A couple of really interesting comments have rolled in regarding my post Saturday about Sarah Palin and the circumstances in which I think a candidate’s sexual history is appropriate to discuss. A few people brought up the issue of hypocrisy, arguing that when a candidate is a vocal opponent of other people’s sexual liberty, their own sexual past should be on the table.
I get the instinct to throw hypocrisy in the faces of the blowhards. Few things are more frustrating than abstinence-only proponents with laundry lists of premarital partners, gay marriage opponents who secretly solicit gay sex, or general sex-negativity from sexters extraordinaire.
After careful consideration, I’m not willing to add a fourth category to my earlier list of three (abuse of power, broken laws, misuse of office resources). I feel that dragging anybody‘s sexual history through the muck for political gain condones the general use of promiscuity, perceived promiscuity, non-traditional sexuality, etc. for political point-scoring, and I’m not okay with that. As much as I enjoy watching conservative politicians squirm when their “indiscretions” are aired (not that dems don’t squirm, they do; I just don’t enjoy it as much), I’m hoping for a political stage where this shit is off limits.
One reader (hit me up if you want a citation!) said these discussions at least serve the purpose of “showing that there’s no such thing as people who actually fit into a normative sexuality.” I wish that I believed that these sorts of revelations encouraged people to think more expansively about what “normal” is, but I really don’t think it does. I think the “offenders” get shoved through a media circus and then get pushed offstage for someone with a more “pure” record (even if it’s quickly debunked.) I’d rather that the political conversation exclude children, spouses, high school transcripts, adolescent pot smoking, etc. and focus on policy, problem-solving, and compromise. But hey, that’s just me, and it turns out a sex scandal sells a lot of magazines.
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