I'm not one to get on my soapbox (usually) and most of the time I strive to be diplomatic. I pay attention to politics, but I don't align myself with the left or the right. My typical MO is to listen to what people have to say, try to keep an open mind and go with my gut. So this post is not about politics. It's about the freedom to say what we need to say.
The recent backlash against Elizabeth Edwards has really got me thinking. There's all this controversy surrounding her book. The critics are saying, "Why air your dirty laundry? Your husband's political career is already ruined. Why now? You have terminal cancer. Why spend your time doing interviews with Oprah and Matt Lauer?"
As Americans, we have the right to express our opinions. We have the right to disagree. But I'm concerned about the message this particular story is sending. To me it smacks a bit of oppression. It reminds me of a time when women were expected to keep everything "looking right" even when behind the scenes, things were far from perfect. That way of thinking still causes some women to struggle today-- they believe they are expected to look as if they have it all together, for fear of backlash and ridicule if they are "found out."
In Elizabeth Edwards' interview with Matt Lauer, she explained she doesn't know when she will die. She has small children and she wants them to know her story. She knows there are other women who are living with cancer. She knows she's not the only woman who's ever been betrayed. She wants to share that bad things happen. Even to her. And when bad things happen to any of us, we can get through it. She feels she has an important message to share, and she's saying what she needs to say.
Some will continue to question her motives. I choose to take her words at face value.
Critics will always try to stifle our voice. They will shout from the rooftops. But just because they are shouting louder doesn't mean they know what's best for us.
We all have stories to tell. So today, search your heart. Examine your motives. And to quote John Mayer, "Say what you need to say."