Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Could Silda Stand By Her Man?

Silda Spitzer

Silda Wall Spitzer, the troubled wife of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, stood queitly at his side on Monday afternoon as her sex-trading husband apologized publically for his unethical escapades.

How could she do it? Why would she? Why reprise the role of standing-by-her-man at a time when many felt the man in question was hardly deserving? Haven't we all been through this too many times before?

The Los Angeles Times tackles the issue:

It was the way she stood there, enduring.

Silda Wall Spitzer did not say a word as her husband, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, brusquely apologized to his family and the public after he was allegedly caught on a wiretap doing business with a high-priced prostitution ring. Her face was drawn. But she took her husband's hand as they left the room.

This scandal has many salacious details, but it was the image of Silda Wall Spitzer at her man's side that dominated conversations across the country Tuesday.

That moment of public humiliation stayed with people -- men and women, Democrats and Republicans. At a beauty salon in Brooklyn Heights, at the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in midtown Atlanta, at a Denver office building, at a bar in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the same questions came up:

How could she?

Why did she?

Haven't we seen this play one too many times?

Why do we go through this ritual of public shame and repentance, with the political wife standing mutely before the TV cameras as her husband admits his sexual indiscretion?

"I find it nauseating . . . phony and awful," said Leah Schanzer, 38, a doctoral student who stopped for coffee at a Starbucks in New York City. She gave an exaggerated shudder.

"It makes it seem like she's Susie Homemaker," said her friend Leslie Heller, 47. "She shouldn't be standing there, next to him"....

Newspaper websites have been swamped with thousands of comments on the case; gleeful barbs are being tossed around the blogosphere.

But to many -- especially women -- the tawdry details added up to more than another generic scandal. When they looked at Silda Wall Spitzer's weary face, it felt personal.

"She should've said, 'This is your fight. This is your battle. You stand there and get yourself out of it,' " said Linda Walters, 61.

I have to admit, when I saw Silda Spitzer up there I had mixed feelings. Indeed, I did see her stance as signifying the loyal and forgiving wife, ready to move forward as a couple, perhaps even sacrificing her own dignity for her husband's.

But I also thought of her is a beautiful, apparently capable woman, of whom Spitzer's lucky to be with. The governor had it all: A fabulous wife, three loving daughters, a powerful political position, and a future.

Why blow that? What could be worth throwing it all away, especially in the ultimate, even evil, hypocrisy of the sex-trading sin.

It's hard to understand, but obviously stories like this are the most fascinating: They combine sex, power, and plain old hurt. Unfortunately, much of the pain is on display in the visage of Silda Wall Spitzer.

See also:

* The Public Ordeal of a Private Person.

* Spitzer Aides Say Governor Will Resign Today.

* Silda Spitzer, the Wife Who Gave Up Career to Back Politics and Ambition.

* Spitzer's Wife Kinda Hot When Not Weeping or Whatever.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times