Thursday, March 22, 2007

strength and honesty in Raleigh/Durham today

Did you see the Edwards press conference today? As you've certainly heard, Elizabeth has bone cancer. It's uncurable, but treatable, and they're going to continue the campaign barring things turning for the worse. Them Edwardses is classy folks.

And how 'bout that Elizabeth? So strong!

I have to say, I've never seen such a humanizing effect on a presidential candidate before. John and Elizabeth looked like the kind of people who live on my street, and the way they corrected each other and finished each other's sentences and riffed off of each other's thoughts was very endearing.

To me, this presser cast the right's attacks on John Edwards as girly in the kind of absurdist, character assassinating light they deserve. The point of the attack is to assault Edwards' "strength," to call him weak and vain compared to strong, by and large ugly Republicans who have no qualms about risking other people's lives for questionable objectives. Sorry guys, but seeing John (not to mention Elizabeth!) at that presser today, I can't think of 2 words that fit him less. It takes incredible fortitude and strength of will to mount an outsider presidential campaign, but to do it while going through this? To get in front of the cameras with the whole country watching, and just lay out your major personal health problems the day after you found out, and then take unscripted questions afterwards?

Folks, that is what strength looks like. That's also, incidentally, what honesty looks like, and it's been a while since we've seen any genuine examples of that, too.

I've dwelled a lot lately on negative traits and how they reinforce each other, particularly corruption and incompetence, or spun another way, secrecy and weakness. One can see without an abundance of imagination how the two have a symbiotic relationship, each feeding off of the other. It's the same, however, with their opposites: personal strength and honesty, or perhaps to put a finer point on it, the trait that stems from personal strength, integrity and honesty. A person with integrity eschews lies and embraces truth, s/he's straight with people, while honesty keeps enough light shining in on them to keep them from slipping. The honesty "keeps them honest," as it were. It's the rationale behind oversight. And there's the point at which the differences between the Bush Administration and an Edwards Administration are most stark: oversight wouldn't pose the same problem for Edwards, because Edwards has a belief system that's amenable to it and a personality that can thrive under it.

In other words, John Edwards is the man George W. Bush pretended to be in 2000.

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