Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Why of Silda Wall Spitzer (JM)

So one of the persistent stories that is popping up around the Eliot Spitzer scandal is the question of why Silda Wall Spitzer stuck by Gov. Spitzer's side. For instance, the XX Factor on Slate debated this issue to near death. From my perspective, I just kind of find the whole thing incredibly, incredibly weird.

By all accounts Silda Wall Spitzer is an extremely smart woman, though actually this is kind of irrelevant. I don't think any of us are in the position to speculate as to why she didn't kick Eliot to the curb. I also don't think it is any of our collective businesses. The truth is that the internal dynamic of a relationship and a family is quite complex. Did her hurt her? Probably. Do I know how she should feel about that? Of course not.

I find this to be an absurdly repugnant level of moralization, on the part of a lot of people I really respect. It's similar to the same group of people who chastised Hillary for staying with Bill throughout his many debacles. What makes it weirder is that the people castigated or "acting confused" about their decision-making process are usually the exact same people who deride legislating morality.

My heart goes out to the whole Spitzer family. This situation would be bad enough even if it weren't the subject of constant media attention. However, I suspect the last thing any member of the Spitzer family needs to read are columns baffled about incredibly personal and complicated decisions that the author of said column cannot possibly be close enough to know about. I think that instead of just railing against legislating morality, we also need to consider the problems of moralizing itself, on any subject. Cultural norms can be just as powerful, just as restrictive and just as hurtful as legislation, but sadly when it comes to that people just take far less care.

No comments: