Newt, Newt, Newt. Living in Charlotte, North Carolina on the border with the northern suburban areas of South Carolina, we were inundated with TV ads for the Republican primary last week. The whole ordeal was top of mind. It was unavoidable.
I will just say it. I do not like Newt Gingrich. I do not agree with the lion’s share of his political and philosophical stances. One would expect that. I am an unabashed liberal with some pragmatism sprinkled in here and there. My primary problem with Newt is that he is a narcissistic coward. He left not one but two marriages when the spouse got sick. If I had sons, this is the person I would point to for an example of how NOT to behave like a man.
He married Jackie, his high school geometry teacher, and left her during her cancer treatment. This divorce was to marry Marianne, a woman he with whom he was having an affair. He left his second wife Marianne not long after her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis to marry Callista, his staffer with whom he had been having a lengthy affair. I hope for Callista’s sake that she got her flu shot because Newt now has a whole national organization of eager campaign staffers from which to choose a new Mrs. Gingrich.
I understand that I am overly sensitive to the topic of a spouse leaving behind a spouse with MS because life with it is a hard row to hoe. I can honestly say that I understand how it could happen. Chronic disease and the havoc it can wreak on the intricacies of a marriage are not always apparent to outside observers. I am profoundly lucky, and every day I am grateful for the fact that my very exceptional husband did not bolt the afternoon we found out that I have MS. I am fortunate for every day since then. He has stayed. We have gotten through this together, not as a couple battling a horrid disease, but simply as a family living within the new normal that the universe has dealt us.
But, as Newt has demonstrated by speech and action, he is different. He cannot be content with the normal, especially if it involves hard work for the benefit of someone other than himself and work that is not part of making him look like the smartest guy in the room. A sick wife would flaw that perfect picture he seems to have in his head of his Destiny. He is not like the rest of us. He is above it all. The rules he tells us that the rest of us should follow pertaining to marriage, family, and fidelity do not apply to him.
All the while Newt presumes to pronounce to others that marriage is only for straight people because he knows all about the sanctity of the union. After all, he has done it over and over again, at least until things became inconvenient and it looked like marriage might involve some selfless work on his part.