Yes, I’m planning to vote for Bernie Sanders, but I’m going to cut the Rubio campaign a check just the same. It won’t be much, but, as the Supreme Court said, “money equals speech.” Citizens United v. F.E.C., 558 U.S. 310 (2010).
So I’m going to speak in favor of Rubio, even though I am a Liberal.
Don’t have a conniption. I’m not buying in to his politics. Although, I do respect how he gets them done. For example, he has likely quietly killed Obamacare, without grandstanding. But to be clear, I don’t think I would ever vote for the guy.
So why am I “speaking” with my money to support his campaign?
Because a story is making the rounds that Marco was screwing a lobbyist.
Is the story true? I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m not linking to any sources, because I don’t want to give it any juice.
I have lost my patience with people using someone’s private life against them for political gain. I’ve lost my patience with a complete lack of privacy.
When the Republicans wanted to hurt Bill Clinton, the best thing they had in their arsenal was a blowjob and a cigar. The Liberals hate Sarah Palin, so they make a big deal out of the fact that her daughter keeps getting knocked up. Remember Gary Hart? That is when it all changed — when a politician’s personal life meant as much, if not more, than his politics.
Before Gary Hart, political journalists had a sense of limits. Every member of the White House press corps knew that JFK was screwing Marilyn Monroe and that Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian. Nobody reported on that, because there were fucking rules. You broke those rules when it mattered — like Watergate. But, not when it meant revealing a private affair.
Then, on May 3, 1987, the Miami Herald decided that it wanted to try and be the Washington Post by revealing a scandal. That day, it printed its story about Gary Hart maybe getting some tail on the side above a story about Iran-Contra. Then, the race to the bottom began, and the Washington Post saw the Herald’s bet and raised. Paul Taylor threw down with “Have you ever committed adultery?”
And we all joined in. It sold papers. It drove Hart out of the campaign, and since that day in 1987, shit that really doesn’t matter, now matters.
You know why?
Because of you.
Because you, no matter your political persuasion, play right into it — as long as the target is someone you politically disagree with.
I confess, so have I.
I justified these sins by only wagging my finger at “family values” politicians who are later found to be less-than-family-value-types. That’s what most Liberals say when they play the politics-as-revenge porn game. The schadenfreude was strong in me. I wasn’t playing the shame game with a politician’s personal life because what he did was wrong. I did it because it “exposed hypocrisy.”
That seemed to make it just fine.
Meanwhile, I was the hypocrite.
Either there is something inherently wrong with being a sexual libertine, or there is not. I say there is not. Therefore, who am I to shame even the most conservative family values type for being one in his private life? Does it change how he or she can do the job? History would say otherwise — that the only time that a private affair changed anything was when it was made into a distraction by the now-all-tabloid press. And don’t blame them. Blame me (and yourself) because I bought right into it.
I had no right, but whenever it was a conservative, I stood in the crowd and threw stones. I wasn’t stoning the “sinner,” but rather a hypocrite.
Meanwhile, when it was a liberal, I didn’t say anything except “so what, he doesn’t try to tell me what to do in my bedroom, why do I care what he does in his?”
That is the real logical hypocrisy.
The real hypocrisy is that we forgive the media for reporting on private sexual lives at all. The real hypocrisy is that we will stand in the crowd and cheer against the other team, while most of us want to defend the right to our blowjobs being our private business, and nobody else’s. The real victim is privacy. The real victim is debate and discourse. The real victim is us.
This discussion is timely, not just because it is campaign season, but because many good-minded people are cheering the downfall of “revenge porn” purveyor. Some scream for tougher laws with which to punish them. Hooking up with someone should not mean that photos of it wind up all over the internet forever. The same people who cheer for revenge pornographers to go to prison are entirely silent when the “revenge porn” is not a photograph, but words — as long as those words bring down a politician from the other team.
We all agree that publishing photographs of someone’s most intimate moments is wrong, unless we have their consent. Meanwhile, at least a photograph tells the truth. This is that person. This is a captured moment in time, unfiltered through the author’s bias. This is real. I still do not approve of publishing such photos, but isn’t that better than innuendo, interpretation, and story telling by someone who wasn’t even there? How is a story about someone’s private affairs not more intrusive than a photo?
More importantly, why is this politics? Where does this political tool leave us? It winds up making politics a game almost entirely for those who can point to a past unsullied by the occasional acid trip in their teenage years, unstained by a random screw after a night of too many drinks, unmarked with a blemish or two on their record of indiscretions.
Do we really want to be led by men and women who have never gone off and gotten a BJ in the supply closet? Do we really want our leaders to be so devoid of grit and real-world experience that they don’t know what a booty call is?
If the press (and its audience) operated by these rules during World War II, Winston Churchill would have been drummed out of office for being a drunken ass-slapping lout, FDR would have been on the front page in a wheelchair (and while I don’t care, that wouldn’t have projected “strength” the right way), while Adolf Hitler would have been the sexually-well-behaved, sober vegetarian, who was nice to dogs.
So lets get back to Marco Rubio.
Did he have a fling with a lobbyist? I call on all journalists to decline to confirm the rumors. They won’t take up the call, but maybe a few of us can start spinning the wheel the other way. I call on all voters to issue a collective “who cares?” Better yet, no matter which party the candidate represents, send a check the next time a “scandal” breaks.
Mr. Rubio may very well be the Republican nominee, or he may not. I want to hear what he has to say about how he will handle the economy, foreign relations, things that matter. I wish we had heard that from Gary Hart. I don’t care what Rubio does, or does not do, in his private life. Let his, and every other, candidacy rise and fall on ideas, not revenge porn.
So why am I donating to his campaign? It’s called “making lemonade.” A number of years ago, the Ku Klux Klan planned a march. A group of us agreed to donate $10 to a minority scholarship program for every minute that the Klan march lasted. That way, the negative actions of those awful people would benefit the very people they were trying to hurt. If someone tried to hurt Rubio by leaking this rumor, be it true or false, I want it to do the opposite.
Further, it is an act of penance. I wish to repent for the times I joined in on this kind of behavior. We all deserve sexual privacy, and our leaders should be judged on how they lead, not how well they can fight ridiculous allegations that have no place in the public eye.
This post originally appeared on Popehat. View it here.