Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Kagan and Sexuality

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I must respectfully disagree with Gleen Greenwald’s characterization of “good liberals” attempting to defend Elena Kagan’s (non-)scandal pertaining to her sexual orientation.

He makes the argument that if they really thought being gay was not something of a scarlet letter, they wouldn’t be making such hubbub over what in her life may be considered personal; rather instead they would affirmatively declare her sexual orientation – straight or gay – and defend it. Furthermore, he states, a politician’s personal life ceases to be personal when the politician runs for office, on the basis that we must know who we are asking to represent us.

I must disagree on both points. First of all, it’s not that liberals feel that being gay is bad, but that they know that being gay is perceived as bad, and as is most obviously the case they are attempting to steer the debate away from such nonproductive eddies lest the entire confirmation process is to be an endless howling monkey-fight and conservative radio host gangbang.

In that stead, I posit that those “good liberals” of which Greenwald speaks have made a fatal misstep two ways. Both are political, not moral. First, in scrubbing her of all her history, they have given the Republicans – who predictably would block any nominee for any reason they could conceivably find – little else to destroy her on.

Second, it was a mistake of liberal organizations to make a big deal out of it at all, for their ire is what has given this particular story its fodder. All the right-wing had to do was plant the merest of hints, then report on the “controversy” of the liberal outrage. They’ve fallen for yet another trick, and we are all then doomed to listen to yet another month of shit that doesn’t pertain.

As for whether one’s sexual orientation is important for determining one’s worth for office, I have but two words: Ed Koch.

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