Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Hold These Truths...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I will confess to a having a mild obsession for the American Declaration of Independence, It is a magnificently written document that expresses in glorious Jeffersonian prose, the hopes, and dreams of the people living in those thirteen British colonies in 1776.



Not surprising, the Fourth of July, has always been one my favorite holidays. I love all the Americana that goes with it. When I lived in Chicago, I would practically force my friends to come with me and picnic in Grant Park where we would sit on the grass eating watermelon, waving sparklers and listening to the Chicago Symphony play “Stars and Stripes Forever” as the fireworks boomed over our heads.

It was always at that moment, seeing the thousands of people around me cheering and waving flags, I’d feel so fortunate to have been born an American. A nation that, despite all its flaws and foibles , has nevertheless, never stopped striving to be that place Katherine Lee Bates called “American the Beautiful”.


The experience of celebrating American independence from outside the United States is not a new one for me. This will be the tenth July 4th holiday in my life, spent as an “ex pat” . Six of those were spent in Germany, one in South Korea and this next Monday , will be my third here in the UK. Friends and co-workers here, were surprised to learn I was not going to take the day off next Monday. I had thought about it, but when you get right down to it, Monday, July 4th, is just another workday here. So when in Rome... or in this case, London...

Yet being honest, I will admit there are other reasons I find myself feeling somewhat ambivalent about the Fourth of July this year, and it (as always) goes back to the document that started it all. That Declaration of Independence. Here is what the ubiquitous internet oracle Wikipedia has to say about the declaration:

" The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III, and by asserting certain natural rights, including a right of revolution. 

Having served its original purpose in announcing independence, the text of the Declaration was initially ignored after the American Revolution. Its stature grew over the years, particularly the second sentence, a sweeping statement of human rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
I have always loved those words, because at their core, they proclaim why American was designed to be different. What would set us apart from the other nations of the world. No feudal systems of hereditary privilege for us, thank you very much.  You keep your Kings, and Dukes and Earls and Viscounts and whatnot.  
For us,  America would be a place where even a skinny mixed race kid from Hawaii,  with a name like Barack Hussein Obama can grow up to be President.   (Hey Europe! Do ya’ like apples?  Well, how about them apples!)   

The United States of America would be democracy in its truest form. "E Pluribus Unum" From out of many, one with liberty and justice for.... Well, you know rest. At least that's how it's all supposed to work.

The problem is, as a nation we have an unfortunate habit of not always living up to our Jeffersonian prose. Especially when it comes to  that whole,  all men are created equal, bit.     It took us  over 140 years  after the abolition  of slavery  to  elect  a President who wasn't  white.   

As recently   as  40  yrs ago,  many people  argued that  to apply that idea of  equality  throughout  the country  was a violation of "States Rights".    Many   in  Southern States said  it was  State Law that should  decide  who could  work  where,  who could go to what school,  how some people  could vote, and  who could marry who.  All based on the color of  a person's skin.

In the 1963,   President Kennedy  took  the issue  head on.


The lesson of the  great civil rights  struggle of the  20th Century  was that  the Federal Government  has a role  to protect the rights of all  Americans  from  bigotry  and  discrimination cloaked in the  camouflage  of  "States Rights".  Jefferson's  exhortation of  unalienable Rights, wasn't  just  for  some people living in some parts of  the  United States.   It was for everyone.    Well at least it is supposed to be.  In  2011 it turns out those rights are for... almost  everyone.

The argument of states rights is back. In the 21rst Century it is not race, but rather the idea that Same Sex couples might deserve the same BASIC civil rights and protections as everyone else, that is causing more debate than the proposal to declare independence from Great Britain provoked back in 1776.

So the United States continues to cling to a law that prevents any recognition of Same Sex couples by the Federal Government. Of course I am talking about the ridiculously mis-named "Defense of Marriage Act." (DOMA) It provides the legal excuse for the United States to discriminate against me and my spouse,  and over 40,000 bi-national same sex couples just like us.

So thanks to DOMA,  the Federal Government has a problem  with my wanting to enjoy the same rights as any other American.   It is the fact that the person I am legally married to here in the United Kingdom, has the audacity to be the same gender as I am. Now if Eric was female then Uncle Sam would give us his blessing no questions asked. I would be able to sponsor my spouse for permanent residency in the U.S. and my government ( that I support through my taxes), would beam it's approval down upon us both. But the fact that Eric is a man just as I am, means that as far as my government is concerned , our relationship doesn't even exist.

Now, I really didn't want to leave my country.  Unlike Sarah Palin and the scared gullible bigots that hang on her every twitter posting, I really do believe that the greatness of the United States lies in our diversity. "E Pluribus Unum" - Out of Many , One.   Yet for me to do something as basic as have that pursuit of happiness. To be with the person I am married to, I had to do just that. Leave my country.

So now I live here, in the United Kingdom. Because unlike in 1776, in 2011 it is the people of Great Britain who have more civil rights and greater freedom than Americans do. Unlike in 1776, in 2011 it is the American Government, not the British Crown, that subjects its people to unfair taxation without representation. Unlike in 1776, it is The United States of America that has politicians seeking to preserve a status quo of inequality and treats groups of its own citizens unfairly.

What is perhaps most confusing for us, and thousands of couples like us, is that in 2011, that states right argument is not being made by bigoted, angry State officials. This time the argument that basic civil rights should be left up to the states to decide,  is being made by the first African American President of the United States.

So for the federal government to step in and enforce the constitution is the feds "poking its nose into what states are doing"??    I will say it again;   if Presidents' Truman, Kennedy and Johnson had all approached civil rights for African Americans, the way Barack Obama is for LGBT Americans, the Military, public schools, and most public services would still be segregated in many parts of the U.S. His own parents would not have been allowed to marry in 3/4 of the country.

I can't help but wonder how Barack Obama would feel, if in order to stay together with his wife Michelle, he had to leave the U.S and move overseas. Oh wait... I don't have to wonder how he would feel...

He'd feel like I do.

Have a great Fourth of July Weekend everyone. Those of us in "DOMA Exile" will be thinking of you , and waiting for America to finally live up to those words Jefferson penned, 235 years ago.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Marriage....Why Some "Conservatives" are Losing their Minds...

video

I once blogged about how the arguments against Marriage Equality for Lesbian and Gay Americans were at best, seriously flawed and in all truth, nothing more than fear mongering driven by a warped and twisted mis-use of the Christian Faith.

With the passage of Marriage Equality in New York, the passage of Civil Union legislation in Illinois, and the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"; 2011 has not been a good year for hating "the Gays". Yet with national polls showing that for the first time, a majority of Americans support Marriage Equality, the hate groups on the right, and far right who make their living on spreading that hate and homophobia are reacting to their recent setbacks in classic and all too predictable ways...

They are losing their frigging minds...

The ridiculously mis-named hate group the "National Organization for Marriage" has developed only what can be described as "twitter turrets syndrome". Their spokesbigot, Bryan brown has been blurting out random twitter postings vowing almost jihadist like political vengence on all the NY State Senate Republicans who supported Marriage Equality in the Empire State.


The good folks over at the Catholic League took time out from blaming the victims of Clergy sex abuse for what Priests did to them, to vent their rage and indignation that all people in New York were going to be treated equally under the law. Their proposed solution? Why write their particular brand of Catholic -Sharia Law into the United States Constitution of course... Cue spokesbigot Bill Donahue

"Standing in the way of a constitutional amendment is the legitimate reluctance on the part of federal lawmakers to decide what many believe to be a matter for the states. But given that we are left with the scenario of the people vs. the elites, we are quickly reaching a tipping point, and when that happens, chances are good that this issue will be resolved by a constitutional amendment." 

Nothing like taking a felt tip marker to the nation's founding documents when people you don't like get treated equally to you, is there Bill?   Not to be  left out ,  everyone's  favorite demented  hate monger,  Pat Robertson  weighed in with his  favorite tune.   "GOD WILL DESTROY AMERICA! 
 If you have a strong stomach for a bucket of extra crazy with a side order of hate, this video should make your day...



Interestingly enough  there is  one other  notable person who is on the record as  opposing  Marriage Equality  who we have not heard from.   President  Obama.

The President  says his view on Marriage  Equality is  "evolving".   I guess that might make sense if you define  evolution as  going  backwards.    In  1996  Barack Obama said he was in favor of Marriage  Equality.    Now in 2011, President  Barack Obama  has a problem.  In 2008  he clearly said he is opposed to  Marriage Equality for  Gay and Lesbian couples,  because  Marriage is  an issue  he says should  be decided by the States.   but  at the same time he says  he believes  those same couples  should have  equal rights.

Uh...   huh?

By  that logic   Barack Obama  feels  the  federal  government  should have  let  states  decide  voting standards and not pass the Voting Rights Act.    Racial integration  should have been left up to  individual States to decide, and  the Loving v. Virgina  court decision  that  struck down  laws  against  interracial marriage was an overreach by the federal  judiciary.

So  if   Presidents'  Truman,  Kennedy and  Johnson  had all  approached  civil rights  the way  Barack Obama does,   the Military,  public schools, and most  public services  would  still be  segregated in many parts of the  U.S.   His  own parents would not have been allowed to marry in  3/4 of the country.

And  in all likelihood,  rather than being  President  of the United States  Barack Obama  would  be  an underpaid  teacher at a small Black College, who would have to  pass a  test, and  pay a special "tax"  each time he wanted to vote.

The New York Times  on today's  Editorial Page  couldn't  help but comment on the  contradictions...

On Thursday night, when same-sex marriage in New York State was teetering on a razor’s edge, President Obama had a perfect opportunity to show the results of his supposed evolution on gay marriage.
Unfortunately, he did not take it, keeping his own views in the shadows. The next night the Republican-led New York State Senate, of all places, proved itself more forward-thinking than the president on one of the last great civil-rights debates in this nation’s history."

So clear and obvious is the case FOR Marriage Equality that today the American Medical Association issued a statement saying that Marriage Equality is even HEALTHY. Saying in a statement released today: “The AMA now joins every other mainstream public health organization in America in making the case for providing the freedom to marry – and the critical safety-net that comes with marriage – to loving, committed same-sex couples.”


So it begs the question.  Why are  social conservatives  hell-bent (pardon the expression)  on doing as much damage to  the lives of  Gay and Lesbian Americans  as they can?   Because the bible tells them so?  Not really.   The bible  says a lot more about  hatred of others, and about  loving your neighbor, and about  lying.   In fact the bible has  8 verses  that  mention homosexuality and  over  300 that condemn heterosexual behavior.   This isn't about  following the word of God... Not even  remotely.   
My favorite  television show,  "The West Wing"   tackled  that  issue head on in a story where  the White House was hosting  a reception for  Talk Radio hosts.  Including  one  not so loosely based on  "Dr." Laura Schlessinger.  Who famously  called  LGBT Americans   a  "biological error."
The American Right Wing's  opposition  to LGBT rights  is  very simple to explain.   It makes money.    The far right in the  United States  has nothing left to run for.   Their policies  don't work,  their ideas of;  "Let's tax the poor,  give that money to the rich and  everybody will be better off!"  Have failed,  and failed  miserably.    The last  four national elections in the  United States have been, for the  Republicans  about  two things, and  two things only. 
Anger and Fear.     
To win elections  the GOP  fully understands it needs  two things.   It's  rabid,  non-thinking  base, and enough  independent  voters  to  get  to  fifty percent  plus 1.   That my friends is the  Karl Rove  play book.   To do that they need their base out in full force.    The GOP base is a group that  is not  really  all that big on voting for things,  rather they are far more motivated to vote against things.    So  the Republican Party  and the rabid dog  social conservative movement that owns  it now,  is desperate to keep  one group in America it is  still safe to hate.  Still safe to vilify.  Still safe to say  "look out!  they are coming for you !".
For the  GOP those groups  used to be  Blacks and  Latinos.  But  the demographics of the  U.S. Population have changed in ways that make that  a losing proposition  nowadays.   You can't  bash women,  or  Jews anymore  (sorry Pat  Buchanon...)   The whole "every muslim is  a terrorist" ploy stopped working when it became clear  George W. Bush raised and lowered the terror alerts based on his poll numbers.  So  who's left?    Oh that's right.....The Gays.
Desperate Bigots...  
Someone once asked me  what would I ever do  if I won a huge lottery jackpot.    I'd file lawsuit after endless lawsuit against  these anti gay bigots  to make them pay for  the  harm  they have done to millions of Americans  all in the name of  politically expedient hate.









Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Democratic Party Wants to Lose...

When it comes to shooting yourself in the foot, and pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory, no political party on earth even comes close to the skill and acumen of the Democratic Party in the United States.

This past week in Minneapolis, MN was the annual Netroots Nation conference. A gathering of progressive bloggers, organizations and activists from all over the country. For many attendees this was a chance to share a growing frustration on the Progressive Left, with the Democratic Party in general, and the Obama Administration specifically.

Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold opened the event with a great keynote address, where he challenged progressives to keep the pressure on politicians and political parties. Yet for many progressives, 2012 is looked upon with a painful mixture of anger, disappointment and yes, even disinterest. The frustration of the left with President Obama covers a wide range of issues. From the issue of detention of terror suspects in Cuba, to Jobs and the Economy to perhaps what is the most baffling contradiction of all. President Obama's bizarre almost twister-esqe policy contortions on the issue marriage equality.

Back in 1996, then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama answered a questionnaire sent out by Windy City Media, a Chicago LGBT media company. One of the questions dealt directly with the issue of Same Sex Marriage. Here is a scan of the actual form Barack Obama filled out and sent in the the LGBT newspaper the Windy City Times:




























In response to the questions, US Senate candidate Obama wrote “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” and then signed his signature to the bottom of the form. Pretty clear right?

Well apparently not...

While answering questions  at  Netoots Nation,  White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer claimed the  1996 questionnaire, which has Barack Obama's signature clearly on the bottom of it,  was "actually filled out by someone else." "If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President."  



Faced with one of its own officials claiming a document that clearly has Barack Obama's signature on it was a forgery. The White House was quick to move into damage control, issuing a statement:

“Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the president’s views are clear," The statement said. "He has long supported equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian couples and since taking office he has signed into law the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,' signed into law the hate crimes bill, made the decision not to defend Section 3 of DOMA and expanded federal benefits for same sex partners of federal employees.”

Hmmm... Interesting, but still does nothing to answer the real question here. This was a very lame evasion of the real issue. So, the White House Communications Director "was not familiar" with the questionnaire, but said it was "litigated during during the campaign" and the President wasn't the one who filled it out? So Dan Pfeiffer is psychic?

Netroots Nation had a great panel discussion on the growing dissaffection with the President in the LGBT community, entitled "What to do when the President is just not that into you..." If you have the time, the panel is worth watching. The basic message to come out of the discussion was one of disappointment with the reality that Barack Obama is not a progressive on civil rights.


Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at livestream.com

On top of everything else, this week saw the media and political circus surrounding New York Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) reach a fever pitch. As many key Democrats, including President Obama, saying that Weiner should resign. Here's an excerpt of the exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and President Obama on the matter:
ANN CURRY: Should Congressman Anthony Weiner resign?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate. I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.

Now, the issue is not, and has never been, one of Anthony Weiner's behavior. It was bad, and wholly inappropriate for a member of the U.S House of Representatives. The issue is, and remains; Why is such behavior acceptable when a Republican does it?

In their baying calls for the political head of Congressman Anthony Weiner, the GOP practically handed their own blatant  hypocrisy to the Democrats on a silver platter with bow tied around it, and a card the read "USE THIS PLEASE!" It was a golden ticket giving the Democrats the chance to finally frame the issues of Republicans putting partisan gain above, country above sanity and above decency. It was a issue begging to be flogged on every Sunday talk show, talked about in every cable interview and press conference.

This was the chance to finally place front and center in the national debate the issue of the Republican Party's singular aim of politics over reality at any and all cost. So what happened? I'd let you guess, but that would be too easy. So I'll let the always brilliant Rachel Maddow bring you the sad saga...




The Obama 2012 brain trust would be wise to listen to the conversation currently happening on the Progressive Left. They need to come to grips with a blindingly obvious conclusion, Barack Obama can't run the campaign he ran in 2008.



Obama 2008 ran Barack Obama as a bold progressive, but Barack Obama as President has been at best, a timid centrist. 

David Axelrod seems to be betting that whoever the Republicans nominate to run against the President, will have so much Tea Party baggage from the GOP primary process, that independent voters will flock to re-elect President Obama. The flaw in that thinking is the same one the John Kerry campaign suffered from. The GOP knows that to win it will need BOTH it's base and the independents. The Democrats seem to think they just need the independents.

The GOP will have a long primary season to drum up support, energy and enthusiasm from their Base. The Democrats wont. The Obama Campaign's hope that independent voters will remember the nuttiness of the GOP primary when they go to vote in the General Election is at best, wishful thinking, and in truth woefully ignorant.

The Obama Administration has managed in three years to alienate the Labor, Latino and LGBT communities. It's true that these groups of voters generally won't vote Republican. Yet unless President Obama can show he can be more than a man who gives eloquent but meaningless speeches, the Democratic base, may simply stay home on election day.

I am starting to think the Democratic Party doesn't want win.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Difference Between Weiners and Baloney...

Over  here on this side of the Atlantic, the media   has been riveted  to  the saga of  professional footballer Ryan Giggs  whose  multiple affairs  and legal manuervering   to  hide it from the press and public, spawned a much larger   debate on the issues of  privacy, and  legal injunctions which are often used to prevent the press from reporting on private indiscretions.

The story here has been so big, that  I nearly missed  the latest bit of fun and frolic from back over on the other side of the pond....

Back  in the U.S., a well known member of the U.S. Congress, found himself on a scandal of his own, where   a whole series of jokes have been writing themselves!
(via the GuardianUK...)

A painfully embarrassing week for the New York Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner was brought to an excruciating denouement when he admitted that he had sent sexually suggestive photographs of himself over the Internet, confessed to lying to cover it up but said that he was not resigning.
In a half-hour press conference during which he at several times was fighting back tears, Weiner made a total and grovelling apology. After days in which he had at first claimed the photographs were hacked out of his computer and sent without his knowledge, he said he took responsibility for his "dumb" actions.
"To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it. I'm deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, and our family, my constituents, my friends, my supporters and my staff," he said.
(Insert ready made "Weiner" joke here.....)
Sigh... and  for that matter.. eww!    (I won't post the pictures in question here,  if you are really curious, you can Google them for yourself.)

A number of friends of mine  on the political right have had a great deal of fun with this "scandal" over the past few days. Right on cue the Republican Party was in front of any camera and microphone with calls for "Congressman Pervert" to resign. After all what Congressman Weiner did was shameful, and... icky...., AND he had the audacity to LIE about it! That is certainly a "beyond the pale" offense... right?   

Mind you , the  REPUBLICANS would never tolerate that kind of thing in their caucus... right?

You have to love  this age of digital media  we are living in...  Cue  Rachel Maddow with today's reality check....



Now  as much as I find  what  Anthony Weiner did, to be ...  Well, I was about to say unbecoming of a member of Congress, but  apparently  this sort of thing is par for the course there...   That being said,  as much fun as it would also be to rehash  famous  GOP "Sexting" scandals,  (one of the  more famous ones   of which involved underage congressional Pages.)  It hardly seems worth the effort.

It's gotten to the point  where  blogging about  Republican hypocrisy  doesn't even require any real work.  It is a narrative that writes itself.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

When Our Heroes Fail Us....



"If you're looking for heroes,  don't look to me..."   - John Edwards, 2008 campaign ad.

By now the long sad story of the rise and fall of  former Senator, Vice Presidential and Presidential candidate John Edwards  has come to its sadder conclusion  with a federal indictment for violation of  campaign finance laws.  Edwards is charged with using nearly  one million dollars of  campaign funds to  cover up his extra-marital affair, and  child  with television producer  Rielle Hunter.



I supported  John Edwards when he ran for president in 2004, and again when he ran in 2008,  I was even a blogger  for his campaign  on  his  "One America"  website.   I donated money,  I volunteered at  rallies and  worked phone banks for the  Edwards campaign in  California.    When  the news of  the  affair and love child with  Hunter broke, like many people  I was very  angry.

Lots of people asked  me at the time if I "regretted"  supporting his campaign.    That is  complex  question.    At the time  I blogged on here, that the issues and positions  Edwards publicly  championed  in his campaign were still as relevant and important  as ever.    The actions in his private life  didn't change that.

What  angered most Americans about the whole sordid saga, was  what  John Edwards did  to  his wife, Elisabeth Edwards.    I can't say that  I knew Elisabeth Edwards,  but I did have a number of opportunities to  meet her,  and on two occasions  had the chance to talk with her  one on one.   She was an extraordinary person.   In 2007 she was the only national democratic figure  to  speak  at  San Francisco Pride.   That same year, she  gave an amazing speech at the  San Francisco  Human Rights Campaign Dinner.  I was sitting  in the audience  that night.



As I sit  here in London, typing this blog entry,  I think of my political scrapbook.  It is a very odd bi-partisan  collection,   The photos and  autographs range across the political spectrum.  From  Ronald Reagan,  George HW Bush,  Dan Quayle,  Liddy Dole,  Bob Dole,  to  Al Gore,  Bill Clinton, Barack Obama  and  yes,  both John and Elisabeth Edwards.    Stapled to the page  that has autographed blog entries from  the Edwards  Campaign  blog,  is a small note  I received  from  Elisabeth Edwards in  early February, 2008.

I had emailed  the Edwards campaign asking  the Senator to take a stronger stance  on  the repeal of the  Defense of Marriage Act.   I wrote telling   Eric's and my story of  how this  horribly bigoted, discriminatory law denied basic civil rights to us  and  thousands of  other bi-national  same sex couples just like us.

I went on to explain how  DOMA was  forcing me to choose between  my country and the person I love.   I included  a link to  the youtube video Eric and I had made to support the  Uniting American Families Act,  a proposed law that would right  that wrong, and grant  immigration equality to couples like us.

I honestly didn't expect to hear anything back.  Maybe one of those generic "thank you for your feedback, and support", emails.    What  came in the mail  two weeks later  was a one page  handwritten note  from Elisabeth Edwards.    She  wrote ;

"David,  thank you  for  sharing yours and Eric's story with us,  I can't even begin to imagine  what  it must be like to make the choices you are facing.   Please know  that you and Eric are in John's and my thoughts.  Like you ,  We  hope to  see the day when  the discrimination against  LGBT Americans is a thing of the past.   Your Friend, - Elisabeth Edwards"

When the  Edwards  campaign  came to end  in the early Spring of  2008,  like many Edwards  supporters,  I  was torn between  supporting  Hillary Clinton  or  Barack Obama.   The night before the California  primary  I called both campaigns  and asked why they should get my vote.    The Clinton campaign volunteer I spoke with  talked  mostly about  what was  "wrong" with Barack Obama.   The Obama volunteer I spoke with   talked about  Obama's  commitment  to  equality and opportunity for all Americans.

I voted for  Obama.

As I watched  the news reports on yesterday's  federal indictment ,  a friend of mine in  Arizona  texted me and asked if I felt  "betrayed' by John Edwards.   No.   John Edwards  didn't  betray  his supporters, he betrayed his family.   He  failed and disappointed his supporters, and  it looks like  he will continue paying  the price for that  failure in a number  of ways,  personal, financial and political.
  


Yet as with so many other political figures who have fallen in similar ways,    to  expect a candidate to be something more than human is  not realistic or fair.

That being said,  I can't help but wonder about that road not taken.   I wonder  how  different  2011 might have been,  if  John Edwards  had  lived in private the life he portrayed in public