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Republican Governor Antics

I’m used to Republican governors and congressmen getting caught in “grave errors in judgment” or “seeking God’s favor in this time of difficulty” or “experiencing moral fault.” Of late, these have been in the homosexual sector.

{ Incidentally, having spent time in Holland it’s funny that in that country there is nothing that proscribes being both far-right and gay, as the late Pim Fortuyn exemplified }

When I heard that Governor Mark Sanford ® of South Carolina had returned after an emotionally-tormented powder spent visiting his South American mistress, I took it merely as another opportunity to gloat about not being a member of the party that thinks it should dictate the moral terms of the nation’s life – least of all the while its members act to the contrary. In short, schadenfreude.

Yet I read the actual harvested emails and I was, quite honestly, moved. It’s clear this man is quite over the moon with this woman and their letters, particularly hers, are warm, tender, full of that Brazilian triesteza that makes slow samba with sangria so nice on Sunday evenings' sunset.

Said “Maria:”

You have not brought complication or are not bringing complication to my life, on the contrary you’ve fullfiled (sic) me with happiness and made me aware how you can feel when you love somebody. I can think with my head but only feel with my heart so I can’t avoid it even knowing is hopelessly impossible

Honestly, could you not put a slow samba beat under that, read it, and bill it as a something from the João Gilberto back-catalog?

and…

Send you millions of kisses that will last till we get in touch again. best wishes from the deepest of my heart.

Said Sanford, steamily:

…you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light

Source: The State

My goodness. These are clearly people in love. In some ways, I was surpised to see this level of attraction and infatuation in middle age. Our media-enabled view seems to say that this kind of smoldering infatuation is the sole realm of teenagers. Maybe the Boomer generation is coming to peace with the idea that you may not have to look and act like your 20-year old version but can still have a rich emotional life ( cf. Diane Lane in “Unfaithful”).

And what of the the erstwhile Mrs. Sanford: the poor humiliated wife. To be on the “I prefer thee less” in this story must be excruciating and she is suffering an indignity that I do severely doubt and marriage could recover from. This interaction is a grand emotional infidelity. But I must give her credit in not showing up to the press conference. The tableaux of the by-the-man-standing wife in the boardroom suit is ridiculously dated. It would have been tantamount to carrying a sign saying “I’ve been grievously humiliated, and am here for your viewing pleasure.” Good for her, it’s a tiny beach-head of dignity that she may still hold.

So I moved from callow gloating, to a more considered view of the emotional torment of the parties involved. This is where I should have been first, I now realize, but 8 years of Bush rule were hard on heartstrings all around.

I was very much kind of feeling sorry for the guy until I read the following:

wish I could wish it away, but this soul-mate feel I alluded too is real and in that regard I sure don’t want to be the person complicating your life. I looked to where I often look for advice and counsel, and in I Corinthians 13 it simply says that, “ Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful, it is not arrogant or rude, Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right, Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things”.

Boy, it takes real brass balls, you over-entitled megalomaniac, to quote I Corinthians 13 at your mistress and to portray yourself as her educator or tutor.

I don’t celebrate the shattering of any home, but where are those W. Somerset Maugham men who bolt out on the family and say “I love this woman and for once I’m going to live my life like I need to – I am an unfaithful man, a lousy father, but I must be with this woman, she is my life!” Or, failing that couldn’t they adopt the steely silence of the patricians because That’s What Our Type of People Do?

O tempora, in our world we don’t even have men making bad, harsh decisions who take the blame and live with it. No instead it’s simpering, it’s “I disappointed X, I let people down.” That’s not contrition (Mrs. Sanford is insulted by this), nor is it passionate depth of true love (“Maria” is ill served by this) it’s hoping to not loose too much station in the exchange for having had your cake and having eaten it too. Consider Edward VIII, who gave up his crown to be with Wallis Simpson, does the governor of South Carolina have so much more to loose?

It’s weasly cowardice then. I’m sick of the lack of responsibility the Baby Boomers have shown in handling public lives. He says to her: “…helping you live a better – not more complicated life.” Such pomposity!

But in the end, this is the eternal story of our condition, uncertainty and unhappiness, stability and family set against an unruly cerebro-chemical mush-pot animating us. I hope all these people moving through darkness come into peaceful world.

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