Saturday, August 9, 2008

Private and Public Lives

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Edwards cheated on his wife now. I did stay up to watch his interview with Nightline Friday night. I think he had some good points to say. I liked how he didn't have Elizabeth there next to him because it was his issue, his fault. I like that he said he has nothing else to say on the matter. But I can't believe him like I used to.

Adam was watching it with me and we got to talking about it. Adam brought up some interesting points. If Edwards talked so positively about the importance of family values/morals, and he lied to us in letting us think his family was so strong, etc, then is he crying wolf right now? But what if his family really is strong other than the one mistake he made? But then again, does what matter in his private life have any effect on his ability to hold a political job? And maybe he really does belief in all that he said, he just couldn't (obviously) lead the life he so much preached about. We talked about the importance of being truthful to those you love and working through problems. We talked about how hard it must have been for Elizabeth and his children. We talked about how does a parent rebuild trust after making a mistake, and how does a family heal. And we talked a lot about how much the public should know about celebrities and public people private lives and what private activities effect your job.

Don't get me wrong. What he did was wrong. So incredibly wrong. But, just because he is a politician does not mean he is perfect. And as his wife said just because others have also made this mistake does not make it any easier for her. In a very weird, possibly wrong way I actually do admire John for trying to keep it a private issue out of respect for his wife.

If this issue occurred in my marriage what would I do - would I want to try to rebuild? Would I want a divorce? I don't know. It would depend on so much. Either way, how much would I tell people, whether friends or family? And what would I want my husband to go around telling people? I'd want him to keep it private.
The question that keeps coming back to me regarding this is exactly how much of one's private life should be public. And exactly how much of one's private life effects your job.

On a much different level, as a teacher I am supposed to be a role model for kids. What if I see a student in the grocery store and I have beer in my shopping cart? Or what if a student sees a teacher out at a park and that teacher is smoking, or with their children yelling or giving their child a tap on their hand for not listening? But in school teachers tell kids hitting, smoking and drinking are not good for your body. Or what if a teacher has a same-sex partner? Are they not supposed to go out in public in fear of a student seeing them holding hands?

Where does one cross the line between what the public should know about your private life? And to what extent should they know about your private activities?

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