Equal Opportunity Judgment

I am as disappointed and angry about the revelation of John Edwards’ infidelity as the next democrat. I will make no excuses for him. I do, however, want to suggest that we stop and think about how and what we tend to judge so harshly.

We can reasonably assume that judgment of Senator Edwards in this circumstance is based on one of two considerations (or both). First the judgment can be based on moral grounds. In this case, not only is infidelity a violation of yours or my moral standards, but it is a direct contradiction of the Christian values that Senator Edwards, himself, professes to believe. Second, we can reasonably judge the senator’s choices to be unfaithful in his marriage, and his repeatedly choosing to lie to the public about it, from a perspective of logic. Quite simply, logic holds that if he is capable and willing to lie about this, we can expect that he will lie about other things. Bottom line: viewed through the lenses of reason and ethics, we can conclude that Senator Edwards cannot be trusted.

Beyond the academics of logic, I don’t know if he can be trusted or not. But I do know that to argue, at this point, that he is trustworthy is a battle not worth waging.

What I do believe is worth our time and consideration is a closer look at a glaring contradiction in our political world — a contradiction that shows up in both moral and logical perspectives. Now, if you are a supporter of the current administration, at this point, I am going to make the genuine request that you respond to what follows with reasonable consideration of the facts, not dogma or emotional loyalty. I honestly believe that this is a clear, and as verifiable, as any simple mathematical formula.

The contradiction is this: as a society, we are offended and even outraged at a man running for public office who is unfaithful to his wife, and who is willing to lie to us about it, but we have taken in stride men in public office (at the highest level of public office) who have blatantly lied to us about matters directly deciding the life or death fate of thousands and thousands of human beings. I will leave it for another time to argue that while infidelity, deception about infidelity and moral hypocrisy are wrong, these matters are neither illegal, nor life threatening. For the purposes of this article, I am offering up a far lesser request: that since judging is inevitable — in many cases it is necessary and appropriate for our self-protection — can we please come together in earnest effort to practice equal opportunity judgment?

The responsibility in this is ultimately not on the politicians who run for office; it is on us. We the people decide who represents us in government. What I am suggesting here is that we do the right thing and stand in appropriate judgment of our media, and of ourselves, that we be big enough to acknowledge the danger of the double standard, currently in play, and that if we are going to point and stare at the spec — or branch or tree trunk – in John Edwards’ eye, we step up to our responsibility to hold the Bush administration accountable for their sins of both morality and reason.

THOM RUTLEDGE is a psychotherapist in Nashville, Tennessee, and the author of Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift. For more information: www.thomrutledge.com




Your Ad Here




More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro