In discussing the allegations of homosexuality recently leveled at would-be Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Toby Harnden of the Telegraph says most Americans don't care one way or the other, and that neither the Obama administration (in the case of Kagan) or "the reprehensable" William Gheen (in the case of Lindsey Graham) should have ever addressed the issue to begin with.
On the face of it, Elena Kagan, the United States Solicitor General, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would not seem to have much in common.
Kagan is a Democrat and former dean of Harvard who is currently in the frame to be chosen by President Barack Obama as a Supreme Court Justice. Graham happens to be a lawyer too but he is a Republican, a faithful sidekick of Senator John McCain and a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserve.
Last week, however, both were "outed" as being gay - actions that prompted outrage on the Left in the case of Kagan and, well, hilarity on the Left in the case of Graham...
[Kagan] was described by conservative blogger Ben Domenech as being boosted among liberals because she would be the "first openly gay justice" on America's highest court.
Far from being a smear, the statement appeared to be a genuine statement of what Domenech thought was a known fact - and something that has often been speculated about and remarked on by gay bloggers.
What drew attention to what he had buried in the middle of a relatively obscure blog post was an apoplectic reaction by the White House, which denounced Domenech and said his assumption was "inaccurate". Anita Dunn was wheeled out to accuse him of "applying old stereotypes to single women"...
Frankly, most Americans - and most on the American Right - could not care less. The influence of Christian conservatives is on the wane and few among their number view the personal sexual conduct of an individual - even if they consider it immoral - as a disqualifier for high public office.
But the White House intervention triggered a lot of tut-tutting from liberals about the conservative bigotry.
Next up was poor old Lindsey Graham. Prefacing his remarks with the statement that "I'm a tolerant person", William Gheen, head of Americans for Legal Immigration, demanded that the Senator "tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality".
Graham's crime in Gheen's eyes is that he favours immigration reform - and is (bear with me here) "trying to sell out your own countrymen" for fear of his true sexuality being revealed.
Rather than being given the good ignoring that he deserved, the reprehensible Gheen instantly became a national figure, even reaching that modern American pinnacle of fame, being lampooned on Comedy Central by both Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart...
It was funny, as Colbert invariably is. But it was also cruel and tinged with a certain retro quality. Graham didn't deserve it any more than Kagan did. It was hypocritical too - there was no comedy prompted by Kagan's outing (effectively by the White House, in the bizarre form of a denial)...
If Americans really don't care wether Elena Kagan or Lindsey Graham are homosexuals, why not discuss it openly?
For example, during the Lewinsky scandal, the left-liberals used to argue that whether or not Bill Clinton had had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky was "no big deal," and that most Americans "simply don't care."
Fine. If that's their position, then why not just come right out and admit the affair? The answer is that most Americans DO care, whether they're willing to admit it or not. Liberal Americans probably care less about such things than conservative Americans, but the knowledge will undoubtedly inform and affect the American public's evaluation of the political figure, and therefore the public has a right to know -- particularly if it plays a role in the formulation of public policy.
What political relevance does Kagan's personal sexual orientation have on her politics? What political relevance does Graham's?
If it's really "no big deal," then why not simply come right out and ask them? If they say that their orientations have no effect whatsoever on their formulation of public policy, then Americans can only be further informed if those who might have evidence otherwise are encouraged to step forward and air it.
For example, Gheen seems to believe that Graham is being blackmailed by someone with knowledge of his homosexuality to support immigration amnesty. Does he have evidence of this, or is it merely Gheen's belief that a homosexual is likely to be more sympathetic to liberal initiatives in general, and the liberal initiative of granting mass amnesty in particular? I'd certainly like to know.
Similarly, is Kagan's alleged homosexuality likely to prompt her to read "rights" into the Constitution -- say the right to homosexual marriage -- that most Americans believe aren't there?
In a democracy, isn't open debate about all of this far more helpful in selecting those who will formulate public policy than it is hurtful? Indeed, isn't it essential?
And what about heterosexuals? Will their public policy formulations reflect their own personal value systems in a way that homosexuals might find abhorrent? Will a Christian's? Would a Congressional body vetting a Statist heterosexual Christian have the right to ask them if they've ever engaged in an extra-marital affair?
Absolutely, and here's why: So long as Statists insist on "rigging the game" and using the State for purposes of social engineering, all bets are off, and any non-libertarian politician or public figure's personal life is relevant to how they might try to socially engineer society and public policy, and in which direction.
Personally, I advocate keeping government to a minimum, and allowing the marketplace of religions and ideas to reign, unencumbered by intrusive and inherently coercive Big Government. Therefore, I support school vouchers redeemable at private schools (whether religious or "progressive") over forcing all students seeking a free education into the failing and ideologically-driven public school system, for example. But those non-libertarian Statists whose politics inherently seek to use policy to coerce, manipulate or engineer a society into adopting, accepting or pursuing their personal agendas and goals by means of federal laws, government institutions, and government sticks and carrots deserve to have every essence of their being and character scrutinized before attaining public office, from their "personal" religions straight through to their "personal" sexual orientations.
Why? Because they want government to do their bidding, and their personal lives are therefore relevant to what, exactly, that bidding will be.
Left-liberals will no doubt say this will lead to McCarthyism, but that's exactly the kind of environment they invite by attempting to use "secular" Big Government to bash, coerce, manipulate, intimidate and badger society into adopting their world view.
Left-liberals whose politics inherently use government to "hound" can hardly complain when they themselves get hounded, now can they?