Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it’s happened again. A powerful man is revealed to have been engaging in an extramarital affair. In this instance—the story of General David Petraeus—is a touch unusual. Instead of two women being involved, there are three—the wife, the “other” woman, and the “other, other” woman. So, not a triangle but a square? Rectangle?

The ingredients are so painfully predictable—the man is older, powerful, well-known.  The wife is also older, but for her age does not lend a cache of charm, but a burden of being (perhaps) past her prime.  She has been the home base while the general fought wars overseas.  True, she has her own career, and has made contributions working on alleviating the needs of military families.  Oh, how ironic. 

The other woman is younger, in need of a mentor, and—I wouldn’t be surprised—adept at charming the older man with flattery.  As the story is told, she made the initial contact with the general, and eventually got herself embedded (the irony piles up) with the military in Afghanistan while she worked to expand her doctoral dissertation into a full length book.  With the recent revelations of “the affair” sales of the book have soared. 

As for the other “other” woman, nothing is known—except that she apparently received threatening anonymous emails.  Because of their nature, it seems she contacted the FBI.  And thus began the investigation that unraveled the situation.  Of course, her presence does raise a niggling question—why was she perceived as a threat to the erstwhile mistress?  Don’t even want to go there.
Do you hear echoes of similar recent stories?  The New York Times chronicled the sad litany of some of the name of those involved in these affairs—Alexander Hamilton, Warren Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Baines Johnson.  And that doesn’t even bring us to the current transgressors—Gary Hart, William Clinton, David Vitter, John Ensign, Mark Souder, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards.  I even edited this list to shorten it!

So, what’s the lesson? That power attracts? That forbidden fruit is just too tempting? That great men fall? That we are all flawed? That in a digital age, there is no such thing as secrecy?

The truth is—I don’t know.  I do know that this particular revelation made me especially sad—sad for all involved.

11 comments:

Ginger said...

Very sad, indeed. I see it happen in both civic and religious leadership. I think your next-to-last paragraph pretty much sums up my thoughts about the lessons, in a nutshell.

Anvilcloud said...

One lesson for men is: don't put yourself in the path of temptation, for you are vulnerable.

NCmountainwoman said...

I believe that men who gain so much power begin to think of themselves as above all the rules. Everyone around them has told them how wonderful they are that they begin to believe that they deserve what they want when they want it.

I must admit that there is a little part of me that says that if no laws were broken, the whole thing is between the man and his wife and none of our business. Of course, his being the head of our country's intelligence makes it our business.

Ginnie said...

I, too, was saddened more by this than by most of the others.
What is it with these men? I think it's time we let the women run things. Strong women (like the newly elected Elizabeth Warren) could teach those men a lot ...

Liza Lee Miller said...

It is very sad. I don't understand folks. I really don't.

Beverly said...

Well, it's just plain sin, something we don't talk about too much these days.

The Tampa Bay Times reads like the National Enquirer these last couple of days. www.tampabay.com. The "other" woman is something else...she has quite a history. I won't even begin to write anything about it.

I grieve for our nation. Ths has made headlines, and, of course, on all the entertainment shows...but what about the four men who died in Behghazi (sp?)

Murr Brewster said...

Maybe for every man in a powerful position we should assign an auxiliary post for his penis, since they seem to operate independently anyway. Secretary of Aroused State, Leaker of the House. That sort of thing.

KGMom said...

Based on your various comments--sadness, avoiding temptation, the need for privacy yet accountability--this story has raised many thoughts and concerns.
Beverly says--just plain sin. Well, true, yet then why isn't every married man everywhere in like circumstance? And yet that does not happen. Which brings me back to puzzlement--why some men and not others.
NCMountainWoman--yes, powerful men do appear to begin to think they are inviolable, yet not all stray.
Ginnie's suggestion--strong women in power. It would certainly help, but we also know that women can fail too.
And--Murr--thank you for bringing your wonderful humor to this otherwise sober saddened conversation. An auxiliary post indeed. I must say that I hadn't realized that when a reporter is embedded with the troops, she really is EMBEDDED.

NCmountainwoman said...

Just this morning I saw a ten-minute discussion on CNN about whether or not the media had paid too much attention to this issue. Sadly, none of them seemed aware of the irony of their discourse.

Mary Lee said...

Raising my hand that it made me sad, too. Because "the other woman" lives here, we get a double dose of coverage.

I didn't realize that women were that attracted to power. Military groupies?

What do you think--too many heterosexuals in the military?

KGMom said...

Oh Mary Lee--funny. Jon Stewart did a wonderful review of too many heterosexuals in the military...at least I think it was Jon, or maybe one of his talented staff.