The Passengers Gossip as the Ship Sinks: An Open Letter

09/09/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Well, it seems that the ONLY news anywhere and everywhere is that John Edwards had an affair two years ago. Why is this news? I understand why it is of interest to the far-right, as they have an unhealthy obsession with sexuality and are also looking for a distraction -- any distraction -- to shift the conversation away from the obvious: The Republican party has imploded under the weight of corruption and crime, leading directly to the White House.

Reputable journalists did right to ignore this non-story as long as they did. Tabloid gutter belongs in the in trash-dumps like the Enquirer. Yesterday, however, that all changed. Hounded by the far right and stalked by the Enquirer, John Edwards came forward to explain that which we have no business asking about.

Glass Houses and Stones

Did this man break the law in some way that I am not aware of? Did this man demand to know what you did in your bedroom or insist that private sexual acts are for the government to know? No. That kind of sexual, obsessive deviancy is how the right-wing functions.

John Edwards ran as a presidential candidate not on the platform of his bed, but on real and serious issues. Only people with little intelligence, moral insufficiency, and/or no ability to discuss anything of value would see this tabloid story as worthy of attention given the Constitutional crisis this country is drowning in.

Edwards was concerned about American jobs being shipped overseas, about health-care access for all Americans, about the right of American workers to be treated like human beings. That has not changed.

Under the best of circumstances, a marriage - any marriage - goes through difficulties. Throw in the death of a child and the cancer of a spouse and people get overwhelmed. Do I condone his affair? I have no right to even ask this question, let alone answer it.

Do you condone his affair? Because if you attempt to even answer this question, I think it only appropriate that you share with us your own sexual history, including slips such as this if you have any. You want to publicly demolish a man because of something private, legal, and something his wife had agreed to forgive him for? Then I want your sexual resume on the table.

I have no right to demand of someone that they share with me, or answer to me, issues that are private and legal for the same reason I would think it inappropriate for anyone to demand that of me. So if you are going to demand such answers and dig through someone's life for such private information, you better be able to defend your own life and behavior and you better be ready to make it public. What gives any of you the right to pass judgment on a private matter with no relation to you?

Simply put, I ask one question: have you ever cheated on a spouse or partner? If you want to pass judgment on Mr. Edwards, I think it only fair that you be willing to explain yourself and your "family values" qualifications in this regard.

High Crimes

But none of this is really the issue and never has been. The Edwards story is important because it can be stretched far and wide, to cover all other background noise which an uneducated populace can easily forget when a sensational and sleazy story is before them.

Both the left and the right, as well as the mainstream media have been talking about this private matter non-stop as though it were newsworthy. Edwards is not a public official, nor is he now running for public office now. Even if he were, it is a matter for him and his wife to resolve. So why is this news? Because when he was running for public office he did not want to share his private (legal) life with you? Do you have the right to even ask? Unless there is some illegal activity going on, what right do you have to know what a public figure does privately in their bedroom if it is not used as a political "family values" tool against citizens of this nation? Did Edwards try to pass the no cheating constitutional amendment and I simply missed it? I do recall the same-sex marriage ban amendment being shoved down our throats by people who were gay or criminal deviants. But I do not recall Edwards ever demanding to know how any of us lived and loved privately, nor did he insist on enforcing his view on how we should live and love.

Most importantly, why is actual criminal activity committed by officials currently in office NOT news 24/7 or the only thing wall to wall from blog to blog?

Here is what should be on the TV, radio, and in all newspapers and blogs 24/7

1. Russia's attack on Georgia (which suggests that the US is no longer the lone super-power)

3. Evidence that the Anthrax terrorist attacks came from a US government lab (despite what we all believe about Dr. Ivin's alleged relationship to the attacks)

4. The fact that the Bush administration was more interested in blaming the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda and Iraq than in securing this nation (a pattern of criminal neglect that frankly warrants criminal charges)

5. The fact that Karl Rove was briefed that an Anthrax vaccine was making our soldiers sick and that he sought to control the damages of the "political problem" this information could pose, not remotely interested in addressing the health of our troops - the troops he claims to support.

Do you understand what I am saying? All of you, do you understand that any time wasted on poking around the bedroom of a man -- who has not committed any crime and is not in any political office or government position -- is time wasted in dealing with a serious domestic crisis of epic proportions that if not addressed urgently and corrected immediately will sink this nation?

What is enough to wake you from your negligent slumber? Because the rise of gas prices (and their manipulation), the depletion of the US treasury (some lost, some stolen, some moved to private sector), the record number of people losing their homes, are apparently not enough.

What is wrong with all of you on the right, left, center, sideways and all ways? Drop this Edwards story. Stop talking about it. Stop linking to it. Stop giving it attention. In any other time, I would sit quietly while those of you busy passing judgment engaged in your obsessive voyeuristic behavior. But now is not that time, not by a long shot.

A nation sinking cannot afford to play gotcha with something as unimportant as a vanilla sexual affair of a man not in any office of power and whose reputation is otherwise entirely solid. It is also wise to consider that his wife is ill with cancer and even basic respect for her feelings might be a reason to back off for people with any integrity. Or is everything for sale?

Instead, I urge you to put all of your energy into any of the seven pressing issues I have listed or any others that are equally as important. Our collective attention is far more urgently needed in other areas. I only listed seven, but as we all well know, there is far more known and even more that is still hidden from public view.

Do I need to go on or do you yet get it? Do you see the ship is sinking? If so, what are you doing to salvage it?