I was driving somewhere in the Valley when I saw a billboard with John Edward’s face on it. You know, John Edward. That psychic that had that television show sometime over the last decade. He would assemble people in a room and start calling out random numbers and letters until a person in the crowd made sense of his ramblings.
I can’t remember what happened to him. I think he was dogged by some scandal. Something about his ability. I think it started with the letter B and ended in shit. Or maybe it’s real. What do I know? I’m an agnostic that is afraid of ghosts.
That billboard was long behind me, but his name kept swirling in my head, John, Edward, John Edward, until I landed on the spirit of the Democratic Party’s past: John Edwards.
He came back to me like an old nursery rhyme. His father worked at a mill, he put himself through law school, his hair was impeccable, he was John Kerry’s running mate, and then he ran for president. He stood out between Clinton and Obama as the only candidate to really talk about the struggle of the working poor and explain, in simple terms, the solution for helping them thrive.
But everything went to crap. He was dogged by some scandal. Something about his personal life. I think it started with the letter D and ended with a baby out of wedlock with a woman that was on payroll, while his wife was dying of cancer. Or maybe that’s normal. What do I know? I’m a lesbian that has never been with a man with hair so irresistible.
Similar to the way the Republican party erased the entire presidency (and failed economic policy) of George W. Bush, the Democratic party expunged Edwards from existence, along with his legitimate platform on combating poverty.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone else that came after him repeated his words. But he was the only one among them who lived it. He was as authentic as his sex scandal, and as vain as he was magnanimous. His southern drawl was ever-present. It didn’t disappear at fundraisers on the west coast and re-emerge stronger during rallies in red states. He was him, flaws and all. I understand that things were different back then. The country was exhausted of hearing gross stories about powerful men and their weak penises. That’s why the people elected two wife-loving, monoga-men to the white house back-to-back.
But those days of oppression are over.
As a society, we put a middle finger in the air to all that evangelical pretentiousness and silly talk about family values and elected a thrice-married sexual assaulter who is very (small) handsy with one of his daughters. The prettier one, of course.
So this means that we can bring back John Edwards. After years of quietly helping poor people from his tiny law firm in small-town North Carolina, it’s time to dust off his gorgeous hair and set him loose.
Let the conversation return to what it’s like to live paycheck-to-paycheck or to have to send your children to terrible schools because you can’t afford the rent in the better districts or to be unemployed because you have to check a box that says you have been convicted, regardless if you paid your debt to society.
And let that conversation be led by the guy with the s at the end of his name and two crystal balls.