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.
Hogwash, hooey, and bullshit. 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.


  1. The whole lot can go to hell, for all I care. I am so over partisan politics and the soap operas that swirl around them.
    I stopped obsessing over US partisan politics, a shell game, and went out and got a really fun hobby. (Ask me, it's amazing...!) I come back to these sites from time to time, but I don't spend all my free time reading this junk. And, I must say, I'm much happier.
    Once you pull yourself from the muck of these R-vs-D websites you realize how miserable you were spending so much of your valuable time on useless, meaningless politics.

  2. I do not see how Huma will be able to keep her security clearance at the State department when her immature husband can not be trusted with a simple cell phone as he sends out invites to blackmail himself and his wife.

    Should we risk having major international peace talks fail because Mr Weiner has been sending dick pics to some leaders daughter?

    They are free to live as they wish but, if they want to represent the American public they should be held to a higher standard, the choice is hers.

  3. You know, I get the same crap from friends and family because I'm still best friends with my ex wife. "But she dumped you! She cheated on you! She ruined your life!" etc. etc.
    Isn't that for ME to decide? She was my best friend before we married, while we were married, and she's my best friend today.
    We're mature enough (Now, before the falling apart of the marriage it's open for discussion) to let bygones be bygones, apologize and make amends for hurts inflicted unintentionally, and move forward, thereby showing our children how conflicts are supposed to be handled.
    We're still so close that her husband is my best male friend. We spend large amounts of time together as a family, and they have asked me to move in with them, in my own on property apartment, so the kids don't have to run back and forth.
    Huma has made her choice, and we're not privy to what goes on in their home. And it's none of our business.
    Personally, I think Weiner tried to come back too soon, and he clearly has sexual issues. As for the attacks on Huma, I chalk it up to immaturity and the belief some of these pundits hahve that ANY Dem who puts a foot wrong must be punished out of proportion to their mistakes.

  4. Good point, Six. I hadn't thought of that aspect. I saw that she's taken a leave of absence, so it could be the Hillary camp is worried about that, too.

  5. Lol, yet here you are, Jose, right in the middle of it on my page! I get sick of politics sometimes, too, and threaten to go away, but then something happens that pulls me right back. I do get angry but I can't say I'm miserable. I've been a political junkie all my life and I write about it in this little corner of my world. Thankfully, we haven't come to it yet where people are forced to hang around and read anything they don't want to.

    I think we do make a difference when we discuss these things and then take action, either by writing about them or boycotting or marching or whatever. But you're right, if it's making you miserable, you should find another hobby.

  6. What a wonderful story and how lucky your kids are to have parents like you, your ex and her new husband. That's a much more mature way of handling a break-up than most people do--with the fur flying.

    I'm really rather shocked at the Huma backlash. And proud of her, too, for coming forward knowing what was going to be thrown at her when she did. She is truly her own woman. (I don't see the ambition here, as some people do. I doubt she really believes her husband can win, and I don't know that she has political aspirations of her own. If she does she's not announcing it anywhere.)

  7. Absolutely! Anyone who represents the American public should be held to the high standards set by such stalwarts as Louisiana senator David Vitter and South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford.

  8. I don't know a darn thing about anyone else's relationship. It turns out that i haven't even known that much about my own past relationships while I was in them.

    I can't pretend to understand what keeps people together.

    In the case of both Weiner and Clinton, I think I'd be upset with my spouse. I mean, even if we had an agreement that I'd look the other way in our private life, the public scrutiny would be tough to take.

    Everything I know about Abedin indicates she's a smart woman. I'm sure she has reasons for sticking with Weiner.

  9. Thanks for that bit of sage wisdom, Ramona... *rolls eyes* You are a partisan hack, and you need to grow out of that. Partisan US politics is going the way of the Dodo bird and coin-operated pay phones, yet you're too wrapped up in your silly little partisan bitch-fest it to notice. Give it a few more years...

    R-vs-D, D-vs-R, it's so lame and played out.
    And, yes, Ramona, I clicked on your lame story about Weiner's sick, enabling wife. *YAWN* If it's so damn big, why haven't they shown it yet? :-)

    You seem to have taken my little rant personally. Why is that? Is it because you know there's a ton of truth in it? That maybe, just maybe, you've been dumping huge amounts of your energy into a fool's project?

  10. Jeez, Jose. I thought you were sick of this stuff. Why are you still here? You should take your own advice and find something else to do. It'll keep your blood pressure down.

    (P.S. Get over yourself, honey. I don't take rants personally.)

  11. Thanks for checking in, Katy. Relationships are mighty strange things. Only the two people involved can understand the dynamics and they shouldn't feel any need to share the reasons why with anyone else. Even or maybe especially if they're in the public eye.

  12. Thanks so much for writing this; I long ago steered clear of the ideologues who would prescribe women's lives as narrowly as the male chauvinists prOscribed women's lives. I caught hell from that crowd when I married...and I was a 'nobody' and over the years of a marriage marred by PTSD, I was criticized by feminist friends for staying in the relationship.

    So, yes, I get pretty damned sick of ANY woman telling any other woman how to manage her relationship with anyone else!

  13. Labrys, forgive me for not answering this earlier. I landed in the hospital and just got out a couple of days ago. (No long term effects, just some screwy bacterium deciding to claim squatter's rights in my innards.)

    Sounds like you're pretty tough, yourself. Good for you for doing what you thought was right. To hell with those who think they know but don't. Bravo.

  14. First, let me say that this was a really well-written blog. You dropped several exquisite truth-bombs and made this a delight to read.

    Second, I seriously don't give two shits about this story because, like you, I'm not a New Yorker. These people affect my life in no way except for entertainment, and that's only when watching The Daily Show. Otherwise, I wouldn't know much about it.

    But most importantly, I am applying an important lesson I learned from watching a friend go through being tried (and found not guilty) for murder. She was crucified by the press and, when her trial aired on CNN's In Session, she was subjected to this kind of voyeuristic speculation from armchair jurists. People who had no idea what actually happened, aside from what they saw on reality TV, were ready to send her to the electric chair. (She and I co-authored a book, http://www.fearofourfather.com, about her story.)

    None of us, outside of the Weiner/Abedin inner circle, has a clue what's really going on. To pretend otherwise is to do a disservice to a fellow Human--or, in this case, Huma.


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