I'm going to do something unusual--nay, unprecedented--for me: I'm going to say something nice about a Republican. Well, pitying, anyway, and not in that oh-I'm-so-sorry-you're-so-vastly-inferior-to-me way, but truly, deeply full of fellow feeling.
I'm really sorry for Mark Sanford.
Now, mind you, I think the man is a raging fucktard, but not because he dumped his wife to get a Brazilian. (I know, she was Argentinian. Must we be so literal?) As a matter of fact, if anything in this idiot's Jesus-beseeching, stimulus-refusing, sex-negative-oh-my-god-so-negative-that-we-have-to-coin-a-whole-new-term-for-how-negative, bigoted-ass life could convince me that he was not a total waste of water and carbon atoms, it's that for one brief moment this beyond-dipshit actually experienced a moment of real human weakness and vulnerability with his Evita. Of course he will now proceed to shit on that by loudly and publicly putting it behind him and repenting of his wickedness. His estranged wife will swallow that bitter jagged pill and for the sake of the children/propriety/the state and the nation/whateverthefuck will accept him back over the marital threshhold. (I'm guessing--and only just guessing, because I have that kind of sick mind--that the marital bed hasn't been at issue for some time now.)
I'm sorry for Mark Sanford because I imagine that when he was crying for Argentina he was truly alive, perhaps for the first time in what seems--to me, and perhaps me alone--like a miserable dissembling inauthentic life. He described his relationship to this woman as "lightning," that "snuck up on" them. I'm sure that sensation scared the living fuck out of him. It is not a pleasant sensation; it's like that moment in the cartoon when Wile E. Coyote runs off the edge of the cliff. You have and can have no doubt that you're going down, that your life as you have known it is going to end painfully, but for the moment, you can see for miles. And now? Well, that desert floor is mighty hard, and mighty cold, and Argentina is a long way from South Carolina.
It's hard to tell from the emails, because let's just say that Mark Sanford is not doomed to be enrolled in the annals of the immortal poets of love, but I think based on those emails that there are two emotions that Sanford clearly felt, and perhaps even deeply, and perhaps for the first time in his well-planned life: exhilaration and terror. I will never know, but am, for the moment anyway, curious which scarred his soul most deeply.
But hey, if he plays his cards right--handles a few serpents, lets the tears of redemption leave runnels in the church-dust that's settled on his cheeks, holds on to his wife's hand so hard that she may need orthopedic surgery to repair the tiny little bones he's crushed, while she sits rigidly beside him, a look of I-am-eating-glass on her face--he can get back in the good graces of his constituents and the rest of the right wing windbags. Because, for all their talk about family values, they really don't give a shit about the sanctity of marriage, any more than they cared about Bill Clinton's infidelity or gay marriage; they care about the votes of the people who care about these things. If he does all the right wrong things, Mark Sanford can and will recapture those votes, and that's his life.
I am very very sorry for Mark Sanford.