Sunday, August 10, 2008

Excuse Me, Mr. Edwards ...

Hey! John Edwards! I'm sure you read my blog, so I'm hoping we can have a little chat. Just briefly. Nothing huge. I won't even ask about your girlfriend's baby, if that makes it easier. I mean, I'm a nice guy, and I don't want to be rude.

Ok, so now that we're here, I've got to talk to you about something. You and I need to have a chat about sanctimony. You've probably heard by now, but your affair is all over the news. That must be stressful, to have your marriage discussed by everyone, and examined by the media. To have the talking heads on every channel talking about your marriage must be infuriating. I can't imagine.

Well, actually, I sort of can imagine. I mean, talk of Proposition 8 in California has really put gay marriage front and center in the public spotlight again. I expect we'll be hearing even more about it as we approach November. And since my marriage is a gay one, every time someone talks about gay marriage in the abstract, they're talking about my marriage. On the news. Or in protests. Or in ridiculously failed boycotts of McDonald's.

Enough about me, though. Let's talk about you. I spent a lot of time talking about you in 2004. Talking about why you'd be an excellent choice for president, and then talking about what you'd bring to the table as vice president. That was kind of a waste of time, wasn't it?

So when you ran again in this cycle, I was glad. You were someone I respected. I admired your policies. Well, most of your policies.

See, there's a major issue about which you and I disagree. Last year, the Logo network hosted discussions with each of the Democratic candidates. At the time, I remember you saying that you weren't ready to support gay marriage. I believe you said that you "weren't there yet," whatever that means. At the time, I asked my partner, "He's not there yet? What is that supposed to mean? Is he on some sort of metaphysical bus to gay town? And the gays are alien creatures until he gets there?"

At the time, I assumed -- foolishly! -- that perhaps the experience of gay and lesbian Americans was just still outside your experience. You have a lovely wife, a lovely family ... maybe you just didn't understand. And then your wife made public her battle with cancer. And suddenly, your family was under the microscope. Your private decisions were discussed in the media, examined for public consumption. Surely that must have made you understand.

Here's what I don't understand, though. If marriage is some sort of transcendant human experience, to which gays should have no claim ... If it's so special, and so unique, that gay and lesbian couples asking to be a part of it don't really understand what they're asking for ... If marriage is so goddamned perfect, then why in hell were you fucking around on your wife while she was fighting a very public battle for her life? Can you try to explain that? And while you're explaining it, please do me the favor of explaining why you should be allowed to marry, and I should not.

You'll probably change your mind now. I bet that you'll support gay marriage now. Now that your political career is over. Now that it won't make any difference, it's a safe enough choice. Now that your metaphysical bus to gay town broke down in shame city, you won't have to worry what people think about you.

Here's the part that's truly infuriating, though. Gay and lesbian people will still accept your support. We're still begging for scraps from the table, so we still need you. And if you've got anything at all left, then we still need it. But don't be confused. We still know that you are nothing but scraps from the table. Hypocrite.


  1. I think the bigger hypocrisy is occurring by some bloggers, some you link to.

    His candidacy was based on having people accept him as a family values guy.

    For people to say that Edwards having an affair while his wife is recovering from cancer is no big deal is outrageous.

  2. Well, I think people are entitled to their own opinions, and are welcome to draw their own conclusions. I can see how some folks would say that his private family issues ought to remain private, but I have to disagree. By taking a position on my family, he's given me an absolute right to take a position on his family. And after examining my family values and his family values, I find him to be lacking.

    But I can certainly see why someone might argue that those kind of arguments aren't really useful political discourse. Has John Edwards done the kind of destructive things toward gays and lesbians that someone like Larry Craig has? Absolutely not. So a story about Craig being a hypocrite IS a bigger story.

    I just find the Edwards story particularly noteworthy because he positioned himself as someone who wanted to help gay and lesbian families, but who had some artificial barrier between our families and his own.

  3. The hypocrisy of the gay-marriage opponents is pretty breathtaking. Unfortunately, they don't see it that way. The thing that I find most offensive is the argument that it'll somehow hurt children or families or destroy the fabric of American society when, in fact, the opposite is true. It'll actually strengthen the fabric of society by creating more families that are stable and loving and enjoy the protections that all other married couples enjoy. And I have no doubt that you are a much better husband than John Edwards!

  4. Great post! I was thinking some of the same things when I heard this news. I really liked him until the not being their yet comment . . .