Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"End of the Innocence" - Praises for Jenny Sanford

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didnt have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by
When happily ever after fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales.
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly
But I know a place where we can go
That's still untouched by man
Well sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence
---- Don Henley


Some of you don't know this, but I am a feminist. I have this odd feeling that it is a little passe to admit that, but I have really only become a feminist in the last 10 - 15 years. I'm a late bloomer. I think I was a feminist before but I didn't know it. I saw Gloria Steinem (she's almost 75 and still beautiful) in the Minneapolis airport last week and I was weak with gratitude in her presence. Fortunately, I am married to a feminist, too.

I am writing this to honor Jenny Sanford, the wife of the governor of South Carolina. She was NOT by his side today at the press conference when he admitted his affair with an Argentinian woman. Now, don't get me wrong. I really don't care that he had an affair. Maybe he had a lousy marriage and it's the best for both of them that they part ways. Maybe Ms. South America was the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe he loved her. Maybe she loved him. Maybe MRS. Mark Sanford is better off without him. I don't know and I don't care. I only hope they can figure it all out and, in the end, follow their hearts and find peace.

But, kudos to her for not appearing at this photo op like MRS. Elliot Spitzer, whose husband was fricking paying a prostitute, which is both illegal and sad. At least I might possibly believe that the slightly confused Sanford was experiencing his mid-life crisis and dealing with it as many men do. This is not a new story. Personally, I didn't need the details. Mr. Spitzer gets no such credit from me. (Although....my husband sees him regularly in New York on the corner of 79th and Madison with his daughters and Lee, the melancholic, feels incredible compassion for him. My husband's life's work is to help the suffering.)

I just want to say I am proud of a woman in the public realm who has the courage to hold her ground and let her philandering husband take the hit on his own (and make a bit of a fool of himself by revealing too much.) It is about time that we have role models for strong spouses who realize that, in the end, we are always really alone in this life, and ultimately free whether we are married or not. Marriage is no guarantee of security. There is death. There is divorce. There are women from Argentina. And no man can save me from the world or myself.

I am responsible for every moment of my life and experience and so is Jenny Sanford. A marriage where both parties understand the fragility of life and love and commitment, and that each person is whole and independent and free is the kind of marriage I want and work for, where the point of life is growth - and sometimes people need to grow in directions that aren't easy. Evey day with love is a gift. A good marriage / relationship is the frosting. And that is my lesson to my daughter. When we realize that marriage won't save us, it's the end of the innocence and the beginning of mature love because the self has found its center.

Wow...for a romantic, that could be construed as a really dark philosophy...

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