Me, gossip about governor? Why, never

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

We love a scandal, don’t we? Give us a real-life soap opera and it keeps everyone entertained for days.

There will be gossip. There will be exaggerations blended with truth. There will be anger, laughter and embarrassment. It’s an emotional joyride.

For the past few days, Alabama’s been on that ride thanks to a ticket provided by Gov. Robert Bentley. Of course, the carnival started going up months ago when the news of his divorce after 50 years of marriage hit the airwaves.

For a while, there was only speculation and denial, which didn’t leave much fuel for the gossip fire. Yes, there were whisperings about “another woman” his senior political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. However, most people thought that unlikely since first, the governor is an “elder” statesman and second, he’s stated publicly that family values are an important part of his life.

All of the talk kind of died in the wake of watching the clown-car event that is our presidential election process this year. Then unexpectedly the Alabama carnival opened its gates and the entire country got a ticket to ride, thanks to some recordings that became public.

In said tapes, we hear talk of ear kissing, breast grabbing, door locking and lots of I love you’s. It was soap opera/carnival ride/three-ring media circus at its best.

Wow, for a while we even stopped paying attention to who was getting beat up at the latest Donald Trump rally. I mean we have recordings — our governor’s voice saying sexy stuff and giggling like a schoolboy. It kept folks glued to the television and surfing the web for the latest audio release.

Then in the middle of the craziness, the “other woman,” the one whose boobies got grabbed but, as the governor explained, was not in a physical relationship with him (breast touching is not physical, it’s just fooling around behind locked doors) spoke up. Oh and her husband jumped in too, defending his wife‘s honor. (Guess ear kissing and touching her boobs don’t bug him).

Told you it was a soap opera.

Seems the good friend/mistress/political advisor thinks this is happening to her because she is a woman. (Well, men don’t have boobies to grab so …) She said if she was a man folks would not be saying the stuff they are saying.

I sorta think if she had not been getting her ears nibbled by the governor, apparently with her full cooperation if not enjoyment, nobody would be saying a word about her. So, I don’t think playing the feminism card is going to work. Of course, I’m only a soap opera watcher so what do I know about such things.

Well, I know there are serious questions about how much political influence Mrs. Mason has because her “relationship” with Governor Bentley. And there is growing interest in how and by whom she is paid. There is also talk about whether or not her husband (who from what I read is a good guy) may be benefiting financially from his wife’s “position” with governor. (Might explain why locked doors don’t bother him).

Yep, we do love a juicy scandal, but there is a problem with this scandal that makes it more than harmless fodder for endless gossip. This carnival involves the person charged with leading our state. And the attention it brings to Alabama is not the kind we need.

This is the man who ran for office on the importance of restoring family values to our state and to our nation. He’s the one who condemned anyone who strayed outside his notion of family values. That, for me, raises questions about how credible and effective he will be for the remainder of his term.

Finally, there are the innocent ones caught up in the dirty whirlwind kicked up by a scandal like this one — the governor’s former wife, his children and grandchildren.

When I think about them — well maybe this soap-opera-like scandal is not a joyride after all.



Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.