Saturday, July 27, 2013


The freakshow that is New York's current state of politics -- specifically, Spitzer and Weiner, a burlesque comedy team if there ever was one -- has filled me alternately with shame and sputtering rage. As you can imagine, I'm great fun to be around these days.

Yet what confuses me is many women's reaction to Huma Abedin, Weiner's long-suffering wife. Wait, check that. "Politician-to-be" wife is more like it. Apparently, her supporters are angling her to be the next Hillary Clinton and, in doing so, believe it's her duty to stick by her idiot husband. Apparently, a lot of women believe they're unable to achieve success without a man. 

So much for Republicans "turning back the clock on women's rights " as the cliche goes (and goes and goes). Back when Ms. magazine raised hackles with the idea that women were perfectly capable of leading a fulfilling life without kowtowing to a husband, the idea of sticking by a man who humiliated you in a very public way was tantamount to sedition. That was when the cliche was, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." It was probably amusing the first time, but by the time Cher got around to passing it off as her own creation, it had run its course.

But somewhere along the way -- around the time "I didn't have sex with that woman" entered public discourse -- women decided that it was OK to remain married to a serial cheater as long as you had a chance to get his job one day and, oh yeah, he endorsed certain cultural touchstones the "correct" way. Frankly, I would have admired Hillary Clinton had she divorced Bill, regained the name Rodham, and run for office on her own skills. I don't know that I'd have voted for her, but I'd have at least respected her for doing what any wife -- outside of politics and show business -- would have done. 

Apparently, I'm in the minority. These days, what many women would have once rightfully condemned as irresponsible behavior at best is now considered "a complex situation."  That is, if there's dough and power involved. MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, for one, regards Huma's reaction as "brave" -- easy talk from a woman married to Alan Greenspan.

Many women, it appears, have turned back the clock on themselves. Suddenly, the year is 1953, when girls graduating from school were told Marry a rich man. He cheats once in a while, so what. You'll live comfortably. And if the girls protested, the answer would be, What else are you going to do?

Well, ask Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein. I'm no fan of theirs, but it seems they managed to get where they were by their own smarts and tenacity. They're the poster-women for Sisters are doing it for themselves. Now, maybe they've got well-to-do husbands stashed away at home, but I don't think those guys are political powerhouses. Or sexually-demented sickos like Anthony Weiner -- a guy whose immaturity led all the way to his nom-de-Twitter, Carlos Danger. 

Carlos Danger! You'd think that alone would have sent Huma to the offices of Gloria Allred. Instead, the headline on the ABC News site said it all: Weiner's Wife Sought Hillary Clinton's Advice Amid Scandal. No, I don't see a divorce court in her future. Not as long as there's a pay-off down the line.

Many people admire the relationship my 17 year-old daughter enjoy. I've alluded to it from time to time here. There's been good-natured teasing on my part, oft-times deliberate attempts at hackle-raising. In return, she's been telling me off (when appropriate) since she learned to put together a simple sentence -- a skill that will come in handy when guys dish out crap as guys are wont to do. Along the way, I've been encouraging her independence; we're both looking forward to the day when she's away at college and, later, on her own in wherever she chooses to live. She's got a great sense of humor, too. I've often told her that many guys are threatened by funny girls. If they don't appreciate her wit, I've warned her, they're not worth her time.

In short, I want my daughter to be independent. To know that she doesn't have to land a husband to climb up the corporate ladder, or whatever other ladder she chooses. To remember that she doesn't have to settle for the first guy who makes goo-goo eyes at her, but to hold out for someone who truly loves and appreciates her. To know that self-respect trumps all the dodgy roads to security and power.

Boy, do I sound old-fashioned.

No comments: