Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sympathy for Mrs. Spitzer

In the frenzy over the revelations yesterday about New York governor Eliot Spitzer's connection to a prostitution ring, I don't think there is anyone who doesn't feel for his wife. The press conference, shown again and again, and again, had her literally standing by her man. It is bad enough that this person is having her family thrust into turmoil because of something she had nothing to do with. It is worse that this family matter gets a complete public airing.

But the cruelest thing of all seems to have all the emotions that any human being would naturally have -- anger, a feeling of betrayal, self-doubt, pity for the person you love, mourning the loss for the image of the life you thought you were living, panic about how to protect your children, dread at having to deal with person after person who will act in a completely awkward fashion around you for months -- and having to swallow them to seem sedate in font of the cameras.

And you have to. This sort of thing blew over for David Vitter, the Senator from Louisiana who was caught visiting prostitutes, and there are no allegations yet of Spitzer liking to wear diapers. Bill Clinton is on television campaigning day after day and treated respectfully and there are no cigar stories here. Life could go back to something resembling what it did...but only if you allow yourself to be used in a way that strips all of the authentic humanity from you in public. Your life is teetering on the edge and the only way you can have any chance at rescuing it is if you can be perceived as not reacting the way anyone else would at having your life teetering on the edge because your husband is a cad.

TheWife, last night, said in disgust, "Don't tell me this is a victimless crime." And she is right. Mrs. Spitzer is a victim, one we keep victimizing by forcing her to become dehumanized in front of us. I know it doesn't mean much, with things the way they are for you, but Mrs. Spitzer, there isn't anyone out here today who doesn't feel terrible for you.