Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Trust & Consequences

Robert Downes - July 27th, 2009
Random Thoughts 7/27/09
Robert Downes
Trust & Consequences
If your spouse was caught fooling around under the covers with someone else, would you go on national TV and stand behind him (or her) and make like it’s all nicey-nicey now and you’re on the road to “healing”?
We’ve seen a parade of political ‘Stepford Wives’ standing behind their men at press conferences over the past few years. Consider the rogue‘s gallery:
• New York Governor Eliot Spitzer spends $7,000 a pop to have sex without a condom with a call girl.
• New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey drops the bomb on TV (and his wife) that he’s gay.
• Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is caught seeking sex with other men in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
• Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught making a baby with his “videographer.”
• Sen. John Ensign? Another “family values“ Republican on this list who gave his mistress tens of thousands of dollars and other perks.
• And the latest: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford blubbering on TV about his eternal love for a South American hottie - slash - trade mission destination.
Usually, these Lady MacBeths standing behind these guys look like they’ve been chewing on earthworms during their moment at the podium. After their culprit husband makes a confession (blaming the whole thing on sex addiction, alcoholism or a fat head that got the best of him), the wife comes forward and repeats a mantra of forgiveness that’s on par with those old newsreels of captured U.S. soldiers confessing their sins under torture.
That’s why Jenny Sanford has become something of a hero to many women.
The first lady of South Carolina, Sanford refused to ‘stand by her man‘ when Gov. Mark fessed up in a press conference that he has been fooling around with a “soul mate” in Argentina named Maria.
Gov. Sanford, you may recall, went missing for several days and his staff claimed he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail until someone recalled that it was “nude hiking day“ on the trail and he decided to ditch the story as being even more embarrassing than confessing his affair.
But instead of playing the role of a compliant crash test dummy, Jenny Sanford told her husband to go ahead and take a hike. When asked if she was concerned about the governor’s future, she said no -- she and her kids have their own future to think about -- one without him.
“I’m glad she didn’t stand up there with him,” my wife Jeannette says whenever that news clip airs on TV. “Why do all of these women go up on stage and pretend everything’s alright when you know they hate being there?”
One can imagine the calculus of power and loss that goes through a political wife’s mind when she’s forced to make such a stand. On one hand is all the time served with her narcissistic husband, attending 1,001 rubber chicken dinners and boring town hall meetings on a million miles of roadtrips. On the other hand are the perks of riding in limos, state dinners, living in the governor’s mansion, black tie parties, trade missions to Japan, and a cushy non-job fronting some charity. Sounds awful, come to think of it.
But you can only imagine that someone in that bag -- say a Hillary Clinton -- saw the last fumes of romance drift away long ago and struck a devil’s bargain with an egomaniac.
Interesting to note, when Elizabeth Edwards aired the dirty laundry of her relationship with John in her recent memoir, Resilience, she was lambasted by feminist writers such as Tina Brown of The Daily Beast and Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, who rushed to her husband’s rescue.
Elizabeth Edwards was accused of seeking “revenge” in her book for dropping tidbits that the affair had made her “sick to her stomach.” But is there any saint among us who wouldn’t have feelings of rage toward a spouse who fathers a child with his mistress?
Perhaps a woman should be writing this column instead of me. But I imagine that Jenny Sanford’s example may be even more instructive to men than to women.
When men see the wives of the rich and powerful lining up like bowling pins behind their cheating husbands on TV to have their dignity spun into the gutter, it sends a message that betraying your marriage is no big thing -- all will be forgiven. By refusing to play a groveling sap, Jenny Sanford set the record straight, reminding us that marriage is a covenant of trust -- and consequences.

Robert Downes is author of the round-the-world adventure, Planet Backpacker, available in local bookstores.

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