Eyre Affairs

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"To cheat me..." ~ Jane Eyre

In the novel Jane Eyre, Jane leaves Rochester as soon as she learns his mad wife resides in the attic and refuses to run away with him after their wedding is ruined because of this discovery. Yes, what makes Jane a noble character is her sense of what is right, but what also makes her noble is her self-respect and pride in herself. When she leaves him, she loses everything but her self-love. In the end, she knew that was the most important possession to own.

I am aware that I have alluded to politics here at Eyre Affairs. It is not a subject I usually speak of, for it is a very private matter. As much as I elaborate on my life, there is so much, dear readers, that shall and always will remain private. Still, I brought up the election recently. I have indicated my support for Barack Obama, and some people have questioned why I do not support Hillary Clinton. The answer? Just call it female intuition.

Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized judging a person by the content of his/her character. Now, I have done my research on the candidates, and I have spent hours and hours learning about Barack Obama from his books to articles in The New Yorker to pieces on him on NPR. Until others do the same, I ask that comments about him be refrained until you educate yourself. I have concluded he is of excellent character; not perfect, but a good man who made choices in life without ever compromising his self respect.

I think that Hillary Clinton is a good woman and a smart woman. What I do not find her to be is a strong woman. I do not find it noble that she has made herself a doormat to get to where she is today. Her husband is a repeated adulterer, and if I had a young daughter, I would be concerned about Hillary Clinton as a role model. Your president is complacent to stay in a marriage where she has been emotionally abused by her husband not once, but many times. He has put his own child through pain and has made her endure humiliation in addition to Hillary's. Some may argue she is strong for keeping her family together, but I disagree. Her weakness is her ego, and she stays in a marriage that is a sham, much like what a marriage between Jane and Rochester would have been if Jane didnt stand up for her own self preservation.

Am I supposed to admire her for putting this country above her own well being? I cannot. I cannot admire her for putting aside her self respect and compromising her happiness. If we are not good to ourselves, we cannot be good to others. She spoke on the subject and said she did what was right for her. If that was right for her, than she is the wrong person to lead this nation. What he did was quintessentially wrong, and her continuance to keep him in her life makes me uneasy. And, sadly, perhaps I would be more apt to like her if she was divorced. Well, not perhaps - I most certainly would. She would then have proven that she takes shit from no one, and I admire that in a leader, and in a fictional heroine.

Oh there are other reasons. She is smug all of the time, she has skeletons in her closest that the GOP cant wait to bring out. She loves pointing fingers at other political parties but never admits the faults of those in her own party. I dont like that she piggybacked my state to get her where she is now, and I fear that she is embedded in so many political entanglements that her cabinet would be made up of all those she owed favors to.

If there is one thing I have learned as a woman who just turned thirty, it is to never compromise myself. I shall not and will not support any woman that is a repeat offender of placing her needs, wants, and desires of her soul in the trashbin and taking garbage over and over from the man who vowed to love her his entire life. She would be a hero if she left him, as Jane Eyre leaves Rochester. Instead, she becomes an antagonist to me - I look at her and see a compromised soul with tainted character. I wish Hillary Clinton would reread Jane Eyre, for she could learn a lot from such a heroine.

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Blogger foam said...


7:10 AM  
Anonymous J Sarah said...

I don't agree with your reasoning here for a few reasons.

One is that while I think we do and should elect leaders based on character, values, and personality as much as particular policy positions, I also think its very hard for us to untangle which of those things carry over from personal decisions to public, professional, political ones . . . and to be frank I think we're more likely to erase the difference between personal and public when we look at a woman. We're much more likely to look at a successful man and see all he could accomplish and value his wisdom, judgment, and, yes, caring . . . even if it is all at the cost of his own children. And we're not wont to judge women in the same way. Notice I'm using "we" - it's a tendency I try to be conscious of in myself and correct if I think it's necessary.

But back to the issue at hand - when do personal decisions tell us something about what public decisions someone might make?

I don't think FDR was a worse president because he married a woman he didn't love and had numerous affairs. Nor, for that matter do I think the fact that George H. Bush had a mistress tells us much about the type of president he was. Or JFK. And while clearly Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs did have a profound effect on what he was able to accomplish as president, and he should have known by the middle of his presidency that he was living in a different media and political culture and he couldn't get away with it as did many (if not most) of his predecessors, I'm not exactly sure that it gives us some key to how he acted as a president otherwise.

Should Lincoln's struggles with mental illness kept him from the presidency?

Should Elinor have distanced herself more from FDR? Could she still have been instrumental in the creation of the UN if she had?

Obviously there aren't clear cut answers here, and so much we are trying through very artificial media to discern how a person's character would influence what decisions they make on our behalf, but people do clearly act differently in different parts of their lives. I don't think Bush has been a better president just because he's clearly a good father and a good husband and has had the ability to overcome addictions. It's not even clear to me that his flaws of secrecy, independence, stubbornness, etc. as a president have any parallels in his personal life.

As fundamentally for me, I don't think I can judge someone else's relationship. Do I condone cheating? Of course not. Do I condone "stand by your spouse no matter what?" Of course not. Neither of those are positions I would want/take in my own marriage. Do I know of healthy marriages in which sexual faithfulness is not central to the relationship? Yes. And it doesn't mean that the children in that marriage aren't able to learn what they need to do to have healthy happy relationships themselves.

I have other reasons to have decided to not vote for Hillary Clinton, although I also have reasons to be worried about an Obama candidacy. But her marriage isn't among them.

8:34 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Foam ~ Thank you.

BFF ~ We have always agreed to disagree, and I was sure to mention that there were other reasons why I do not feel she is the best candidate. This is one of many, but the one I feel the most strongly about. Personal illnesses are not an issue here, so your argument about Abe Lincoln is comparing apples to oranges - he does NOT have control over that, my dear. As for FDR, I have never gone on record stating he was of good character, nor do I think if JFK lived would we idolize him so much as a person. I ask that you start researching about modern feminists and their view on Hillary, because many see her as anti-feminist for staying WITH him. I believe I am clear that it is not her marriage that is my issue, but her lack of self-respect.

9:39 AM  
Blogger she said...

nicely stated. i am in agreement with you too. but there are many reasons besides the bill factor to reject hillary clinton. lying is a good start. corpses might be another, sandy burglars thefts, chi-com contributors, tons of stuff. for anyone who hates W i tell you hillary is the same thing, globalists first, americans second. if second. and dont get lulled into thinking it will be peace and love with the demoncrats remember the only nuke ever dropped on this world was by a demoncrat. hillary is a hawk. be advised.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

I agree with a whole lot of what you said.

Although, I've always believed that you have to do what is right for you and your family. I just can't bring myself to judge any part of someone's relationship when I'm not in it. I just don't think it's right. I agree with J Sarah when she says that we are judging her on those things because she is a woman. It is a slippery slope, one that makes me very nervous. I tend not to judge political and personal character together. I feel that that is an apples to oranges comparison.

That said, there are so many reasons that I like Obama and will vote for him.

3:35 PM  
Blogger HLiza said...

I do feel the same about women who can't stand up for herself after being badly treated by the husbands..but sometimes in many other cases it's easier said than done. I wouldn't know what I'll do if I'm in their shoes..with kids wanting a family protection and a man to call their 'dad'..it's such a hard thing to decide. Some women chose to sacrifice themselves and this is killing them inside.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

"corpses"????? Sounds like somebody's been subscribing to right-wing wacko conspiracy theories.

The reason to vote for Hillary - universal health care. Obama won't get it done, as Paul Krugman in the NYTimes explains.

You don't base your choice of who to vote for on whether you'd marry them or want to be their best friend. You base it on stuff like universal health care.

I very much agree with j sarah.

5:44 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

She ~ In Armenian the phrase for bravo sounds phonetically like "afedim" - afedim to you. Love the point about the nukes, too. I had never even thought of that.

Kels ~ You have a great point, too, and what I appreciate the most right now is that you have been a long time reader here and feel comfortable stating your opinion, which I respect profusely. xoxo

Hliza ~ And oh how great it is to hear the point of view from a mother here; and I take that point of view seriously. I appreciate your commentary; I wonder what it is like being outside this country watching this farce take place!

Nancy ~ She is a very educated woman and has a right to her beliefs...no one has personally attacked anyone here, so lets refrain from doing so, thank you. I think you make a great point about the figurative vs. the literal here, and I like that point.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hill let Bill walk all over her and publicly humiliate her. She talked tough but he knew she was all huff and puff. Now all world leaders know that about her too. Well said, Thursdaynext.

9:38 PM  
Blogger she said...

okay nancy. corpse hyperbole aside. the clintons in the white house would be a step backwards. they were there 8 years. wheres your universal health care? grrrrrrherhahahahaha!

11:11 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

I. Love. Pups.

7:44 AM  
Blogger moi said...

I may have a snarky voice at times, but in reality, I am a deeply political person and I take very seriously the relationship between govern and governed. And I am tired of the standard demarcation lines.

Like j sarah points out, I believe that only a person of character and values can lead us. Not a person with power hunger over others. To me, no one demonstrates that hunger more unabashedly than Hillary Clinton.

While I hold no overwhelming faith in any candidate, something Obama said recently really stuck with me: "I don't necessarily want you to have faith in me; I want you to have faith in yourselves."

As to Nancy's "Right Wing Conspiracy." There is no such thing. But there is a battle currently raging in this county – perhaps throughout the word – as to the proper role of government in our lives. To simplify, it comes down to either Government as Great Provider, which only serves to weaken the citizenry and make them dependent on a welfare state; or Government as Great Protector, which provides basic civil rights so that each and every one of us is free to make or break our own destinies.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah. what moi said. the entitlement mentality: like a virus killing the host. grrrherhaha

stopped at a truck stop in south georgia to check in with ya jane

12:07 PM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

Amy, It speaks leaps and bounds of how much I think of you when I offer a differing opinion. I have to be extremely comfortable and feel that my opinion will be respected for me to offer any imput that could be controversial. I adore you, my blogging buddy.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous J Sarah said...

What interest would there be in a political (or any other) discussion if we couldn't disagree?!?! (by the way, one of the things I've loved about the constant updates from Addy's daughter is even in the midst of the crises - when Addy hasn't known exactly who she is or where she is or even how to feed herself - she still is defending Hillary to her daughter's passionate embrace of Obama!)

Anyway, just wanted to say that because I wrote quickly and carelessly, I gave two false impressions that I want to correct. Plus beg pardon to my much beloved Eleanor Roosevelt for misspelling her name! Shame on me.

Anyway, one false impression that I gave that I don't want to let stand is that I did not at all intend to suggest that Lincoln's struggles with depression were at all constitutively similar to marital decisions. Rather (and I should have given a few more examples to make this clear), I was trying quickly to think of examples in the category of elements of a leader's persona that weren't public, and were of questionable relevancy to their public lives, and that's the first one that I could think of. I was hoping to raise the larger question of how difficult it is to judge someone's public character and public abilities based on what we do or don't know about their private lives. You're claiming that the complicated decision to stay in her marriage comprises Hillary Clinton in your eyes in her ability to be president because you think it tells you something about her decision-making. While absolutely recognizing that we elect whole people, and not policy platforms, I still want to raise the point that people are not one-dimensional and that there are personal sides to them that might not actually be informative to how they act in their public lives. Perhaps more to the point would be the constant examples of women who are, for instance, business leaders, in which roles they are strong, independent, capable, caring, even tough . . . and so everyone who knows them is shocked to discover that they are in abusive relationships. This isn't clear cut, but I don't see the evidence in Hillary Clinton's public life that what bothers you about her marriage is analogous to something that might bother you about the policy decisions she makes, the way she sees public service, or how she gets those decisions enacted.

If on one hand I'm disagreeing with your reasoning that her staying in her marriage is relevant to whether she'd make a good president, on the other hand I was also disagreeing with knowing what her staying in her marriage tells us about her. You possibly see it as a lack of self-respect or as naked ambition (though you do acknowledge there are other interpretations). I guess I think the less savory possibilities might very well be true, but am not willing to rule out other possibilities. I guess the one that I was trying to suggest in my first comment is that it seems quite possible to me that she just simply doesn't care if her husband is faithful to her and so it doesn't touch her self-respect.

So, I'm not sure that if her marriage tells us something about her self-respect that it is actually relevant to how she'd be as a president, and I'm not sure that the American public is in a position to know what her marriage tells us about her self-respect.

I certainly wouldn't hold up her role in her marriage as some great feminist icon (though we could argue forever about how to define feminism), but I do think I am reacting generally to fifteen years of seeing her judged differently than a man might - and in ways that I don't think are warranted. It just seems so ingrained in our culture to evaluate woman as whole people whereas generally we allow men separate roles.

Anyway, I'm deeply proud of my political party to have two such smart, dedicated, capable, intelligent, trustworthy, dedicated public servants running to be president. And although I have reservations and doubts about both of them on many counts, I'm looking forward to volunteering for either of them (or both! ha! a frustrated Democrat can fantasize!) as they run for president.

See you tomorrow night for split pea soup and shiraz and some apolitical girl time! :)

11:00 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

Um, sorry to throw religion in this, but, as a Christian, I believe in 4 things (which Jesus, who I consider to be God, the Ultimate Authority on Everything, said):

1) Judge Not.
2) Love God Above All Else
3) Love Your Neighbor...as
4) Yourself

Hillary did what God told us (Christians) to do: She FORGAVE. (I think Jane forgave Rochester, too.) Right Wing Republicans should LOVE HER. She did what The Good Book said!

I don't agree with adultery, of course not. And I'm a pretty die-hard feminist, so I believe in women's strength and solidarity. But it's not my place to judge Hillary (or Obama, who did drugs, for Christ's sake), or anyone!

During Bill's 8 years, this country had the best economic period IN THE HISTORY OF THE NATION. I love Hillary (and Bill) because they are brilliant, have ideas I believe in, and, for 8 years, proved that they could lead our country into a good place.

I try not to discuss politics, because it's so divisive. And I held out for a while before replying because, I don't want you to take me the wrong way. Your points are all valid, and I totally see where you are coming from. And in a debate, you'd kick my ass! You're a lot more involved politically than I am; I go with my heart, on all things. That may not always be a good thing. But anyway.

And J. Sarah? You are my new hero! WOW! You totally rule. (So do you, Thursday. Don't hate me cause I am a Clinton-supporter!)


12:31 PM  
Blogger Slim said...

In light of the wide variety of opinions and intelligently articulated perspectives and reasons for those perspectives, I would like to congratulate all parties involved in this discussion for being respectful and non-inflammatory. This discussion, whatever one's political position, has been immensely enlightening and enjoyable to read; like a breath of political fresh air.

I don't generally do political conversations. People like those of you commenting here (and you Thursday) make me feel like an uninformed voter. I feel as though it's just impossible to think of every aspect of every candidate and every decision and every bill they are involved in passing and every lobbyist that has them in their pocket and every opinion made by those more in the know than myself.

For that reason, I didn't decide until primary election day for whom I would cast my vote. I respect both candidates, I see pros and cons with both. I guess my therapeutic mind seeks out the good in both and dwells on those characteristics. It was an agonizing decision that I will keep to myself.

Thank you all for the respect exuding from this forum. It's fabulous!

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are women more critical of other women?
That is truly the question here.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous: as if gender and infidelity were the only considerations! guess what? its about IDEAS. i dont like her ideas of where to take the nation. that little ditty about garnishing wages to compel enrollment in a national health care would be an excellent example of clinton's bad ideas.

suggesting this is women tearing down women is lame. seriously.

-she...not anonymous but not on my own computer

10:31 AM  
Blogger The Cookbook Junkie said...

First of all, I agree totally with the previous poster - women (and men) are more critical of women. Especially strong women which is what we need to lead our country.

Second of all, I wish I could express as eloquently as others have that I don't believe you should be judging Hillary on your assumptions of why she stayed in her marriage. Marriage means something different to everyone so it's best to just worry about your own relationships. I know not everyone would want my marriage but it works for me. (No, my husband hasn't cheated!)

Also, I'm reminded of a man I know of who was a lousy philandering husband - probably a bit of a sex addict. He also happens to be one of the best in his field - the field of saving lives. I don't mean that he is just good at what he does. He is a leader in research and treatment for a disease that is one of the leading causes of death. While his personal life might be messy, professionally I would want him on my team if I or a loved one was facing this disease.

I don't care so much if my leader can't keep it in his pants or if she doesn't care if her husband can't keep it in his pants. I want the economy fixed, I want our relationships with other countries fixed, etc. It's the media and the political parties that have to bring up all this other garbage - to serve their own agendas not to better our country.

11:48 AM  
Blogger LADY LUXIE said...

My country's president is a woman. I'm afraid that much of what you described about Mrs. Clinton alludes also to our lady president. This is the reason why we, the people of the Philippines, are in such deep quagmire...( I was going to use the s word but I am lady enough here not to he!he!)...today. Our politics is a boiling cauldron of intrigue and pesky situations..

I hope the people of America will choose well..The outcome of your elections affects us as well..

meanwhile..do you still have leftover chocolates??

2:56 AM  

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