Friday, January 20, 2012

Open Marriage

Rightly or wrongly, Americans admired Hillary Clinton for standing by her man. She may have protested loudly that she would never do it, but when the time came, she remained loyal to her husband.

Whether she was following her personal ethic or political expediency, she demonstrated good character.

Now that we are tall talking about “open marriage,” it is fair to say that Bill and Hillary had an open marriage. We can reasonably say the same about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, though, less flamboyantly so.

In these cases the women in question maintained their loyalty to their husbands. And they remained discreet.

In our therapy-addled age discretion is out of fashion. It should not be. Speaking about the Clinton marriage, James Taranto notes: “But what saved Bill and Hillary Clinton's political careers was their discretion about their own relationship.”

We cannot say the same about Marianne Gingrich. Whatever her motives—and they are surely not good—Marianne Gingrich has betrayed marital confidences.

Since these confidences were shared by only two people, it is difficult to know who is and is not telling the truth.

Of course, we should not speak ill of the ill, but there is nothing noble or honorable about betraying a confidence.

It was not noble when Princess Diana did it; it is not honorable when Marianne Gingrich does it.

Marriage requires an extremely high level of trust. Even if you have lived a life of utter probity your spouse will know things about you that can easily embarrass you.

They need not be criminal acts. They might simply be personal peccadillos. When revealed in public they will cause embarrassment. Anyone who reveals them will be taxed with indiscretion and disloyalty.

When a society accepts as a matter of course that a spouse can and should reveal sordid details of a marriage, it damages the institution of marriage.

Won’t more people think twice about that marital commitment when they see how many people praise marital disloyalty?

As it happened, Newt Gingrich also betrayed his wife by going back on his vows. He has admitted as much.

Was his responsibility mitigated by the fact that Marianne Gingrich was voluntarily spending more and more of her time apart from her husband when it happened? Does it matter that she seemed to want to be living a separate life? I will leave that for you to decide.

When a marriage breaks up, it is never very clear who is at fault.

If Marianne Gingrich is acting out of a righteous sense that she was betrayed, her own public pronouncement makes her look embittered and vindictive.

Regardless of her motives, hers is a political action. It has political significance, and perhaps political consequences. It is designed to damage her ex-husband’s presidential campaign.

And now, inevitably, Marianne Gingrich’s credibility is also at issue.

James Taranto noted yesterday that while she claimed on a couple of occasions that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, thus, a year before her divorce from Newt Gingrich, an AP story from July, 2000 offers a different picture:

The AP reported: “Marianne Gingrich disclosed Tuesday that she has suffered from neurological problems that could be a precursor to multiple sclerosis.

The ex-wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sought treatment in September 1998 at the Emory Clinic for tingling in her right hand, said a statement released by Emory with her permission. Tests showed an inflammation in her brain.

"Such an episode could represent a single event, perhaps related to a viral infection, or be a forerunner of multiple sclerosis," said her neurologist, Dr. Barney Stern.

She was treated with a two-week supply of steroids but did not begin long-term drug therapy, which is sometimes recommended in such cases.

"We hope that as more and more time elapses, the possibility that she will develop definite multiple sclerosis becomes less and less," Stern said.

One understands why her memory might be faulty. She remembered the first time that MS was mentioned as a possible diagnosis; therefore she dates the onset of her illness from that moment.

Since her physician, an objective third party tells a different story he casts doubt on her credibility.

Emotional intemperance can easily undermine objectivity.


n.n said...

I agree.

I don't like the idea of extortion in perpetuity. If there were legitimate grievances, then they should have been revealed at or near the time of separation.

I also don't like that the story covers what transpired following the separation, while excluding what precipitated its occurrence. There will be probably be a comprehensive recount in a forthcoming unofficial biography.

Then there is the matter of journalists faithfully reporting her recollection, while presuming his story is unworthy of their ethical standards. The presumption of guilt is antithetical to American culture. For journalists to promote this attitude is unethical at best.

I have noticed that holding Democrats accountable is considered passe, presumably because their corruption is a rule, which would explain why Republicans, in the majority, are held to task. It may be unfair, but when corruption in the exception is all that remains, I suppose there really is no alternative.

Trailer Dweller said...

Too bad the mainstream media did not (and will not) give Obama the same rectal exam they are systematically giving the Republican candidates. I'm far more concerned about BO's relationship with terrorists and marxists than I am about Gingrich's former marriages.

Trailer Dweller said...

Marianne Gingrich was and is a fool. He cheated on his first wife with her, then she had the audacity to be outraged when he cheated on her with wife #3. Did she really think his character would change?!

The only thing she said that I agree with is that Newt says what people want to hear, but doesn't believe he has to follow it up with consistent actions.

african girl said...

I really do agree with this phrase:
"Marriage requires an extremely high level of trust. Even if you have lived a life of utter probity your spouse will know things about you that can easily embarrass you."

Absolutely!Trust is very important in every relationship for without it relationship will never ever work!

For the open marriage I'm already aware of it because it is merely applied in the U.S right? I'm no longer shock with this issue so all I can say is that it's alright for me as long you will never leave your responsibility with each other.

By the way, I really appreciate your choice of topic! It's always interesting.