Friday, April 4, 2008

Silda Spitzer

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press. You've heard my husband, Gov. Spitzer, express his regret over this matter. You've seen me stand by him, literally and presumably symbolically. But I do not feel that it is my silent presence only that is appropriate, so I'm taking this time to express a few ideas.

My husband has disgraced himself, shamed his family, and betrayed me. He has violated his marriage vows, not to mention the laws of the state over which he acted as chief executive, the highest law enforcement office in the state. He has extravagantly and infamously squandered his family's financial resources on prostitutes -- money that could have served the interests of his children. Let no one here presume to think that he is forgiven, that my presence by his side is an indication that he is not accountable or that his marriage is not in the gravest peril. His career as governor of New York is over. The future of his marriage is in my hands, as it has been in his. He obviously did not value it. I do.

I am the betrayed spouse. My husband clearly finds whores more attractive than me. Perhaps some of you women can understand how demeaning this is. Perhaps some of you men can empathize. I gave up a promising law career to devote myself to this man, and he has repaid my sacrifice by sneaking around like a coward and sniffing like a dog up to sluts -- engaging in the pathetic subterfuge of which we all have become aware. Oh no, he has not heard the last of this. He is not forgiven. As to whether or not he will be, that isn't the question. Yes, I will forgive him. The question is, will I chose to remain married to him. Some of you will recall that infidelity is grounds for divorce. And some of you will think that my standing here while he resigned in disgrace is an indication that I will continue to be the victim of his faithlessness.

You see, it is complicated. I have loved this man. I bore his children, I supported and consoled and encouraged him, I was his lover and his wife and his friend, and this was not enough for him. Whose failing is that? Mine? Yours?

Do not mistake my self-control for indifference. Do not think my relative calm means there will be no change. My husband has called ruin down upon his head. How much ruin remains to be seen. Only his actual repentance, if I may use the word, can possibly save him from complete ruin.

You see, I still love this man. I love him through the pain he has caused me and his children. He has proven to be a poor husband. I hadn't known that until recently. I know him to be a good father. Because of my love, and his love for his children, and his possible love for me, I am standing here by his side today.

But I could not stand in ashen-faced silence, one of a long series of betrayed political wives who for reasons of devotion or expedience share their disgraced husband's perp walk. I do not know what lies in store for my husband or this marriage. I do know that I will not accept any further betrayal. My husband has assured me of his regret. So there's that, his words. What he does in the future will reveal his true intentions. I'm willing to give him this chance. Love is like that -- it extracts a price, and then another.

I've spoken about myself, here, and about my husband, on terribly personal matters. The nature of these circumstances has made public what should be private. But my purpose hasn't been just to explain myself and express my pain. My real purpose is this: I urge both partners in a marriage to honor their spouse, with patience and faithfulness, with love and tenderness. If you have cheated, consider my pain, and the shame of my husband, and stop cheating. You did not marry your wife that you should betray her when you felt like it. And if you have been betrayed, I urge that you require honesty, and when it comes, forgive, and if it doesn't come, understand that your relationship is over, and no amount of fearful tears are sufficient to indicate true sorrow. Only change proves repentance.

That's all I wanted to say. If I had stayed silent by this man's side, no lesson would have been conveyed. Now you know. It's so easy to look at the faces in the news and project anything your imagination creates onto them. But I am a real person, with real feelings. My husband forgot that, for a time. Now everyone is reminded of it. We all want respect. We don't deserve it until we give it to those who have earned it.

Thank you. I will not be taking questions.


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