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Whatever happened to Chandra Levy?
By Kimberley Jane Wilson
Unless you've been living with a cloistered religious order or you've spent the last four months hiking in Alaska's back country you know who Chandra Levy is or was. Since the young California woman has been missing so long it's reasonable to assume that she's dead. Who killed Chandra? Without a miracle or a confession-unlikely in this case, we will never know. Where is her body? Probably decomposing under some debris somewhere or moldering in the Chesapeake Bay or one of the rivers that surround Washington DC. The odds of recovering a body and whatever DNA evidence it would hold grow slimmer with ever passing hour.
For me the great mystery is not where Chandra Levy is or who even killed her. The most bizarre aspect of this whole case is how a young, educated woman with such a promising future could have fallen in with a man like Congressman Gary Condit. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was once famously quoted as saying, "Power is the greatest aphrodisiac." That may be true but what power did Condit have? He was an obscure congressman in a city of political stars from a part of California most of us never think of. By his own admission in his televised interview with reporter Connie Chung, Condit never loved her. His insistence on secrecy went to weird lengths and everything that he has admitted about their relationship happened only after being pressed by the police and media.
According to a relative Chandra apparently believed that if she just waited five or six years for him to get a divorce she and the congressman would have a life together. Five or six years! Why was she so willing to waste that much time for this man? The feminist movement promised us that there would be no more stories like this if women simply had the same opportunities as men. Like most social and political movements they forgot about what humans really are and concentrated on what they thought humans should be in some perfect world.
In the last 30 years young women seem to have lost the benefit of their mother's wisdom. Maybe it's because no-one wants to be called judgmental or old fashioned. Parents and other relatives have been encouraged to be their children's buddies instead of their guides and protectors. This particular bit of foolishness has led to untold misery for millions of families.
For the benefit of any young readers who don't have an old fogey in their lives I want to point out the following: You can not expect a married man to leave his wife and family for you. Never mind what he says. For every college student who managed to marry her professor there are thousands of girls who were simply used for a semester then discarded. For every young woman who married her boss there are countless others who were left with nothing not even their jobs .
The truth is most men who commit adultery do so because they want an extra bit of excitement in their lives. They have no intention of giving up their homes, money and depending on the divorce laws in their state, their businesses for the sake of a girlfriend. Congressman Condit and his wife have been married since 1967 when they were both 18. They've been together for their entire adult lives. The marriage has lasted longer than Chandra Levy's entire life. In the situations where a man actually does abandon his family he is doing so because he feels the need to be free. He may marry his girlfriend but the relationship is an unequal one. He has the power because having left one woman he can certainly do it again. This isn't romantic but it is reality.
Chandra Levy's story is already starting to loose it's fascination for the media. Barring any new developments her fate will gradually become a dimly recalled curiosity like the disappearances of Amelia Earhardt or Jimmy Hoffa.
Books are still being written about the 1932 kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and the sex life of Thomas Jefferson so it's safe to assume that books will be written about the mystery of Chandra. Each one of these books will different of course but all of them will be a testament to a lost and wasted life.
Kimberley Lindsay Wilson is the author of Work It! The Black Woman's Guide to Success at Work (Iuniverse, ISBN 059500122X, $8.95) & Eleven Things Mama Should Have Told You About Men (African American Images, September 2000, ISBN: 0913543691, $12.95). She can be found at http://members.aol.com/wilsonhope/aaa/index.html.
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