Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Love Has No History

Snickering about Gov. Mark Sanford has come to an uneasy end in political Washington. His was an affair that involved passion and love. The Argentine Maria, a 40-something mother of two, was his “soulmate” and “love of his life.” Wow. This was not the usual tawdry encounter for sex and power.

Instead, it echoed some of the Washington’s more discreet and famous love stories: Wendell Willike and Irita Van Doren; Franklin Roosevelt and Lucy Page Mercer (pictured); Robert McNamara and Joan Braden. These lifetime affairs were romantic and special—and kept quiet.

At Washington gatherings I sense a jealousy of sorts for Gov. Sanford’s passionate declarations and desires. Many, especially women, are awed by his ardor. There is disbelief at its possibility. Women like Maria were supposed to be of literature and legend. His affair is old-fashioned, quaint, and heartfelt.

The usual affairs here appear to be either for lust or power. And too many Washington women have compromised themselves by sleeping their way to the middle. I dare not name names, but they do not seem any more successful or happy than those of us who did not pursue this course of advancement.

I am sure many an ordinary DC soccer mom like myself caught her breath when she read Sanford's purloined email that gushed "You are glorious and I hope you really understand that . . . you are special and unique and fabulous." No one ever has or ever will write those words to us.

And thus we found ourselves confronting reality by wiping back a tear when our tween daughter’s Taylor Swift Fearless CD came to That’s the Way I Loved You.

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