madly not caring

Anyone remember the rumors about Condoleezza Rice? While I thought they were silly at the time, I can't stop my thoughts from wandering back to not that long ago:

The Enquirer described its article as "the ultimate guessing game among Hollywood fans - trying to figure out which big-name stars are gay". The report went on: "According to the buzz among political insiders, it's an open secret that . . . Rice is gay."

The piece quoted an unnamed "in-the-know" blogger as saying that during her years as provost of Stanford University in California, Rice was "completely out as a lesbian and it was not a scandal, just a reality". The paper referred to reports that in 1998 Rice bought a house with a "special friend", another unmarried woman, a film-maker named Randy Bean.

It was far from the first time that she had been linked to lesbian rumours. In a recent biography of Rice, Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's diplomatic correspondent, noted that Bean, described as a "liberal progressive", was her "closest female friend". It was Kessler who discovered from a search of property records that Rice and Bean owned a house together.

Rice does not comment on her private life, and she is not an elected official, so her sexuality has never been a campaign issue. But the gay community has long been troubled by her association with conservative Republicans opposed to gay marriage, and with evangelical Christians who regard homosexuality as a sin.

At one point last year Rice was regarded as a possible Republican candidate in the 2008 White House race. Yet most commentators agreed that she was reluctant to run, and a Washington Post columnist concluded that she was "the longest of long shots", as it indeed turned out.

The columnist Chris Cillizza made no mention of Rice's sexuality, and it took an internet reader named Anne Roifes to remind the Post that high journalistic standards sometimes miss the point.

"It is widely believed in gay circles that Condi is a lesbian," Roifes commented. "That could be one reason she will not run."

Etc. I didn't have to scour the Internet to find the above as it came directly from a footnote in Rice's Wiki biography which says this:
in a Gallup poll from March 24 to 27, 2008, Rice was mentioned by eight percent of Republican respondents to be their first choice to be Senator John McCain's Republican Vice-Presidential running mate, slightly behind Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.[74] There was speculation that she was not chosen as a Vice-Presidential candidate because of rumors that she was a lesbian, which could have soured evangelicals to the ticket.[75]
OK, just as I don't care about Elena Kagan's sexuality, I also didn't and don't care about Rice's. It isn't my business -- any more than their personal religious views are my business. Just as one's view of the unknown is between the person and his intimate associates (and between him and whatever higher powers he may or not believe in), one's sexuality is no one's business other than whomever he might or might not want to have sex with. Or not.

I realize that sexual and religious activists on both "sides" would disagree with me (as they insist that these things are their business), but what I want to know is this: Is there still an unwritten rule that being gay -- or even being rumored to be gay -- should be a bar to high office?

Otherwise, what is this debate about?

If so, how does the "rule" work? How is it to be enforced?

How high of an office is high office?

And considering that there are rumors about everyone (including George W. Bush), should rumors count too?

This whole Kagan thing should be fascinating to watch. So far, the debate seems to involve not so much whether she is gay, but who will "out" her if she is. Unless I am mistaken and she is outed in a positive way by gay activists, the push seems to be to force the Republicans to try to out her in a negative way. That way, the left can claim she's a victim of right-wing bigotry, whether she's gay or not.

The irony is that there are a lot of people who don't care either way, but for obvious reasons their voices will not be heard in this, um, "debate." That's because people who don't care tend not to be loud about what they don't care about, and if you think about it, it would sound contradictory (even a little insane) to yell, "I'M MAD AS HELL BECAUSE I DON'T CARE!"

Count me among the insane.

posted by Eric on 05.12.10 at 08:48 AM


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