Edwards: concerned or crass


Maybe it’s because of my distrust of lawyers–and trial lawyers that make millions off suing honest businesses then collecting outrageous fees are at the bottom of that smelly heap. Maybe it’s because I’ve known enough women with breast cancer that I know how personal and private almost all of them see their suffering. But I can’t help feel that Edwards press conference was nothing but a crass, unfeeling attempt to exploit his wife’s suffering for his own political career. I could be completely wrong, and I know most on the right, that I’m aware of, would disagree with me. Nonetheless it makes me wonder.

Why a press conference? What purpose did it serve to hold a press conference in the way they did? Wouldn’t a simple statement through a spokesman do?

Why the dramatic lead up to the press conference? Edwards is savvy enough to know that the nation would be abuzz with conjecture about what the press conference would reveal. And sure enough, from reliable enough sources that many reported that Edwards was dropping out of the race, that very, false information was spread. A lot of bloggers as well as media people were caught off guard as sources they assumed were rock solid, fed them baloney. Since press conferences nowadays are almost always leaked in their entirety before hand–so reporters have ample time to get their stories out–this one seems unusually orchestrated.

Another thing I notice is that while I know of lots and lots of people who’ve suffered from cancer as well as other serious conditions, never actually taking the effort to reach out and help others, I know of other who do, but I also am aware of a third category that uses their plight and an excuse for furthering their own self-interests, and will be quick to scream foul when anyone accuses them of it. Having worked at creating solutions for people who suffer from the same, rare, congenital condition my children have, it’s frustrating to see people or groups slurp up resources while providing no real benefit to others. For years the main group referenced as providing help and resources for the condition my children have, supplied nothing more (that I could ever find) than one article on their web site, yet they were credited as THE place to find information. years and lots of hard work later other groups and web sites have now emerged to provide real solutions and help.

I say that, to say this…looking through the lists of "efforts" Elizabeth Edwards is credited with I see the kind of self-serving "poor me" articles, books and such that flood bookstores and internet sites and seem to be copies of each other. I did research a few years back on the emotional impact of breast cancer and after a lengthy search for an online journal from someone with breast cancer that would tell more of what they experienced (something of great value to anyone finding themselves diagnosed with it) I found one. That’s right, just one. There were a few more for people with other forms of cancer, and lots of short little one or two paragraph blips, but only one real, journal-like site of a breast cancer survivor. I can’t blame those with cancer for not wanting to do it, they’re suffering and it takes a very strong and courageous person to go beyond the battle they’re already overcome with to write a daily or even weekly account of their struggles and to make that public. I applaud those that do. But I have to stop and wonder about those that will only write about it if people will go and buy the book, especially when they’re already making more money each year than many Americans would see in their entire lifetime.

Go ahead, call me a big meany, but having seen the problem created by those who claim they do but don’t, I get really frustrated with people who are given a hero status and book royalties when hundreds of thousands more do the same thing in quiet grace, not to mention, often poverty.

Y’know what would prove me wrong? If Elizabeth Edwards agreed to release her book, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, online for free to encourage others. It’s not that the Edwardses need money. So why make people pay $24.95 to be encouraged? 

From the reports I’m reading the doctors have said Elizabeth Edwards cancer has metastasized, but (I’m going off sketchy reports here) is maintainable. I really hope it is, but from everything I’ve ever heard or read about cancer, the dreaded "m" word is the one cancer survivors fear most. 

Meanwhile last week I heard from a friend who is raising her granddaughter (who suffers from the same rare congenital condition as two of my kids) because her daughter passed away from cancer when her granddaughter was a baby. She a sweet, caring lady who’s always been quick to reach out to help others in need. She informed us that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer and had already had the surgery and was now on chemo. She hadn’t wanted to "bother" us with it until she felt the prayers would help while she manages the chemo and a raising a five-year-old granddaughter with a serious medical condition. 

She didn’t want to bother us.

Meanwhile John Edwards parades his wife before the nation in a carefully orchestrated press conference to assure us that in spite her condition, he wouldn’t dare deprive us of having a clueless, filthy-rich, metrosexual trial-lawyer on the Democrat primary ballot.

Am I being too cynical? Or am I just responding to a contrast that would demand no other conclusion?

Danny Carlton blogs at JackLewis.net

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