Tag Archive: truth


As you may have heard, the results of  John Edwards’ campaign finance trial was a ‘not guilty’ on one charge and  a mistrial on the other five due to the inability of the jury to come to a unanimous decision on a verdict.

In case you don’t know the timeline, here’s a summary:

  • 2006: Edwards begins an affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker working on his presidential campaign while his wife battled cancer.  He covers up the affair (to the tune of $1 million) with money received from a donor during the presidential campaign.
  • March 2007: Elizabeth Edwards announces that her breast cancer had returned.
  • October 2007: Allegations are printed that Edwards was having an affair with Hunter.
  • February 2008: Hunter gives birth to a baby girl Quinn.
  • July 2008: Allegations are printed that Edwards is the father.
  • August 2008: Edwards admitted to the affair, but denied he was the father of Hunter’s baby Quinn.
  • January 2010: Edwards admits he was indeed the father of Quinn.  Edwards’ wife Elizabeth legally separates from him.
  • December 2010: Elizabeth dies of terminal breast cancer.
  • April 2012: Trial begins to determine if Edwards was in violation of campaign finance law for using funds to cover up his affair.
  • May 2012: The aforementioned verdict is reached.

Let’s take a look at some of Edwards’ statements during this whole sordid affair.

August 8, 2008: “In 2006…I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.”

First, calling it a “liaison” doesn’t make it less offensive—sometimes semantics just makes you seem like a bigger scumbag.  Secondly, “being 99% honest” isn’t being honest—that’s withholding information which is…wait for it…dishonest.  (Oh, and you weren’t “honest in every detail” since you didn’t tell them that Quinn was your kid, that admission came 2 years later).

August, 2008: “I know that it’s not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so I know it’s not possible”
I think I’ve heard a similar story before:

And mother always told me be careful of who you love
And be careful of what you do
’cause the lie becomes the truth
Billie Jean is not my lover
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

But, more substantively, let’s take a look at parts of his speech after the verdict in his trial had been reached.

“Firstly, I want to thank the jurors and their incredibly hard work and diligence. They took their job very seriously.”

You have no idea what went on behind closed doors; he begins his speech with some good old pandering.

“Thank goodness we live in a country that has the system we have, it is an exemplar of what juries are supposed to do.”

Notice he doesn’t say the system serves justice, it’s just the system “that we have.”  Which, of course, as a trial lawyer, he knows is quite susceptible to courtroom manipulation, appeals to emotion, and other ways to find loopholes and technicalities.  (Now I’m not saying that these did happen in this case, especially given the twisty rules of the FEC for campaign finance reform.  Indeed, neither side could present a clear-cut case of whether violations occurred because of a variety of factors, including the esoteric nature of the laws and a lack of key witnesses, partially thanks to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  I’m just saying the whole thing smells funky.)

“No one else is responsible for my sins. I am responsible. If I want to find the person responsible for my sins, I don’t have to go further than a mirror, it was me and me alone.” 

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”

By calling them “sins,” he neatly avoids any criminal/legal entanglements.  We can only prosecute “crimes,” we can sin all we want as long as those sins don’t happen to also be crimes as defined by our legal system.  (Which is partly why a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but I digress…don’t worry, that post is coming soon).

“My precious Quinn, [6 second pause] who I love more than any of you can ever imagine, who I am so close to, so, so grateful for.”

Considering you basically denied her existence as your offspring, I think we can imagine how much you love her pretty accurately.  Plus, quit trying to manipulate your viewers with this sham show of emotion with a staged pause and “choke up.”  By denying your child’s existence and then blubbering out some love clichés after a mistrial, your credibility is as shredded as the “fair and balanced” claim by Fox News.

“You saw her bathing on the roof…”

“I don’t think God is through with me. I think he believes there are still some things I can do.”

Not that I can claim to know the mind of God, but I don’t think “he” has any grand plans for a lying adulterer. (Unless, you know, your name is David or something).  And, given the treatment of most non-king adulterers by God in the Bible, I’m not so sure you should be so optimistic about the outcome of those things.

“I want to dedicate my life to being the best dad I can be and to helping those kids who I think deserve help.”

Well, admitting you’re the dad is a good first step.  And I hope your judgment about what kids need help is a bit better than you’ve shown in the past.

So why did I spend all this time on a fallen politico? Because I think it simultaneously shows the flaws in our justice system, campaign finance laws, and our political system in general.

Is Edwards guilty of a crime?

Maybe.

Is he a douche bag?

Absolutely.

Hopefully, the latter verdict will follow him around for the rest of his life.

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After 10 years of marriage (tack on another 2 for dating), I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about the institution, but that isn’t really the case.  In retrospect, all I can say is that I’ve learned many things about living with my wonderful wife for nearly all of that time.  After all, marriages are like kids—no two are the same, so no prescriptive formula is going to cover them all.

But, I suppose there are some general bits of “wisdom” that might be generally true for other marriages out there.

  1. Be honest with each other, even when it hurts.  This doesn’t mean you need to detail every moment of your lives, but when it comes to anything significant, honesty is the best policy.
  2. Communicate.  Brooding in petulant silence leads to resentment. Resentment leads to anger.  Anger leads to suffering.  That’s the path to the dark side.
  3. When crap comes your way, you can decide to let it break you down, or, as a couple, push through it.  I think successful marriages push back against whatever comes at them.
  4. Renew your vows every year.  We’ve done this in an informal way, but we always pick an interesting place to do so.  We’ve done it in a church, historic places, and on beaches.  It’s a good reminder and refresher of how and why you promised to be together.

We have a tradition of recording infamous quotes said by our family and friends—generally out of context to make them funnier.  Here’s a few:

I love you booger.  I meant to say baby and sugar, but it came out booger!” (Me to wifey)

It feels good to be a gangsta.” (Wifey)

You always get what you want.  I want to do what I want, which is to be a boar!” (Me, wanting to imitate a boar I saw on TV. Sadly no, I wasn’t drunk.)

Just because I’m arrogant doesn’t mean I’m not right.” (Me)

I’m trying to remember why I got married.” (Wifey-luckily, she remembered)

Oh my lord” (Wifey after something I said) “Finally, you’ve addressed me correctly.” (Me)

How do I look?” (Me) “Give me a minute, I’m helping V [our daughter].” (Wifey) “That’s ok, it was a rhetorical question anyway.” (Me)

So there’s a little jovial insight into our daily interactions—we try and keep it real.  But in all seriousness, my wife has made me a better man, is doing an amazing job as a mother, and is still as hot as ever.  Bring on the next decade!

I love you babe,

Hubs

p.s. It turns out my wife wrote a post on our anniversary as well.  She even had similar thoughts about “lessons learned,” and no, we didn’t plan it that way! Check it out (and the rest of her insightful blog).

"We do."

Somewhere along the great journey that is my daughter’s life, she has picked up selective lying—specifically about having gone potty in her pull-ups.  I’m not sure where she learned to lie since her mother and I are very careful not to lie to her; in fact, we often go to great lengths to explain things to her so we won’t lie.  Most of it probably goes over her head, but we feel proud that we’re not denying our daughter the truth.  So imagine my confusing when I smell a ripe odor emanating from her general direction, and I ask “did you go potty?” only to hear a defiant “no.”

I’m concerned (though not surprised) that this is probably a look into the raw stuff of human nature.  (Notice I didn’t say “uncivilized” since the very act of lying is the mark of a “civilized” person, albeit for socially and artificially-constructed reasons).  We’ve read about this phenomenon in books, but it still surprised us since she has had no contact with any ‘pretty little liars’ in a social setting.  Nor do we set such an example.  I guess we’ll just have to settle for learning to read her giveaways so when it comes to something important, we’ll recognize her attempt to circumvent the truth.

There’s also a reason why we call her the “destructor.”  The most recent case occurred this afternoon when I spent 10 minutes or so constructing an intricate structure with her building blocks.  My daughter takes one look at it and immediately sets to razing it to the ground like she’s punishing Carthage after the Third Punic War.  She knocks it over and dismantles each of the sections with a frightening intensity without a care for any of my stylistic innovations in Mega Block architecture.  Then she gives me a knowing look as if to say “see dad? All things are temporary.”  Kind of like those monks in Tibet who spend days or months making intricate sand mandalas only to wipe it away as soon as they finish.  Of course I’m annoyed because 1) a Buddhist monk I am not, and 2) she broke my tower!  Who is this little tyke to show me the properties of impermanence anyway?

Then I look over and see her nigh-unrecognizable baby picture and realize she’s absolutely right.  So I shut my mouth so I can soak in the latest lesson she has to teach her old man.

“Farrr….” -my daughter

The other night my daughter (let’s call her V), correctly identified the breaking of wind with the above word.  While we found this uproariously funny at first, soon predictions of embarrassment set in as we contemplated her publicly announcing either of her parents’ social faux pas…or worse yet, a stranger’s!  Thus begins the conditioning to arbitrary social conventions.

“Don’t tell someone that they need better hygiene!”  “If they ask if their pants make their rear look big, lie!”  “And for goodness’ sake, don’t question other peoples’ opinions to their faces!”  Well, you get the idea: be nice at the expense of the truth.

I then realized that this could be the beginning of a slippery slope that can lead to the silencing of our citizenry.   Too often, we don’t speak up, or at least not in an effective manner.  I’m especially concerned about this regarding my daughter as I often see women being talked over in the class (or board) room.  I know this generalization doesn’t apply to all women, but there are documented studies about females and assertiveness (this behavior is reinforced by a variety of external factors).  I don’t want V to internalize a socially-constructed passivity that is often expected of women, especially at the behest of patriarchal values that still dominate our culture.

(The exception to this is what I like to call the ‘golden estrogen ration.’  At a certain female to male ratio—and I’ve been there—enough women outnumber the men (usually about 3:1) to the point where they feel free/safe/empowered/inscrutable motive to verbally cut loose and incidentally instill the fear of Gaia into whatever male schlep happens to be standing nearby who is usually cowed into a state of shock and awe. This isn’t a misogynistic criticism, but merely an observable phenomenon that can—and should—occur even in the absence of such a ratio.  I’ve listened to enough alpha (and beta, and zeta) males to know they’re full of crap and think other, more thoughtful input should be heard more often).

Bringing this back to my daughter, I want V to scream the truth, to make sure people know what it is and why it’s important.  I want her to face the truth about herself and in doing so become a better person than her father.  I want her to smack liars in the face with the truth (metaphorically), preventing them from getting away with their schemes.

I want her to do all this because as soon as we stop seeking and demanding the truth, we lose more than just our voice.  (It also allows things like the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq to happen).

So yell “farrrr” V, yell it despite how uncomfortable it might make some of us feel, because that’s when it is most important for the truth to be heard.