Hillary’s Ass

I have to ask a non-American American question. It needs a sort of run-up though.

I read this at Fetch Me My Axe just now, which is a fabulous blog, which is quoting Waiting for Dorothy, which I didn’t read so I don’t know what it’s quoting, if anything:

“I assume that Senator [Hillary] Clinton — who has spoken out strongly against military discrimination, who stands for civil unions and respect for same-sex couples — understands that gay Americans are not immoral, and she ought to say so clearly,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, a group that advocates same-sex marriage.

Why is it important that a public figure declare homosexuality moral or immoral? The military man who made the original incendiary statement about homosexuality being immoral and not-to-be-allowed is an ass, and a dangerous one, I grant this. And politically, I understand that we live in a society where Hillary Clinton has to respond as the liberal candidate (God help!) and say something ambiguously cheery to the queer folk, which is precisely what she did.

But why does she have to?  Why is it important that she believe it is moral? Why is it disturbing that she might not?

One issue is of course that a person is driven by her beliefs, especially in such a (theoretically) ideologically driven profession and arena. Fine, in as far as that goes. But it doesn’t go all that far. The same instinct that wants to silence homosexuality from public discourse wants to censure Hillary Clinton for not being queer-friendly enough – it’s the instinct for moral leadership, Our Kind of Moral Leadership. Why is that okay, for anyone?

Does the argument need to be hammered home societally? Of course it does. Homosexuality is not immoral and if your moral code insists that it is, keep it to yourself. But that’s exactly the point: keep it to yourself. Public policy in America is about allowing freedoms, right? Why does it become about making statements, flying banners, being an example to the rest of the world? Why did Roe v. Wade ever become about the definition of life?

I think there’s a danger in looking to “leaders” to do too much leading. They’re public servants, right? They need to set up a system. I don’t think they should be put in charge of defining the moral discourse, one way or the other, let alone held accountable for the crap they spew in the process of getting elected. Does her policy look good? If not, ditch her. What she says when the heat is on? Nah. I’d rather watch her walking away, you know?

Moral “leadership” should be in the hands of other sorts of people. Us, for example. Religious institutions, especially in a secular society, because they can only influence policy, they can’t make it themselves. Organizations like Freedom to Marry. Planned Parenthood. Civil Society, basically. The government should just pass cheques around.

But maybe I’m wrong.

6 thoughts on “Hillary’s Ass

  1. Because it made her come off like someone who was walking on eggshells around the Religious Right, to the point where she might just throw us under the mat if push came to tap. which is enough in keeping with the rest of her behavior that people aren’t feeling too willing to give her the benefit of the doubt for just not phrasing things as well as she might.

  2. she dodged a direct question about whether_she_ believes homosexuality is immoral. if, as this article claims, she said she was proud to stand by the side of gay americans, why would she dodge the question? it would mean a lot to gay democrats if a democratic presidential candidate would state without reservation that they think there’s nothing wrong with being gay. her position on the matter has ramifications for real and pressing civil rights issues. a whole cluster of them.

  3. what’s objectionable is that she is campaigning for votes from the gay community and accepting money from the human rights campaign (to whom gay people donate millions of dollars). yet she has proven that she won’t stick her neck out for us. or even a pinky. thank you, i’ll keep my money. i’d rather buy shoes. at least shoes keep my feet dry. of course, if she’s up against brownblech or his ilk i’ll vote for her, but right now, i’m disappointed.

  4. (it’s like saying “hey, asian people, vote for me. give me money.” but when asked, “do asian people stink?” she says, “hrm, that’s for other people to decide.”)

    see? lame. pathetic.

  5. Hmm…

    emily2: I’m not sure the stink analogy works, but I see your point. There’s certainly a hypocrisy to what she’s saying.

    emily1: I know it would mean a lot if she said unequivocally that she thought homosexuality wasn’t immoral. But does it make a great deal of difference? I guess it comes down to faith in someone’s abilities to separate the personal from the political. (I’m working out my objection to this line of thought as I write all this so bear with me…)

    Clearly, my lovely commenters don’t have faith that Hillary would be able to separate whatever she internally believes from the policy she makes, wouldn’t be able to represent them but would instead dictate to them, and would represent even the secularist principal that, ideally, eschews judgement on sexual morality.

    But beyond that, in theory, does it matter what’s in a leader’s head?

    (Still workin’ on it….)

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