Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is beginning his criminal trial on felony and misdemeanor counts dating back to his failed campaign. One of the key allegations against Edwards is that he received $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to conceal his pregnant mistress. Edwards says he wasn't in the right, but he wasn't breaking the law either. In response to this fiasco, world affairs columnist Frida Ghitis has just one question.
Male readers were outraged.
Fangle620: "Yes, because no powerful women in history have ever had an affair. Not like certain powerful British (female) monarchs ever built their power on affairs. I'm a historian, I would know. This obviously has way too much bias, poor research, and too much hatred for men. Get a grip."
BlameMe: "Both men and women can be stupid when it comes to love, lust and passion. This is not by any means gender-based."
ozfozzy: "Men aren't stupid for fulfilling their biological purpose in life. The author is stupid for failing to understand men."
To be fair, some women joined in the cause.
fin59: "First, I am a woman. So to Frida, get your head out of the sand! Women have dalliances as well. Maybe we are better at it but we do it just the same. This 'crime,' if you want to call it that, has the same risk as many other crimes humans commit. Why do women shoplift? Is it arrogance? Not that simple. The behavior is inexcusable, but these men are just as human as every one of us. Get over yourself!"
dabble53: "Have to agree. At least 90% of the time, if the man is having an affair, there's a woman equally involved. (The other – up to 10% estimates – it's another man, but in any case, it takes two [or more] to have an affair.)"
OK, so maybe men are stupid, says this reader.
Bonvivant251: "Men probably are pretty stupid for the following reasons:
(a) We stick around with thankless women who we marry for some reason because we have a sense of obligation to them; (b) We go to war to protect our country and die in far greater numbers than women to protect them based upon our principle that it is the right thing to do. (c) We establish a legal system that rewards women for getting divorced while penalizing men. (d) We keep working while women take the easy way out and become stay-at-home moms - an option not available to most men - even today. (e) We continue to allow women to make all the choices regarding whether to have a child, whether to abort a child, and how that child is to be raised, while we pay more than half of the freight to bring that child up. (e) We tolerate the kind of hatred and bias espoused by this author with a shrug while armies of angry women ride us down for being stupid and, at the same time, nearly all major inventions, technological breakthroughs and advancement in civilization generally has come at the hands of men. So ... 'Are men stupid?' The answer is 'yeah, maybe we are' ... but we are also practical and we can wise up really quickly."
The responses to this comment hinted at something many readers said: Men are at a disadvantage when it comes to disputes related to family and marriage. And there were also women who expressed support for men.
sameeker: "This post is very well stated. women are pretty smart given the way that they have played the divorce system."
EaglesQuestions: "As a woman, I honestly do not think that men are stupid. People have too little respect for one another these days, and this author had no business posting such a thing."
Some debate took place about women's interest in sexual interactions.
Capitalism9: "When you are hungry, you seek food. When you are thirsty, you seek water. I have always chuckled how feminists think that they can just show up to marriage, and that's all they have to do. No sex, no conversation, no ability to take an interest in what your partner likes in life. I once met a woman who declared that she will be married by 30, but had no interest in sex, conversation, or any of her possible future husband's dealings in life. Needless to say men ignore her like the plague. Remember ladies, if you don't get the job done in the bedroom, best believe somebody else in your gender will. You are not a special little flower who can just claim that she is a woman and not put forth any effort in the marriage. You are replaceable. Show me a happily married man, and I'll show you one who has a wife who enjoys engaging in coital activity with no chip on her shoulder. It's this exact reason why prostitution is illegal, because women don't want the competition."
XXxxMacleodxxXX: "My wife goes full beast mode ... I'm usually left limping but with a smile on my face ... we have been together since we were 14 and am about to turn 30 in a couple of months ... she is still my best friend and the person I aspire to be like and to please."
How have women contributed to society?
Tamarlyn: "Since men are the ones who do almost everything of note in society, naturally they will be the ones who do the greatest evil. Women long ago discovered that the only way to do no wrong is to do nothing at all, and they do it very well!"
lilfro22: "I didn't realize bringing new life into the world and nurturing it was not 'of note.' It seems the species would cease to exist without women. How silly your priorities are."
thegentleman: "I wouldn't say women do 'nothing at all' but it's true that whoever is in the driver's seat has more opportunity to succeed as well as fail. But never fear, women are getting their chance to screw up as spectacularly as men."
In talking about Edwards and his trial, a lot of readers put the blame for such behavior on our current political climate.
Have we created our own problem?
Kusemono: "Secondary blame for fiascos like this lay squarely with us, the electorate. We have a very strong part in creating a political class that, quite understandably, begins to believe its campaign slogans and rhetoric. Party affiliation is irrelevant. We have created professional politicians for whom image and reality become so intertwined that they cannot be separated. Sen. Edwards probably did all this, and knew of it, but because he believed so many people believed in him, he truly thought he deserved to have everything he wanted. We build these people up to untenable heights and then act shocked when they come crashing down because their character was never what they pretended it to be, or what we wanted to see. He will face the music for his folly, but we are responsible for the political climate that lets campaigns become so foolish."
Some had harsh words about Edwards.
Jaynicia: "I'm not going to sugar coat it because I'm a Democrat. John Edwards is a sleazy, disgusting pig who cheated on his cancer riddled wife with a golddigging ho and he's getting what he deserves. I feel bad for his children. ..."
Or is this just common behavior?
aaronby: "I hate to sound jaded, but I'm sure this kind of money shuffling, loophole exploiting, underhanded dealing is probably... common. I doubt he's the exception."
Mother73: "I would much rather the politicians funnel money for secret babies than bribery for government contracts."
toadears: "All bribery is the same ... dishonest. Pick your poison there, Mommy. But yes, Aaron, he is the moral majority in Washington these days."
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Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.