Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Huma Abedin is not Anthony Weiner

There is a part of the American feminist movement that drives me nuts.  It's the part where all women who call themselves feminists have to be smart and sassy and so damned tough any public sign of vulnerability or weakness, particularly where men are involved, is reason enough to drum them out of the corps.

The unwritten compact says women warriors do not stand by any man who shows himself to be a shit.  I would submit that that description applies to every man.  It also applies to every woman.  We've all been total crapheads many times over the course of our lives.  We're all imperfect in ways the rest of the animal world can't even imagine.  The rest of the animal world goes on the attack mainly because the victim looks tasty and they're hungry.  We, on the other hand, have devised a million different ways to make our victims feel bad about themselves before we chew them up and spit them out.

So, about Huma Abedin. For reasons many of us may not be able to fathom, she has chosen, at least for now, to stay with and profess love for Anthony Weiner.   She has a child with Weiner.  They have a marriage.  Weiner is running for mayor of New York City.  In a press conference that most of us will agree went terribly, terribly wrong, Abedin took to the podium and tried to ease the city's fears about Weiner's abilities to do the job. She said she forgives him, she loves him and she believes in him. 

She might as well have built her own bonfire, doused herself with gasoline, stood in the middle of the pile and struck the match.  She is toast.

Because, Huma Abedin, you see, is no ordinary wifey.  She is smart and sassy and strong.  She knows Hillary Clinton so well there are hints that Huma went to Hillary, a victim of her own husband's maddeningly public sexual exploits, for counsel when the story broke about Anthony's underwear undoing.  And because she knows and has worked closely with Hillary, she is. . .what's the word?


So there has to be more to her devotion to her husband than she's telling.  She wants to live in Gracie Mansion. She loves living in the public eye and has her sights on her own political career. She, beautiful, gracious Huma Abedin, couldn't possibly love a man like Anthony Weiner.

Sound familiar?  Yes, they're the same arguments we heard so many years ago about her friend and mentor, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The same Hillary Clinton who shares a successful and seemingly happy life with the man who, by all accounts, including hers, put her through hell.  Somehow, Hillary and Bill have learned to live with the constant reminders of that trumped-up impeachment trial over Bill's embarrassing sexual hijinks in the Oval Office, reported down to the last icky detail.  

Hillary Clinton stood by her man but still became her own woman, going on to become a U.S senator. a formidable presidential candidate, and, by all accounts, an effective Secretary of State.  Still, she speaks highly of her husband.  She stands with him when she stands beside him.  I have no doubt that Hillary loves Bill and that Bill loves her back.

I don't know what will happen with Huma and Anthony, but I do know this:  Whatever happens has to happen between them.  Huma didn't open the floodgates into a deep and thorough analysis of their personal lives by announcing that she believes him, she loves him and she believes in him.  The press did.

This from Sally Quinn in the Washington Post:
Up until Weiner’s cringeworthy news conference Tuesday, I had felt sorry for his wife, Huma Abedin, even though I couldn’t understand how she was able to condone his online antics in the first place. I have nothing against Abedin. I like her: She is a lovely, gracious, intelligent woman. I ache for her need to come to the rescue of this man who has betrayed her so often and will likely do it again. I ache for all women who find themselves in this position. And yet, there she stood in front of the cameras, this modern American career woman, by her man, saying she had forgiven him, loved him and believed in him. Just what exactly does she believe in? The only thing she can believe in for sure is that he will continue his infidelity.
Though her friends say she is strong and resolute and defiant, sadly she makes all women look like weak and helpless victims. She was not standing there in a position of strength. It was such a setback for women everywhere
From Lisa Bloom over at CNN:
Isn't it time to call the spectacle of the suffering political wife, standing by her man in the media glare as he admits to his latest sexual offense against her, what it really is: spousal abuse?
Huma Abedin has the right to make any decisions she wants about her life, just as a victim of domestic abuse has the right to return for more -- but we don't have to stand silently by and condone it.
And this incredible bit of reasoning from Maureen Dowd:
WHEN you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.
Those few words she spoke publicly didn't give any of us permission to judge her or to give her advice about her personal life.  I don't live in New York City and have no stake in this race.  Turns out there are about 305 million of us who don't live in New York City.  So why is the marriage of Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin so important to so many people?  For days now that's all we've heard--and it's more about Huma than it is about Anthony. At some point we have to ask ourselves why we care so much. 

Why do this to Huma?  What buttons is she pushing that causes this much anger at her?  She is not her husband.  She is her husband's helpmate, but beyond that she is a smart, sassy woman tough enough to withstand the expected onslaught she knew would come when she stood by him.  I have nothing but admiration for her.  That took guts.