Are Affairs No Big Thing?

I found myself a little taken aback by my thoughts about Gov. Mark Sanford’s admission of an affair.

I was kind of …non-plussed.

I mean, I felt bad for his wife and children, but I found that in terms of his having an affair, I just wasn’t angry. It’s almost like my actions were saying, “oh well, boys will be boys.”

From the time I can remember, older women would tell us younger girls that men “play around.” I remember being puzzled by it and my mother saying to me, “Susan, there are some things that just are.” I was appalled, but my mother kind of implied that it was the lay of the land, and that women learned to deal with it.

“All married women have to deal with it,” she said.

So, though I hated the thought, I grew up thinking, believing that “playing around” was just what boys and men did. As I thought more about it, I began wondering why any society or culture would insist upon monogamy if everyone knew that some people had no intention of keeping that promise.

I ached for Elizabeth Edwards and Hilary Clinton and women I know personally as their marriages caught the infidelity virus.  Because of so much infidelity, I am not sure I even believe in marriage anymore.

So, that’s where I was and am as concerns affairs. I thought it was admirable that Gov. Sanford didn’t lie about being in an affair, but I was really mad at him for another reason.

What was the deal with the lies about where he was? How dare he lie to his staff, his wife and children, leaving them all to scatter and try to figure out where he was? And when he said he’d been in Argentina to see his mistress, all the steam in my ears rolled out.

The audacity!  I found myself fuming over the selfishness of it all. How could he not care about how it was all goin to pan out? Did he think at all about his boys? I heard that he left no contingency plan in place for his state, had something happened to him. So, if something had happened that needed his attention to governor, he didn’t care anough about his office and the duties he swore to uphold?

When the United States Congress wanted to impeach Bill Clinton because of the Monica Lewinsky incident, I didn’t agree. He had shown poor judgement and questionable morals but he had not done anything illegal. He had broken his wife’s heart and disappointed his daughter, but in terms of the oath he took to uphold, protect and defend the United States of America, he hadn’t done anything wrong.

But Gov. Sanford’s situation is quite different. He left his role as governor, not saying anything to anyone. Nobody is sure if he used public funds to travel to Argentina, this last times or the times before, but it is clear that he sublimated his role and duty as governor to his sexual and romantic pursuits.

Where is the outcry? Where are the scores of people demanding his impeachment?

When I feel the passion rise about the governor reneging on his public responsibilities and duties, and feeling next to nothing about his affair, it gives me pause. Could it be that we as a society are so used to “scandals” and “affairs” that we no longer care? Are marriage and” family values”as important as we make them out to be, or are we blowing hot air?

It seems that we are on a slippery slope when it comes to marriage and affairs. In one sense, we are the harbingers of morality, and on the other hand, we let breaches of morality go too often without thinking too much about them. I find myself wondering if the majority of people who heard about the Sanford affair were enraged about it, or just sort of blase.

It would be a bad thing if for us affairs are just no big thing.

That’s a candid observation.

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