What if there is a much larger scandal lurking within their private lives? What if the “whole lot of therapy” was merely a ruse, a going through the motions. What if it was an act necessitated by the need “to get to a place where [Abedin] could forgive Anthony?” Not for engaging in a relationship with another person intimate enough for the exchange sexts, but rather forgive him for being so stupid as to get caught.
A greater scandal than infidelity would be an open marriage.
Let that sink in.
Because the authoritarians out there are fine with infidelity. They do it themselves. What they will neither abide nor tolerate though, is a challenge to their moral superiority. The challenge of the sexual revolution of the sixties for the moral fundamentalists was not free love. It was guilt-free love. It’s ok to have sex. It’s just that after almost every instance you are required to feel guilty.
The sixties freed us of “premarital” sex guilt. So much so that the very word “premarital” is falling out of common usage.
But “open marriage” guilt. Not by a long shot.
And it’s beyond ironic that one of the kind of people most in need of standards of conduct within an open marriage are politicians. The essence of politics is lots of interaction with lots of people. Both shallow and deep interactions and interfaces. It was a revelation to my daughter when I pointed out to her the high likelihood that the Clintons had between them broad understandings of what they would permit of each other. And a greater revelation that agreements of that sort would be more scandalous than the acts themselves.
It is a sense wrongness that can constrain progressive politicians from living our values. Best if felt by the politician but sufficient if merely felt by the voters. Even if Anthony Weiner feels that sexting is ok, he has to lie.
Eliot Spitzer, of course, has a similar problem. Even if engaging professional sex services is allowed within his relationship and his personal ethics, it is beyond efficacy to say so.
And this is what drives the moral superiority of the authoritarians. They can still safely feel at one with their beliefs. As long as we feel, and I mean feel, that we must deny our fundamental beliefs, we will be at a disadvantage in the political arena.