Elizabeth Edwards should embrace Rielle Hunter’s daughter, for her children’s sake. Yes, that’s a huge thing to ask of a woman who has already endured so much. I have a great deal of sympathy for her, even if she is the rhymes-with-witch she’s made out to be in a recent New York magazine profile.
But here’s the reality: Her husband is a skunk, a weasel, who has had a child with someone else. Still, the child did nothing to deserve being the object of scorn or derision. She deserves to be close to her siblings.
She also deserves to have her father in her life. As Washington Post columnist Colbert King pointed out in a recent column, the pronouncements about responsible fatherhood don’t just apply to teenagers and ghetto dwellers.
In a speech at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago on Father’s Day in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama told the congregation: “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we . . . recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.”
Obama didn’t mince words. “If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”
He continued: “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.”
On that Father’s Day, Obama was in a black church talking to men in the African American community.
But it also applies to John Edwards. (And, as King noted, OMB director Peter Orszag.)