I’m not much to talk politics on this blog, but I have to get this off my chest: John Edwards should not be running for president.
Not because he won’t win, even though I don’t think he will. And not because he doesn’t have great things to say, because he does.
Here’s the thing: His wife is sick. Very sick. She might be doing great now, feeling fine, tolerating the treatments for her breast cancer that has recurred and spread to her bones. That’s not going to last forever, though. Senator Edwards should be focused on spending time with his wife now, while she still feels so good. Hopefully she will continue to feel great for years. All the better. But no matter how long Mrs. Edwards should live and feel great, she should be the senator’s top priority right now.
There are those who will say that the campaign motivates the Edwards family, gives them something to focus on besides cancer. I get that. A cancer diagnosis—even a terminal one such as Mrs. Edwards’—is not a reason to stop life as normal. Given how John and I chose to live the cancer-ridden years of his life, I’d be the last person to tell anyone to stop going on with the stuff of life.
But the campaign trail is not normal, not to mention life as Commander in Chief. The stress! The pressure! It’s beyond the usual day-to-day. Should Senator Edwards win, forgive me, but I don’t want someone in office who is splitting his mental energy between his wife’s illness and running our country. And I want the kind of person in office who would choose to spend the bulk of his or her mental energy on his or her spouse in this situation.
We can’t predict the future. Any one of us could get killed in a car crash tomorrow. Mrs. Edwards could live long enough for the cure to cancer to finally be found. But precisely because we can’t predict the future, Senator Edwards should not have his hat in the ring. His wife’s illness is capital-s Serious, and his candidacy sends the message that it’s not. And to me, that’s just plain capital-w Wrong.
For what seems to me to be a fairly call-a-spade-a-spade look at the gravity of Mrs. Edwards’ condition, see this article from Time.