience.  Barack Obama’s mother, ill with ovarian cancer, feared her financial obligation to pay for health care.  Cancer can be the cause of bankruptcy even when people are insured.  The issue is complex.  A ten-point plan cannot begin to relate to the real life circumstances of millions; nor can a candidate who thinks more of her win than a unified Party.

I invite an endorsement for Barack Obama.  I can only hope you will consider my heartfelt plea.  Please extend this request to your husband John.

I thank you for your time, and for reading this reflection.  Please take good care of you.  I wish you and your family the best.

Sincerely . . .

Betsy L. Angert

References and Remedies . . .

Presidential Candidates and the People; Politics is Personal

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

A tired and emotionally torn Hillary Clinton trembled slightly as she voiced her concern for the country and her campaign.  A somewhat shaken Senator said, “You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political.  It’s not just public.  I see what’s happening . . . It’s really about all of us together.”  Indeed, Senator Clinton, it is.

For months, former Senator John Edwards has shared a similar sentiment.   Once more, in an interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos, Presidential hopeful Edwards emphatically declared, “I want to be the president who fights for the middle class, fights for working people. The kind of people I grew up with, George. I said this last night. This is not abstract or academic for me. It is personal.”

Republican hopeful, Mitt Romney also embraced the phraseology a month earlier.  In a campaign advertisement released in his home state of Michigan, Mitt reminded the voters, “For me, Michigan is personal.” The place of our birth, the era in which we evolved, the circumstances of our lives are all personal, as are our reactions to these. When we cast a ballot in favor of a policy or a Presidential aspirant, as profound as we wish the decision would appear to be, essentially it is personal.

Each and every individual is influenced by what occurs in the privacy of his or her home.  Our hearts speak more loudly than our minds.  However, reluctant we are to admit this, humans are emotional beings, who rationalize their resolutions, often after the fact.  

The New Hampshire primary elections, as well as the Iowa caucuses were stark reminders of the fact, we cannot predict what people will do.  However, if we understand what truly motivates us, we may better understand the incomprehensible.  From the moment we enter this Earthly existence, we learn what is Right, Left, Middle, or ‘just wrong.’  

Mommy exclaimed, “Do not do that; it is inappropriate.”  Daddy declared, “No more.  What will the neighbors think?”  Grandpa gave the evil eye when he thought some word or deed not becoming of a little lady.  Grandma gently tapped young Sammy’s small hand when the lass reached for what the older woman thought unacceptable.  Brother James also guided the girl’s decisions.  “What are you; crazy?” he would say.  James’s manner was never gentle.  Sammy’s nursery school teacher was far kinder, although equally critical.  “Young women do not do that.”  “We do not speak that way in class, on the playground, in the cloak room.”  “I hope you do not do that at home!”

What Sammy did at home was never correct.  She wanted so much to be appreciated, especially by her elders.  Even among her peers, Sammy felt it vital to feel needed, wanted, valued, and cherished.  She realized at a tender age, that if she was to be happy, she must obey the rules.  Sammy learned to be a good girl.  Today, she still is.  When voting in the Presidential primaries and in the General election, Sammy will cast a ballot for the candidate her friends’ vote for.  Conventional wisdom is always best.  

There is a certain contentment you feel when others concur with your opinion.  Life is calm  Sammy, prefers agreement; she wants no arguments.  Perhaps, that is why she struggled to decide, whom would she vote for.

Sammy remained undecided up until she spoke with acquaintances of the Clinton cry.  Although Sammy and her friends were not Clinton constituents, indeed, they feared she might be soulless, ultimately; each plans to cast a ballot for the candidate.  Just as women in New Hampshire expressed, it would feel good to possibly place a woman in the White House.  The tears Hillary shed resonated within many of the “gentler sex.”  They thought the candidate’s cry was a show of strength.  Throughout America, and New Hampshire women [and men alike] personally identified with the pain Senator Clinton expressed.

Some New Hampshire women admitted they were touched by Clinton’s display of vulnerability at a local cafe, when a voter asked her how she remained so upbeat and Clinton’s eyes, in turn, became misty.

“When I saw the tear-up replayed on the news, it looked like Clinton was truly moved.  It proved she had soul,” said Carol Brownwood, a New Hampshire voter and Clinton supporter.

New Hampshire women voted for Clinton by a margin of 13 percentage points over Obama, according to exit polls.

James, Sammy’s sibling, was never much for conventions.  He was a rebel.  For him every issue was a cause.  As an adult, James will likely not vote for the most popular candidate.  He plans to weigh every angle, assess each agenda.  James will do his own research before he decides whom to support in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Even as a youngster, James had a mind of his own.  He knew what was truly important and what was trivial.  It did not much matter to James what his Mom or Dad might think.  This chap was certain when he thought a particular point of view right or wrong.  While James valued his parents’ opinions, and he did, he was his own person.

When James screamed “No,” at the age of two, it was not a phase; this tot could be authentically defiant.  No matter his age, James was never afraid to speak up.  “You are just wrong,” he would tell his mother or father.  In truth, James often took what his parents thought to heart.  However, he would never give Mom, Dad, or most anyone else, the satisfaction of knowing that he thought their opinion wiser than his own.

In his youth, James was independent and strong.  Competitions were his pleasure.  Enrolled in Little League, Soccer, and Football at an early age, James learned to be a sportsman.  He understood how important it was to win.  He still does.  

Throughout his life, James has been a fighter.  In college, the young man was considered a radical.  He protested for peace.  The little guy was his friend.  An underdog could soar when in the company of James.  He cared for his fellow man deeply.  This chap worked on a political campaign.  He was an activist, and he was motivated to make more of his life.  James studied as hard as he played.

Later, as an attorney, James did not shy away from a fight.  In his professional career, he retains his principles.  While James could make scads more money as a corporate lawyer, he serves the downtrodden.  James is known as an aggressive trial lawyer.  He fights for what is right.  John Edwards is his candidate of choice.  As he ponders the tales the populace aspirant tells, James relates. For James, just as for John Edwards, the battle for change is personal.

One Edwards supporter, departing after a big rally in Des Moines on Saturday night, said he hasn’t heard a message as passionate or strong since Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign.

Nice clothes aside, Edwards has turned street-fighter for the final stretch run.  His message can be boiled down to a single word — “Fight!” — which he repeats over and over and over and over again: Fight.  Fight.  Fight.  Fight.

Edwards has rolled out anecdotes he never used in the past to make it all the more personal.  They conjure up images that hardly square with his slight frame and good looks.  He was, as he now explains, a brawler as a kid, taking on bullies the way he later took on corporations and insurance companies as a trail lawyer.

“Like many of you, I had to fight to survive,” he told an audience of nearly a thousand people on Saturday night.  “I mean really.  Literally.”

He describes the southern mill town where he grew up as a tough little place and tells the story of getting into a fight one day with an older boy.  “Got my butt kicked,” he says.  When he got home, his father offered a stern lesson in life.

“I don’t ever want to hear, son, about you starting a fight,” he says his father told him.  “But you listen to me and listen to me clearly.  I don’t want to ever hear that you walked away from one.  Because if you’re not willing to stand up for yourself and if you’re not willing to fight, no one will stand up for you.”

Emma, James closest friend is not a fighter.  She is a woman, yet, not one who sees herself as a warrior. While Emma might love to have a woman in the Oval Office, she does not want Hillary Clinton to be her President.  John Edwards does not move this passionate person.  Too often Edwards goes negative.  Emma experienced enough combativeness in her life.  She is turned off by the fervor she experienced in her family home.  

Emma grew up in a good home.  Her parents are well-educated.  Each, is a professional in his or her own right.  Economically, her family is considered Upper Middle Class.  By all appearances, this young woman has had a good life.  She and her folks are healthy, slightly wealthy, and definitely wise.   However, when Emma was young, she realized, for her Mom and her Dad, every event was a drama, a trauma, a crisis, or a catastrophe.

Emma often hid under the bed, went to another room, spent time at a neighbor’s home, just to avoid the chaos she experienced when with her relatives.  As the little girl blossomed, she realized there was fun to be had.  “You cannot choose your family, but fortunately, you can choose your friends.”  A cheerleader, a “Journalist” on the school newspaper, active in a school leadership program, Emma was quite popular.

Academically, Emma had been and continues to be a serious student.  She is enrolled in graduate school, and is doing very well.  She is enthusiastic and energetic; however, she has never been energized by politics . . . that is until now.  Although, in the past, Emma defined herself as apathetic, now she sees herself as an activist.   Emma intends to vote for Barack Obama.  She feels as many throughout the country do.  Individuals, particularly those in her age are excited.  This may be the first time Emma will vote in an election.  She is stoked and not alone in her excitement.  Since hearing Obama speak, for Emma, this election is now personal.

“I just started hearing a lot about him last year, so I started doing my own research,” says Kinkead. “I wanted to know who this guy was that everyone was talking about. I know he has a liberal voting record in the Senate, but he just seems so open-minded to me. He’ll be able to work with Republicans and get stuff accomplished. Hillary Clinton has too much baggage.”

Young voters helped propel Obama’s win in Iowa and McCain’s in New Hampshire. Exit polls in New Hampshire indicated that 31 percent of the youngest GOP voting group went for McCain, with 23 percent voting for Romney; 51 percent of young Democrats supported Obama, while 28 percent supported Clinton.

In Iowa, Obama won 57 percent of the youth vote, compared to 11 percent for Clinton.

The social networking site Facebook has been a huge hub of political interest, with students flocking to Obama on the Democratic side  . . .

Others in the cyberspace community may be connected however, the do not wish to join the rally for Ron Paul nor do the oratory skills of Barack Obama sway them.  Beth is among those who walks to the beat of a different drummer.  This woman is not old or young; however, just as the candidates and constituents she too is deeply affected by her history.  Beth’s parents were and are scholars.  Amidst her earliest memories, Beth recalls research.  Daddy would ask her of newspaper articles she read.  The discussions were deep.  He was not only interested in her superficial comprehension skills he wanted to be certain his daughter became a critical thinker.

Mommy’s style differed; however, the intent, and results were similar.  Beth’s Mom, a brilliant woman, read endlessly.  She spoke of all the information she devoured.  This highly erudite parent encouraged her daughter to be herself, not part of a group, not identified by her gender, not even rigidly tied to which hand she preferred to write with.  Beth, just as her mother, never fit in, and she was fine with that.  Mommy and Daddy were principled people, not influenced by peers or popularity, and so too is Beth.  Perchance that is why she supports Dennis Kucinich.  She feels personally obligated to her country and all the people.  For Beth ethics matters more than an election win.  

I think the question isn’t whether I have a chance. The question is whether peace, health care, jobs for all have a chance. Everyone participating in this chat, everyone reading it, needs to ask what this election means for them. If it means not staying in Iraq until 2013, then perhaps people should consider my plan to leave Iraq immediately and employ an international peacekeeping force. If you want peace in the world, consider that I’m the only candidate who rejects war as an instrument of foreign policy.

This isn’t just about Iraq or Iran, this is about a president wise enough to work with leaders in the world to avoid conflict.  While I wouldn’t hesitate to defend our country, I’ve shown more than any other candidate that I understand the difference between defense and offense. . . .  I’m the only candidate running who voted against the war and against funding for the war. To me it’s inconceivable to say you oppose a war you’ve given hundreds of billions of dollars to.

If people are participating in this and are concerned that they have an outcome in this election that relates to their needs, they should know that I’m the only candidate who would create a not-for-profit health care system that would cover everyone.

No other candidate is saying they would cancel NAFTA and the WTO — I’ve seen the devastation wrought by these agreements. I’ve stood in front of the locked plant gates, with grass growing in the parking lots. I’ve seen the boarded-up nearby business communities, the neighborhoods where people had to leave because they couldn’t pay their mortgages.

I’m the only candidate talking about a profoundly different energy policy, moving aggressively toward wind, solar, and investing heavily in green energy, reorganizing the government along principles of sustainability. We have to challenge these oil companies — we’re in a war in Iraq because of oil, one of the principle reasons we’d attack Iran is because of oil, we continue to destabilize our relations with Russia because of oil.

It’s time for Washington to get control of our energy polices, and the only way we may be able to do that is to take control of the oil companies. We cannot sacrifice our young men and women on the altar of oil. We must regain control in the nation, of our ability to truly be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That’s why I’m running for president, and in the end if I win, the people of the United States will win.

For a time, people, from various backgrounds, also endorsed Dennis J. Kucinich.  Beth met declared Democrats, Independent minded Greens, Libertarians, and even Republicans who thought the Congressman from Ohio was the only one who could and would turn this country around in a way that gratified them personally.  

A wide breadth of the population thought the Presidential hopeful would be the best for the country as a whole.  However, as is oft occurs, personal perceptions became the reality. The true Progressive, Congressman Kucinich was haunted by a claim continually, reiterated by Americans, “Kucinich is not electable.”  This statement was frequently preceded by the phrase, “Kucinich is great, but . . .”   Group think set in.

Intellectuals, pundits, so called professional political analysts, and regular persons would  say this is not so; however, as we assess human behavior, it is a challenge to think otherwise.

A public less aware of the dynamics of a caucus, or familiar with a seventy-two page rulebook, concludes a decision to influence a voter’s second-choice in Iowa might be thought a sign of weakness; perhaps a concession, or even an endorsement.  Some avid Kucinich supporters began to question the candidate’s faith in his campaign.  More importantly, many Kucinich backers felt personally abandoned.  The slogan “Strength through peace,” was less forceful than this allowance.  To suggest an alternative commitment may be less strong than the sweet smell of freshly baked bread or a promise to stroke your back if you rub mine

Intimidation is not unknown. Also, it is possible for a leading candidate to help a weaker rival against a stronger one.

More often, though, the gaming of the caucus and the wooing of supporters is subtler.

In a training video prepared by the Edwards campaign, for example, a cartoon precinct campaign named Joe leaves for the caucus with a calculator, Edwards signs, and fresh bread. The narrator explains: “His homemade bread is perfectly positioned. Everyone can see it and smell it, especially the undecideds.”

Then, too, “there are always stories of ‘I’ll shovel your walk the next time it snows,’ ” said Norm Sterzenbach, Iowa Democratic Party political director.

While these tactics are troublesome, perhaps what worries supporters of any candidate is their own “personal” standing . . . in the community, in a crowd, in the cavern known as their rational mind.

Might we speculate as to why a presumed front-runner receives more funds in support?  After a primary win, contributions come in.  Every person in the electorate scrutinizes a candidate and the company he or she keeps.  The assumed quality of a spouse can be an asset or a deterrent to the campaign.  If nothing else, when humans are involved, whom a Presidential hopeful weds, why, or when, will certainly be a distraction.  Americans, humans are invested in the personal.  People ponder their lives and wish to know what occurs in the lives of others.

Politics is personal.  Running Mates, and these are not possible Vice Presidential choices, warrant an in-depth and detailed article in the Washington Post.  These individual have greater access to the future President than any other person might.  If Americans elect x, y will have the President’s ear, heart, body, and soul in their hands.  The electorate believes spouses are significant.  The personal permeates the political, or at least, Newsweek Magazine thought so.  This periodical devoted a full spread to the Bill factor.

His New Role

By Jonathan Darman


August 21, 2007

“Man, I like that stuff,” Bill Clinton said. “I shouldn’t eat it, but I like it.” It was Sunday, March 4. On a private plane headed south from New York, the former leader of the free world was staring hard at a fully stocked bowl of food. A recovering snack-addict since his quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004, Clinton was thinking about falling off the wagon with a few bags of Fritos and some granola bars. No one on the plane was going to stop him-certainly not Malcolm Smith. The Democratic minority leader of New York’s state Senate, Smith was just happy to be along for the ride. “He sat right in front of me,” Smith later gushed to a Newsweek reporter. “We shared the food.” . . .

For Hillary’s campaign, “The Bill Factor” is a complex one. To some he’s a shrewd politician, a clear thinker, a brilliant explicator who was president during an era of relative peace and indisputable prosperity. To others he’s “Slick Willie,” an undisciplined man who let his private appetites, and his addiction to risk, blur his focus, distracting the country for much of his second term.

Nonetheless, a polished President offers the public a sense of personal security.  The Clintons are a known entity.  They have a traditional marriage, and they have proven themselves in many arenas.  Regardless of whether or not  you agree with their positions, the two are accomplished; certainly not on the fringe.  

Barack Obama is also quite an achiever.  Born to parents who separated when the future Harvard scholar, United States Senator, and front-running Presidential aspirant was but two years of age, Barack  Obama went on to create a stunning and successful Christian family of his own.

When wife Michelle Robinson Obama is by the candidate’s side, audiences marvel.  The couple is physically beautiful.  The two are statuesque and poised.  Each is extremely accomplished.  Michelle Obama is the a vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Initially she was criticized for retaining this position during the campaign.  However, since she agreed to reduce her workload and currently works far fewer hours than she had, the public, many of whom took her to task for her “personal” life, are now content.  People specifically enjoy how real this spouse is.

[Michelle] She has revealed that the man who may become the world’s most powerful politician is sometimes banished to the spare room for being “kind of snory and stinky.” He also admits obeying her instructions to give up smoking before the campaign.

[Michelle] Obama got off to a rocky start in her early speeches when she talked about her husband’s dirty socks and how he was “stinky” in the morning, an image people perhaps might have found a little too human. Those references have since been dropped from her stump speech, and she’s not giving many interviews these days.

On the other hand, Elizabeth Edwards volunteers to speak to anyone, everyone.  Wife of John Edwards, Elizabeth, is equally at ease in most any situation.  She does not hesitate to speak her mind.  

Elizabeth Edwards will say in one breath that her job is made easier by the fact there are now “so many more female role models in careers like entertainment, the media and politics.”  But she will also say she’s not about to make the same mistakes Clinton did.

“Hillary Clinton in 1992 is a lesson in what not to do,” offers Edwards, also a lawyer by training, whose husband is one of Clinton’s opponents in the presidential race. “She was dismissive of the range of options women had chosen, declaring, ‘I don’t bake cookies. . . . I don’t stand by my man.’ That turned off some people.”

Elizabeth Edwards has been startlingly outspoken during this campaign, calling in to a live news-talk program to take on right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on national television and saying there was too much “hatred” of Hillary Clinton for her to win the general election. She maintains she’s not behaving much differently from 2004, when her husband was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. “There’s just a lot more coverage,” says Edwards, who has received additional attention since revealing she is battling incurable cancer.

In a campaign where every issue is personal, even illness can be the cause for insults.  John was judged harshly as he continued to campaign.  Some said he was consumed with ambition.  Many mused, why did Elizabeth not take it easy.  The drive to the White House is long and hard.

Nonetheless, many men, women, and spouses seem up to the challenge.  As we learned in what many thought to be a “personal” attack, some aspirants thought to seek the presidency when they were in kindergarten.  Others decided later in life.  Each has a history of profound accomplishments achieved at an early age.  As Americans, we appreciate a good wunderkind tale.  

In this country, the legendary captivates our attention.  After all, we all wish to aspire to excellence.  The excellence achieved by another gives us reason to believe, and we do have personal stake in a candidate’s story.  

Another aspirant also has a tale to tell.  At an early age, Dennis Kucinich was also considered a genius.  He had dreams and accomplished more than most thirty-one year olds.  Dennis Kucinich was elected Mayor of a major city, Cleveland, Ohio.  The young public official stood on principle against a corporate giant and saved the city and the community millions.  While the yarn is legendary, it is not as distinguished or as frequently discussed as wife, Elizabeth Kucinich is.

True, English born Elizabeth Kucinich is not close in age to her husband, as are the wives of numerous other candidates.  Conservatives John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson married women much younger than they.  However, that is but a minor source of intrigue.  What mesmerizes America and is among the stories supporters felt a need to stave off is the metal in the exquisite woman’s mouth.

O’Donnell: I have to ask you about two very interesting things. Because America has had a traditional of having traditional first ladies, if you will. You would be the youngest first lady ever if your husband were elected president. You have a tongue ring. What about that?

E. Kucinich: What about that?

O’Donnell: Well, it’s very unusual. I don’t know that there are many political spouses who have tongue rings.

E. Kucinich: I’m 30 years old. I’ve had it for 10 years. I don’t see it as being a problem. I do still wear pearls.

The English Elizabeth Kucinich hints at the truth the American electorate is embarrassed to avow.  In this country, politics, policy, and proposals do not garner support.  A president is not placed into the Oval Office when the constituents prefer his or her plan.  Appearances matter more than the issues or a solid, substantive agenda.  

Each ballot is a personal endorsement for a look, a life style, a gesture, a posture, and on rare occasions, a principle.  A vote for a candidate is an endorsement for the values of friends, family, business associates, and anyone who might judge an individual.  Americans want to elect a winner, someone whose rise, will add to a voters personal sense of worth.  

Principally, what most Americans wonder about as they assess the Presidential contenders, what causes citizens of the States to worry, and weep is as a questioner in a recent debate inquired.  “Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?”  If a constituent thinks, he or she can “personally” relate to the answer a candidate delivers or the manner in which they reply, then that candidate can pack their bags and move into the White House on January 20th. In Election year 2008, Hillary, John, and Mitt are correct; for them, you, and me this process is personal.

Personal, Personalities, Preferences . . .

In Life and Death We Trust

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

They say, “Only the good die young.”  Perhaps, that is true.  My Mom took her last breathe on Earth twenty years earlier than many of her relatives.  You may recall that only weeks ago, a dear departed from my life.  Phillip passed just more than a month after his fifty-fifth birthday.  Days ago, the nation was told that a fifty-seven year young Elizabeth Edwards has an incurable cancer.  Might she too perish before she has had time to truly live.  Each day we lose our younger generation to war.  Drugs take too many lives.  Anna Nicole Smith and her offspring Daniel left G-d’s green Earth very recently.  Today we learn that Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary has a lesion on his liver the outlook is not good.  Might the purely partisan Progressives ponder, ‘Is this man among the splendid.’

I believe we all are divine.  Our politics, or our lifestyles do not determine our worth.  We are all equally revered in the eyes of any Lord.  Science makes no distinction.  However, I do wonder, does a holy being decide whether one must pass, when, or why. 

Does Free Will play a more important role?  What of those deaths that are caused by another?  Is human insanity the stronger influence?

As I reflect on cancer, I continually conclude, much of it is environmental.  I do not know why some are more susceptible.  Theories abound.  Living close to electrical wires, near freeways, on the banks of polluted waterways seem to have an effect.

Habits can be killers.  Smoking might take a life; then again, it might not.  Imbibing alcoholic beverages does damage.  Yet, not all “drinkers” die from this “dis”-ease.  Food sustains life and destroys it.  Illnesses such as diabetes are often the result of overindulgence.

Another adage states everything happens for a reason.  Is the rationale for our passing plausible? 

When we lose a parent, particularly at an early age, is there some lesson to be learned?  If a mother and father depart, each before we are adults, the heart often becomes hardened.  People often become protective.  An individual that shuts out pain, or attempts to, usually creates greater heartaches for themselves and others.  Yet, fear of being alone or abandoned, left behind again, often causes us to hurt ourselves.

I believe much of what we do gives rise to our own agony.  It seems to me, so much of what kills comes from within.  Perchance, that too is as it must be.  We know not why we feel as we do.  Our lessons loom large.  They can be painful, and all consuming. 

At times, we drastically decide to take our own lives.  Numerous individuals think suicide does not make sense.  I can only surmise that those that journey into jeopardy are led there for reasons that remain a mystery to most of us.

On many occasions what cause us to cease, to exist no more as Earthlings is not within our control, even when we think it is.  Thus, I ask again, ‘Why must we leave this life before we think we are done?’

I personally must believe in Karma.  I do not think life is the luck of the draw.  Actually, I do not think luck is a valid determinate of much, if anything.  I trust that we are goodness.  When we share that quality with all others, when we care, sincerely, when we give to all others equally, and when grace is our guide time and again, then the powers that be honor us.

We may depart from this planet sooner than we wish to.  We may leave loved ones behind.  However, unbeknownst to us, our work is done here.  We have achieved what we could not imagine.  Destiny calls us.  There are other lessons to learn. 

I believe that we may have to live on Earth again.  Our bodily presence may differ.  Perchance we will encounter those we met in this life in our next, perhaps not.  Those others may have completed this path.  Their trail may deviate from ours.  Nevertheless, they will always be with us. 

People are our foundation in this existence and though our physical memory of them may fade as we enter the next generation, they are our history.  Mentors, muses, and mystical influences come in many and every shape and form.

I believe that we must have faith.  Those that pass are good.  They have come into our sphere for good.  We are changed for the better to have known them, even if we disagree with their politics or lifestyles.  We need not stay silent when people perform, postulate, or practice in ways that we think inhumane; actually, we must not.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King Junior

Let us speak of the taboos . . . sex, religion, and politics.  Please discuss what disgusts you . . . abuse of drugs, alcohol, or power.  Chat about life and death.  Learn what you can while you live.  For if you believe, as I do, what you do not garner in this human form now, will have to be found in a later experience.  The next may not be as pleasant. 

Nirvana, the attainment of enlightenment comes when we know to our core what is correct.  For me, love and peace are the only absolutes.  I ask that we work towards these.

Elizabeth Edwards, Tony Snow, my thoughts are with you.  I trust that you are traveling down the path that is best for you.  In this human form I cannot know where you will go.  I only hope that we will meet again in a wondrous world filled with love and peace.

Peace and Passing . . .

  • “Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship.” In Memory of . . . By Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org.  March 11, 2007
  • Tests Show Snow’s Cancer Has Returned, By Peter Baker.  Washington Post. Tuesday, March 27, 2007; 11:34 AM
  • pdf Tests Show Snow’s Cancer Has Returned, By Peter Baker.  Washington Post. Tuesday, March 27, 2007; 11:34 AM
  • White House Spokesman Snow has Recurrence of Cancer (Update6), By Roger Runningen.  Bloomberg. March 27, 2007
  • The Elizabeth Effect. By Chris Cillizza.  Washington Post. Tuesday, March 27, 2007
  • Edwards: Wife’s cancer returns, campaign goes on. Cable News Network. March 23, 2007
  • Reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith dies at 39.  Cable News Network. February 9, 2007
  • Inquest Into Death of Anna Nicole Smith’s Son, Daniel, Begins.  Fox News. Tuesday, March 27, 2007
  • Elizabeth Edwards; “Decency Costs Nothing.” It is Priceless

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Last evening, when I first heard the news, Elizabeth Edwards might be in trouble, I wrote of my concern.  Could it be cancer, again?  I shared what I knew and what I thought throughout our cyberspace community.  I received many a beautiful comment.  Scarce shared Elizabeth Edwards CBS Free Speech.  Missus Edwards spoke to me.

    I believe in interdependence, in equality, in people of every race, color, and creed.  Much to the dismay of many, I act on my faith.

    I have been teased, misunderstood, and stared at, for I speak to everyone, no matter where I go.  In restaurants, I chat endlessly with my servers.  The person that cleans the table or delivers the water is no less important to me than the people I am sitting with.  I often befriend restaurant staff.  Many have become part of my life.

    When I shop, I get to know the associates.  I ask for their advice.  I trust their taste and value their opinions.  I perceive their sense of style.  As a customer, a passer-by, as a person that cares for my surroundings, I pick up merchandise or materials that have been carelessly tossed about. 

    Over the years, in many neighborhoods, I have befriended my mail person. 

    While walking, I meet the glance of those crossing my path.  While in a line I will converse with those waiting with me.  These persons may be employed in service jobs.  They might be without a work.  Their careers could be crashing, or they may be profoundly professional.  It is difficult to tell who is who when people are casually dressed and doing their chores.  It matters not to me.

    I speak to bow-wows and kitties, birds, and squirrels.  I love life.  Actually, those that know me well will tell you, I believe nothing is intangible.  What others define as objects are living souls to me.  They too have an energy, an essence, and are essential.  We are all sharing this planet together. 

    Elizabeth Edwards understands this.  She said . . .

    Did you buy groceries today? If so, who was your cashier?  Who bagged your soda? 

    They have names, you know – and chances are they were even wearing their names on their shirts.  But did you notice?

    Sadly, as a country, Americans have gotten used to treating those in service positions as if they were part of the cash register, part of the conveyor belt.  They aren’t. 

    They are mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons working hard to provide for their families.  And they are working harder and earning less than most Americans who work behind a desk.

    Everyone in America who works hard deserves our respect.

    But too, often we fail to realize that each of us is connected to the other.

    Too often, we fail to realize that each of us has a name, a life, a dream.

    It is the first step in civility to acknowledge our fellow citizens, to use their names, to look them in the face and thank them for making your life not just easier but possible.  The second step – which is also too rare – is to treat each other with respect and even tenderness.

    I have had hard times.  But my life has been easier not just because of my splendid family or my incredible friends.  But because I had support from unexpected places – from Edward, my mailman; from Drew, who works at my children’s school; from Sam, who bags groceries at my supermarket.

    My life has been easier because the people I have treated tenderly have returned the gift.  Decency, it turns out, costs nothing.

    Elizabeth, I relate.  Friends and family, those close to me, have often said they think my life was hard.  Yet, I was and am happy.  I experience as you observe.  “Decency costs nothing.”  The returns are phenomenal. 

    I have never felt alone.  Support surrounds me.  I give from the heart, for I honor all life.  I receive more than I might imagine.  Tender talk, a soft touch, and perchance a slight smile, treating others as though they are as important as they are, that is priceless.

    Refer to references. . .

  • Elizabeth Edwards CBS Free Speech.  YouTube.
  • John Edwards to Discuss Wife’s Health, Campaign, and Country, By Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org. March 21, 2007
  • Free Speech: Elizabeth Edwards, Advocate Speaks Out About The Importance Of Decency In America.  CBS Broadcasting.
  • John Edwards to Discuss Wife’s Health, Campaign, and Country

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Please view the Edwards interview.  Charlie Rose: December 14, 2004

    The news and notes prompt this treatise.  As I sat here tonight, gathering my thoughts, a voice heard rooms away jarred me.  I could barely understand the words.  I only knew something was wrong, terribly, terribly wrong.  A journalist said something of John Edwards and the effect of this news on his campaign.  Recalling how important family is to Presidential candidate Edwards, the history of his wife’s cancer, I wondered.  Only weeks ago we witnessed, Senator Edwards is able to weather media storms.  The tone of the newscaster led me to believe this event was a tempest.

    Last evening I wrote of Dennis Kucinich, a candidate for President in 2008.  Several Progressives relented; although they agree with Congressman Kucinich philosophically, they fear he does not have a chance.  Charisma is not his strong suit.  Popularity equates to electability.  Many mused they were considering former Vice Presidential contender John Edwards.  The Senator is powerful, persuasive, and principled, and profound on numerous issues.  As of last evening and this morning, the persons in the cyberspace community were claiming John Edwards is their choice.  For these Liberals a small step into the White House may yield benefits for Americans.  A foot in the door is better than nothing at all.

    In reading the comments on my Kucinich missive, I concluded John Edwards may be the Left’s last hope in 2008.  Then, tonight, I heard.  Perhaps his campaign may be in trouble.  Bloggers are not the cause; nor have they led the candidate down a path of “crisis management.”

    John Edwards has long been known as a family man, a gentle soul deeply connected to his family.  His wife, Elizabeth is his best friend.  We know that years ago Missus Edwards discovered a lump in her breast.  She took treatment and seemed to be in remission.  However, tonight there is concern.  The Washington Post reports . . .

    John Edwards to Discuss Wife’s Health
    By Nedra Pickler
    The Associated Press.
    Wednesday, March 21, 2007; 11:21 PM

    WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards accompanied his wife, Elizabeth, who has been treated for breast cancer, on a doctor’s visit Wednesday.  His campaign said they would hold a news conference in their hometown Thursday to discuss her health.

    Campaign officials refused to answer any questions about what the Edwardses learned at the doctor’s appointment or how it might affect his candidacy.  Edwards had cut short a trip to Iowa Tuesday night to be with his wife Wednesday but still attended a barbecue fundraiser later in the evening in their hometown of Chapel Hill, N.C.

    The campaign had said that Mrs. Edwards, 57, had a follow-up appointment to a routine test she had Monday.  The campaign explained that she had similar follow-ups in the past but they always resulted in a clean bill of health.

    The campaign refused to elaborate Wednesday.  Family friends said Wednesday night that they didn’t know of any new complications to her health.

    “Her health has been so good for so long,” said Kate Michelman, an Edward’s adviser who was planning to work closely with Elizabeth Edwards to appeal to female voters around the country.

    Mrs. Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in the final days of the 2004 campaign, when her husband was the Democratic vice presidential nominee.  He announced the diagnosis the day after he and presidential nominee John Kerry lost the election.

    Mrs. Edwards wrote about her life, including her breast cancer treatment that included chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, in a book published last year called “Saving Graces.”

    The Edwards family has faced unexpected and unwanted traumas before.  They have experienced deep loss, a passing no one would wish for.  Elizabeth Edwards spoke of this . . .

    Mrs. Edwards spoke about the death of her son and her cancer in an Associated Press interview last year.

    “During the (2004) campaign, people who knew we had lost a son said, ‘You are so strong,’ and when I had breast cancer people would say, ‘You are so strong,’ and I thought, ‘They don’t know that there’s a trick to being strong, and the trick is that nobody does it alone,'” she said.  “I wanted, from the perspective of someone going through it, not tell them what to do, but show them what great support I got.”

    ‘Tis true, people help each other.  Vigor is the outgrowth of love and care.  Elizabeth Edwards has received many good graces.  She has given much to her family, friends, familiars, and to those she touched from afar.  Even now, her story moves us.  Individuals relate to her illness.  They too seek a enduring cure for cancer.

    To date, we know nothing with certainty; yet, the news of a press conference following a visit to the physician seems ominous.  We can only hope all is well, and Elizabeth Edwards is in good health.  Perchance this time loss is not the news.  Gain might reign.

    The Edwards family has been through much.  They have our support, our sympathy, and I wish them well. 

    As I write, I hear a word of optimism.  The broadcaster announces, ‘a close friend and adviser stated in a comment to the media, “Do not assume the worse.”‘  I will not.  It seems to me this family is strong.  They have experienced many challenges in their lives.  Together they grow greater.  Perchance, the Edwards family serves as our example.  They teach us to be courageous, compassionate, and genuinely concerned for family, friends, and for our future.  May peace be with them, with us, one and all.

  • John Edwards to Discuss Wife’s Health. By Nedra Pickler.  The Associated Press.  Washington Post. Wednesday, March 21, 2007; 11:21 PM
  • pdf John Edwards to Discuss Wife’s Health. By Nedra Pickler.  The Associated Press.  Washington Post. Wednesday, March 21, 2007; 11:21 PM
  • Edwards and Wife Plan News Conference, By Adam Nagourney.  The New York Times.  March 21, 2007
  • Kucinich Calls for Censure, Conversation, and Change. By Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org March 20, 2007
  • Coulter under fire for anti-gay slur. Cable News Network. March 4, 2007
  • A Blogger for Edwards Resigns After Complaints, By Howard Kurtz.  Washington Post. Tuesday, February 13, 2007; Page A04
  • pdf A Blogger for Edwards Resigns After Complaints, By Howard Kurtz.  Washington Post. Tuesday, February 13, 2007; Page A04