by shef, Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:51:15 AM EDT
Pointing out politicians' personal flaws and hypocrisies is too easy. Lazy, really. Petty, you might say. But, this recent statement by John McCain got a little under my skin. Here's the quote, from The New York Times (h/t Tristero and TP):
Q: President Bush believes that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt children. Do you agree with that?
Mr. McCain: I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don't believe in gay adoption.
Q: Even if the alternative is the kid staying in an orphanage, or not having parents.
Mr. McCain: I encourage adoption and I encourage the opportunities for people to adopt children I encourage the process being less complicated so they can adopt as quickly as possible. And Cindy and I are proud of being adoptive parents.
Q: But your concern would be that the couple should a traditional couple --
Mr. McCain: Yes.
The first quote isn't hypocrisy as much as non-sequiter. The statements 'both parents are important in the success of a family' and 'no I don't believe in gay adoption' aren't related. McCain is using the fact that 'both parents are important' to support the proposition that we shouldn't allow gay adoption. The fact that 'both parents are important' can only be seen as supportive if you mean to say that 'gay parents aren't, in fact, parents'. With this in mind, let me reiterate McCain's initial argument:
I think that we've proven that having two heterosexual parents is important, so, no, I don't believe in gay adoption.
We can further break this down as:
Parent's should be straight, so there shouldn't be gay parents.
Clearly, it's a strong argument, full of nuance and meaning.
McCain's next statement, "I encourage adoption and I encourage the opportunities for people to adopt children I encourage the process being less complicated so they can adopt as quickly as possible. And Cindy and I are proud of being adoptive parents," isn't an answer to the question. But I do think it's nice--all sarcasm aside--that McCain wants to make adoption less complicated.
The last bit, though, is really the moneymaker of the exchange. McCain believes that traditional couples should raise children, and gay couples, not being traditional, shouldn't.
Interestingly, it is the probably-adulterous (from the LA Times), divorcée John McCain--who left his first wife and three kids--who says that traditional couples should be the only ones to raise kids. His argument, even if extolled by someone who is actually in a traditional relationship, is bad enough. But patronizing moral proclamations about the virtues of traditional marriage and parenthood, coming from John McCain, a man who called his own wife a "trollop" and a "cunt," is both laughable and ridiculous.
I doubt, often times, if arguments for "The Traditional Family" really have anything to do with tradition at all. Since divorce and adultery can hardly be a part of the idyllic, Judeo-Christian set of traditional family values, and since so many of the proponents of The Traditional Family are they themselves practitioners of non-traditional families, all the hullabaloo over tradition is really hullabaloo over gays being freaks.
People can argue that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry or raise kids because gays are gross. That's fine, if base and sophomoric. But trying to disguise this (poor) argument in the venerable cloth of Tradition just makes you look like a hypocrite.
Tristero (over at Digby's Hullabaloo) makes a great point. He writes:
He doesn't know a thing about adoptions by gay couples. Yet he has an opinion. A hurtful, divisive, ignorant, and obnoxious opinion. And he's entitled to it, no matter how bigoted and clueless it is.
But he is not entitled to be president. And this ridiculous, indefensible-on-the-facts opinion is just one more example of how deeply unqualified McCain is to be the political leader of a large, culturally diverse nation. He has no idea what America is. And no interest.