Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More on Sam Adams

In response to Dale’s comment to yesterday’s post, I would like to add the following.

Yeh, the damage this does to gay people is one of my biggest gripes. And the clintonesque birthday issue is mega silly -- as if the passing of one day, chosen for legal purposes, really makes the difference between adult and not adult.

As far as what else Sam might lie about? Call me naïve but I honestly don’t think he’s a liar, other than this. The reason he lied about this was because the real answer, which was “none of your business” would have rung the dinner bell for a media feeding frenzy. Unfair as it may be, you don’t get to use “none of your business” in this country if you’re a public figure. That’s why he shouldnt’ve gone near the affair in the first place. But he did, and then he thought he could fix it with one lie, and then there it went, the tangled spider web thing happened.

I think what saves his gay ass SOMEWHAT is that most Portlanders are sophisticated enough to recognize that men in general, not just gay men, have been known to pursue partners that are decades younger than them. I know some women do too, but let's look at the typical situation. Men in their fifties taking up with women their twenties (dump the middle aged wife if necessary). It happens ALL THE TIME, and everywhere. Beyond the utterly superficial reason that 22 year old looks all new and shiny, I’ll never understand why anyone is attracted to someone who’s missing more than half their common life experience. But whatever.

However, I’ve watched people excel at their jobs while enduring a personal life made up of a collection of bad choices. They delve into their work because that’s what they enjoy most and that’s where their priorities lie (and sometimes it’s an escape from their personal life.) I don’t think it’s healthy or balanced, but a person can do excellent work for a long time in this situation.

Sam is such a consummate politician. I don’t think he’s untrustworthy in the political arena. If he were, other stuff would’ve come up by now.


At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider this:
1. Do you believe that in a democratic government certain ethical standards should prevail across the board?
2. If so, then picture yourself living in another city besides Portland. Some uncool, unspecial city, perhaps in a rust belt or dust bowl.
3. The newly elected mayor is a Republican Christian Fundamentalist, he either hates bikes or hasn't even seen one since he was a kid. You don't like his policies very much but he was elected with a solid majority.
4. Previously, while campaigning, the mayor is accused of a being in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-18-ish girl.
5. He vociferously denies it, and claims to be the victim of the worst sort of slander you could mount against a devout Christian Family Values man. He uses a staff member to coach the girl into lying to the press, and he publicly slanders his political opposition. All the Republican types rally around him because he's their guy, and he has no problem getting elected.
7. Only when faced with the impending journalistic revelations of the irrefutable truth does he begin to own up to it, but only partially, and still slandering his opposition every step of the way.
8. You probably get my point. Just try to honestly imagine how you'd feel if this was someone you didn't already like, and who didn't espouse policies you were attached to.

My biggest concern is that many people in Portland seem to be naive about the toxic nature of identity politics when it's "us" who finally won, and we got "our kind of guy" running the city. History proves that we can quickly lose what we've gained if we become corrupted by our own specialness.

I don't care about the sex, and I don't regard Beau Breedlove as a victim in the slightest. And Bill Clinton did not lie about Monica Lewinsky to get elected. Everybody already knew he had affairs and he got elected anyhow.

Sam lied spectacularly to influence the outcome of the election, and he didn't care about who would go down with him... queer people who are real mentors, for instance.

I don't think this mess is going away, and I am afraid that when it's all said and done we'll wish Sam would have resigned immediately.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Sort of in response to Anonymous's #1, I fervently wish that private lives were simply never brought up in politics. Politicians are people who like to dominate, and who rather pathologically want to be liked and admired, and so they're prone to abusing the opportunities of power with shiny young things: I think that will probably always be true and I don't like it but I doubt there's anything to do about it, and I don't think we should drastically shrink the pool of possible leaders by trying to fix it.

I dunno. I'm still on the fence with this one. I don't think I'm letting identity politics make me more charitable towards Adams than I would be towards Anonymous's Republican. I tend to get irritable about dragging in private lives no matter what. If we didn't pry we wouldn't force so much lying.

I disagree, though, on one thing: I think he could have said "none of your business." The media would certainly have played it, but I'm not convinced it would have lost him the election.

It's what he should have done anyway, regardless, I think. Easy for me to say, I know :-)

At 2:19 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

I appreciate the time of those who have responded – especially Anonymous, who contributed something very thorough and well thought-out.

Anon, you big party-poop, you. Ok, I did run my brain through a lightweight version of what you have written in your comment. In other words I quickly considered, Would I think differently if the politician in question had been one I opposed in every way? I did not spend several hours on this, but my quick-and-dirty answer was, No, I still wouldn’t want to know the private matters. Like Dale, I think I would hold onto my principles. At least I would like to think that about myself. Also, I have changed my mind, and like Dale, I now agree that he could have and should have said "None of your business" to the press.

Anon, I think you're right about everything except that you "don't think this mess is going away," and "when it's all said and done we'll wish Sam would have resigned immediately." I, on the other hand, think it's all going to blow over. I think everyone is so sick of hearing about it that even his enemies won't be able to keep it in the public consciousness.

Thank you for your reasoned and logical response. My emotional, un-intellectual response is "I'm tired. Can everybody please go home and we'll get a fresh start tomorrow?"


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