Jim McGreevey must be relieved. Casting about for just the right talk show to unveil the story of his spiritual journey to the center of himself, he bypassed "The 700 Club" and went directly to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" without passing Go!, collecting $200, or stopping at the John Fenwick Service Area for a sexual tryst. Didn't even need a "Get Out of Jail Free" card to escape the tormented prison of his soul.
No, all the former New Jersey governor needed was a place to discuss his new book, The Confession. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that McGreevey chose the Queen of Harpo Productions "because of her sense of faith and spirituality..."
It's no surprise that after two failed marriages, years of clandestine homosexual romps unknown to unsuspecting second wife Dina, and two years removed from his "I am a gay American" resignation speech, McGreevey wants to worship at the Church of Oprah. They're a perfect match. He should expect nothing less than absolution and congratulations for finally discovering his true self and never having to change his ways after mouthing the words, "I'm sorry." That's what McGreevey was forced to do in August 2004 after Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen who served as the former governor's homeland security aide, threatened to sue him for sexual harassment.
"I am...here today because, shamefully, I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony," McGreevey said two years ago. "It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable. And for this, I ask the forgiveness and the grace of my wife."
Despite his stated contrition, the episode still didn't stop him from continuing to violate his bonds of matrimony. But that doesn't matter, because in the daytime television house of worship that sells books, McGreevey's rehabilitation is complete: He stays the same, cavorting with men, while simultaneously turning another former spouse into a single mother and two daughters into ones with a part-time daddy. I guess those casualties are a small price to pay for personal fulfillment and gratification.
"He's a totally different person," said New Jersey state senator Ray Lesniak, a McGreevey friend denying the obvious, in another AP story. "He is so much more comfortable with who he is; you can see it in his body language."
Shortly after his resignation announcement, according to the report, McGreevey had "lean(ed) on friends, family, and faith as he began a long and difficult process of reassembling his life as he wanted it to be." With the transition complete, "that life is quite full. His sprawling house is alive with pets and parties...typically showcasing a guest list that combines a mix of McGreevey's new gay friends, old political chums such as Lesniak, and the former governor's parents."
It makes sense. Who wouldn't want to replace a wife and child with menageries and menages? It's a rebuilt lifestyle tailor-made for an offering to Oprah, where the mottos "Use Your Life" and "Live Your Best Life" are trademarked and copyrighted.
The Confession covers McGreevey's life as a false heterosexual; his deception of two women to the point of conceiving children with them; his corrupt administration and political downfall; and his ultimate finding of himself in the embrace of an Australian financial advisor (his partner, Mark O'Donnell). It marks the image transformation of McGreevey from a man who ran around trying to hide promiscuous sexual activity into one who doesn't care any more who knows about it.
"They are two different people," Lesniak said of McGreevey as governor, compared to the new, transformed McGreevey. "The first person was very guarded and very concerned about how he was perceived. He was driven to achieve and was somewhat uncomfortable. The McGreevey I know now has accepted who he is and has shared that with the rest of the world. He is comfortable with himself and concerned about being authentic to himself and his beliefs."
So the exaltation of self-fulfillment reigns. Family concerns, job responsibilities, and sacrificial behavior be damned. All come and bow down at Oprah's altar and be affirmed in your indulgence.
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