John Edwards might go to jail for using campaign money to support his mistress and extramarital daughter and while it’s common to see a less than thrilled wife at the podium during press conferences, Edwards’ wife Elizabeth has of course passed. In her place is another woman willing to accompany him to court and be a source of support: his 29-year-old daughter Cate.
The eldest of Edwards’ kids, Cate is an attorney like her father and will apparently be providing legal counsel as well as “emotional support” according to TIME. What’s most interesting about Cate publicly coming to her father’s side in times of crisis is that she essentially fulfilling a role that is always performed by the wife. Yet by appearing with her father in court and standing beside him at press events, it’s looking like Cate will suddenly have a shared experience with Hillary Clinton and Silda Spitzer. Being the woman who stands behind the man flogged by the press for infidelity is regarded as a trying experience, and most likely an emotionally searing one.
Cate’s decision to participate so publicly speaks to a higher meditation on the roles of women in families. Once the eldest kid in the Edwards trio, Cate will now be assuming a crucial position in her father successfully weathering these charges. And while it’s definitely worth admiring a daughter willing to help shoulder these kinds of accusations, a part of me wonders why it’s always women who get nominated for the role.