A Reflection On The Media And Marriage In Light Of Our Governors

by AMANDA MELILLO · March 20, 2008

I've been pretty much out of commission for the past week, and I was somewhat thankful for this once I resurfaced and started reading the news headlines, only to find that the media was still obsessed with how New York's governors are making the French blush. Apparently it has also given us Americans a pause on our own morality. See, in America, we have one spouse, and no public extramarital affairs—only secret ones and a high divorce rate. Yet now "news items" seem to be reading like our deepest anxieties, and readers, I am here to respond to the unanswered questions with my twenty-something wisdom, or lack thereof:

Why do we care about Spitzer's indiscretions, but are willing to brush off Paterson's? Because paying for sex is illegal everywhere except Nevada and Rhode Island (sort of) and Spitzer broke the law. This is a problem when it's a public official who is there to uphold the law, and claims to do so vociferously. Plus, Paterson came out and said he had extramarital affairs just to clear the air before he could get down to work, which is pretty ballsy. Except he didn't give all the information right away, so minus a few ballsy points. And, um, he might have improperly used campaign money for at least one tryst. But come on, people! New York is going into debt and we have a budget to balance, and we need to get to work, stop printing naked pictures of hookers!More...

Are public officials just as flawed and doomed to failure as the rest of us? Sure. We're all human. We all do stupid things. Except "public" is half of being a "public official," and I always assumed an oft-unspoken understanding of this was that people seeking elected office were at least going to try to be better than the rest of us to work for the common good, otherwise if they did improperly use tax dollars or pay for sex, their punishment for getting caught would be a metaphoric hanging in any and all media outlets. What if your spouse is cheating on YOU? Is that a reflection that it's your fault? Dr. Laura may have gone on the Today Show and in an extremely uncomfortable moment blamed Silda Spitzer for her husband's indiscretions, but I vehemently disagree that he strayed because she didn't "make him fele like a man." I think it had something to do with ego. That's just my theory. People cheat for a lot of reasons, and I rarely think there's a simple explanation or an easy way to lay the blame. But stop being oblivious and start paying attention to the signs if you think your spouse is cheating. And gut feelings are usually right. Don't let one governor's epic downfall and the next governor's admitted affairs be the only reason we raise questions about marriage in this display of national collective fear—check the receipts!