In Defense Of Fitz: Why We Should Cut Scandal’s POTUS Some Slack

March 22, 2013  |  

Like most “Scandal” addicts, I’ve been more than a little shocked by Fitz’s behavior since he found out about the election rigging scheme. But unlike those who quit #TeamFitz as soon as he started acting fresh, I still support our nation’s fictional president and feel that in light of the circumstances, his actions are understandable and possibly even justified. Let me explain.

Clearly, Fitz hiring Jake to spy on Olivia by video and then telling Jake that “Olivia is not a good person” and “not who she seems” is shady. Obviously, making Liv feel like a two-bit slore with the “I may not be able to control my erections around you, but that does not mean I want you” line after he ravished her in a closet was neither classy nor respectful, but a recap of recent events should provide some insight into Fitz’s state of mind.

Fitz is a man of ethics and integrity. Yes, I say this despite the fact that he’s having an extramarital affair that is technically immoral but in practical terms, less so. Let’s not forget that Fitz is stuck in a dead marriage — one that died long before he met Olivia — and Olivia is the love of his life. If he was a normal civilian and not the leader of the free world, he would have already left Mellie, and after recovering from the attempt on his life, he did, indeed, ask the scheming chatterbox for a divorce.

So, extramarital affair with extenuating circumstances aside, Fitz has proven himself to be a man of honesty and honor in a political world crawling with liars and two-faced snakes. While he’s not above arm-twisting Vice President Sally Langston to achieve his political aims, he rejected every opportunity to dig up dirt on his opponents during his presidential campaign and instead chose to keep things above board. When his father wanted him to take the sleazy route and reveal damaging information about the Democratic challenger during a debate, Fitz instead sought to strengthen his relationship with voters by revealing a more vulnerable side of himself. He repeatedly states that he entered politics to try to help people, and often questions if politics is the most effective way to do so. In nearly every professional situation, Fitz has chosen the high road in a realm where that road is usually the one less traveled.

So imagine the devastation of a man who has tried to build his career on integrity and lofty ideals only to find out that his entire presidency is a lie, the result of a scheme perpetrated by the people he trusted most — his chief of staff, his wife and the love of his life. Imagine the guilt of a man who then chose to murder the person who could have exposed the entire secret, the person who was also responsible for trying to have him assassinated.

In a single day, President Fitzgerald Grant found out that he’s not really the president, he learned that the people he trusts most — including the love of his life — deceived him and the rest of the country in a grand scheme to steal the nation’s highest office, he discovered that the person who tried to have him killed was someone he considered a friend, and he became a murderer. One can see why that might have an effect on a person’s psyche and make them — oh, I don’t know — drink a lot and say hurtful things.

Ten months after learning the truth, Fitz is still downing scotch in a hot shower while looking like the most miserable man on the planet. It’s safe to say that he has been destroyed, and this week’s episode only confirms that fact. Fitz told Olivia on the phone, “You ruined me,” and Olivia responded, “I’m ruined.” The two people who declared they’d wait for each other, who watch for each other, and whose every emotion is controlled by the look on the other’s face, have been reduced to early morning booze sessions and swimming laps to drown their sorrows. It’s as if Olivia cheated on Fitz, but with every single person in the country.

So let’s cut the fake POTUS some slack and acknowledge that while his behavior isn’t kind or admirable, it’s to be expected. Fitz is a man who has lost the love of his life, but most of all lost his sense of self. He is disillusioned, angry and racked with guilt. Everything he once believed has turned out to be a lie, and he doesn’t know who he can trust. Don’t hate him because he talks greasy and hired a guy to video-stalk Olivia. He’s a man whose soul has been shattered.

Lauren Carter is a writer and editor based in Boston. Connect with her on Twitter @ByLaurenCarter or visit her blog at www.bylaurencarter.com.

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