May 10, 2010
The Andrew Sullivan/American Family Association Identity Politics Alliance Against Privacy!
Not that the world was wondering, but I don't give a damn about Supreme Court pick Elena Kagan's sexuality. And while I don't like her liberal, anti-military philosophy, that would typify anyone of her background, many of whom would be worse. So I haven't felt especially compelled to write about her.
Until today, that is. The culture war has reared its ugly head, and activated all sorts of busybodies who care deeply about things like the sexuality of their fellow citizens. I would like to think that we are moving past such concerns, and I think most people have.
Most, but not all. There are gay activist busybodies who don't believe in leaving people alone, and they are assisted by anti-gay busybodies on the other "side."
It is no more of an empirical question than whether she is Jewish. We know she is Jewish, and it is a fact simply and rightly put in the public square. If she were to hide her Jewishness, it would seem rightly odd, bizarre, anachronistic, even arguably self-critical or self-loathing. And yet we have been told by many that she is gay ... and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively.Actually, the American Family Association is delighted to do Andrew's bidding.
In a blog post for the far-right American Family Association (AFA) today, Bryan Fischer comes right out and says that the media should pointedly ask Kagan, "Are you a lesbian?" And if she is, according to AFA, she shouldn't serve on the court:So there you go. From opposite "sides" in this blasted culture war comes the same, equally bigoted question.It's time we got over the myth that what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence. We cannot afford to have another sexually abnormal individual in a position of important civic responsibility, especially when that individual could become one of nine votes in an out of control oligarchy that constantly usurps constitutional prerogatives to unethically and illegally legislate for 300 million Americans.
ARE YOU NOW, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, A HOMOSEXUAL?
Such concerns are what drive identity politics.
Your sexuality is their business.
If this is what passes for politics, I wish I could opt out.
MORE: Glenn Reynolds takes a close look at Kagan, and finds her to be a surprisingly good pick -- especially considering the alternatives. Well worth reading.
As to the argument over whether she is gay, and whether she has the right to any privacy, Glenn linked this discussion in Mother Jones which raised some good questions about the motives behind this inquisition. (Basically, she's an unmarried woman who looks like a stereotypical lesbian -- and it appears that if she didn't invoke the stereotype, no one would be asking.)
I realize that Andrew Sullivan is not alone in suggesting that inquiries about the sexuality of public office seekers should now be a legitimate focus, but I don't like it. Such questions easily lend themselves to being petty and tyrannical in nature, and are irrelevant to public service.
It's not as if we were in the 1950s when questions like "ARE YOU NOW, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, A HOMOSEXUAL?" were asked, and I don't recall Justices Alito or Roberts being quizzed about what might have ever turned them on.
Should they have been? If so, where do we draw the line? Should all candidates for all public offices have their sexuality vetted? And how far should such vetting go? Should we be asking about what age virginity was lost? Whether there has been loyalty to partners? Whether pornography was used? About specific sexual tastes? ("Are you or have you ever been bisexual?" Have you any fetishes?" "Have you ever taken part in any sexual activities which might be termed bondage or sadomasochism?" "Have you ever participated in anal sex?" "Please state whether you were on the top or the bottom.")
I realize the above is far from inclusive (doubtless the government screeners could come up with something more comprehensive), but is this the way we want to live?
Is privacy over?
posted by Eric on 05.10.10 at 07:07 PM
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