Sweet Hypocrisy

Crossposted atIch Bin Ein OberlinerandBig Orange Satan.

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.

Tags: adoption, gay adoption, hypocrisy, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

28 Comments

Tip, Flame, Rec, Comment...

It's the Judeo-Christian thing to do.

by shef 2008-07-15 09:52AM | 0 recs
Technically...

only the Christians take issue with divorce.  Jews have condoned divorce since biblical times.  (Jewish law also allows abortion, btw.)

Yet another reason why "Judeo-Christian" is one of the silliest phrases in the English language...beyond the "Ten Commandments," we agree with the Christians on very little.  (And even on those commandments, we disagree on application, translation, and numbering.)

by Elsinora 2008-07-15 11:55AM | 0 recs
huh...

well you learn something new everyday.

it's always nice to have yet another reason to get annoyed when someone blathers on about the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of this or that.

by shef 2008-07-15 02:36PM | 0 recs
As Colbert put it:

"Judeo-Christian" is like "Sears and Roebuck."  The Jews are Roebuck.

by Elsinora 2008-07-16 05:57PM | 0 recs
snort n/t

by shef 2008-07-17 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Technically...

Judaeo-Christian is a bullshit denominator. Islam has as much, maybe  more, in common with both religions than they do with each other. All three 'peoples of the book' derive monotheism from Abraham - you know the guy who was about to kill his son because God told him to do it

So maybe the most salient common feature of Islamo-Judaeo-Christianity is a tendency to infanticide and religious terror

I'm sure most Hindus and Buddhists would agree.

by duende 2008-07-15 02:51PM | 0 recs
Common theme

A common theme amongst religious leaders/teachers is found in these quotes (from Wikipedia)...

"Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you."
--Prophet Mohammed

"Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill."
--Gautama Buddha

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."
--Hillel the Elder

"But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don't hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks from you, and from one who takes away your things, don't ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them."
--Jesus of Nazareth

by Rob in Vermont 2008-07-16 05:11AM | 0 recs
Similar theme, but not identical.

Jewish Golden Rule:

"Do not do unto others that which is hateful unto you."

Christian Golden Rule:

"Do unto others what you would have them do unto you."

One is a negative command, the other is positive.  It may not look like much of a difference, but it is the distinction between those two versions that gave rise to the Jewish position against proselytizing whereas the Christians have always supported it.  Like I said, even on seeming universals there are marked differences. :)

by Elsinora 2008-07-16 05:56PM | 0 recs
Rec for an Obie

by JJE 2008-07-15 09:52AM | 0 recs
Yeoman pride! (n/t)

by shef 2008-07-15 09:58AM | 0 recs
McCain Camp Clarifies... sort of

"McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue, just as he made it clear in the interview that marriage is a state issue.  He was not endorsing any federal legislation.
McCain's expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible.  However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes.  McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative," - Jill Hazelbaker, Director of Communications

So let's see now, he really is against gay adoption, but believes in the end it's a states issue. So what he has done is try to have it both ways insuring that he pisses off everybody.

by jsfox 2008-07-15 10:08AM | 0 recs
Oh, delightful
Hilzoy, over at Obsidian Wings made an excellent observation about the McCain campaign. She writes:
Since he doesn't actually understand what he's talking about, he periodically says something ill-advised -- that he supports privatizing Social Security, that he'll balance the budget in four years, and so forth. Then his advisors walk him back.

This seems to fit the pattern. McCain says something stupid. advisers try to clarify. McCain looks like the bumbling flip-flopper that he is.
by shef 2008-07-15 10:13AM | 0 recs
I'm getting pissed off here

I so desperately want this campaign to be about issues, to say that McCain's faults are entirely political.  I really, really want for Obama to beat McCain because Democratic policies are better for the country this year and have caught the zeitgeist.

God dammit, John, why do you have to be such a vaguely senile prick all the time?  We're trying to have an election here!

by Dracomicron 2008-07-15 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy
Actually I enjoy watching the corporate media struggle to cover-up McCain's daily idiocy.
The only difference between McCain and Bush is that McCain has a better grasp off subject-verb agreement when he talks.
by nogo postal 2008-07-15 10:40AM | 0 recs
I just giggled.

by shef 2008-07-15 10:49AM | 0 recs
He's just a babbling fucking idiot

which is completely tolerable in your average person (hey, I'm one) but we set higher standards on our presidents...  A less informed person is hard to find.

People can argue that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry or raise kids because gays are gross.

This really is the very base of all anti-gay opinions.  "Two guys, ewww!" (but two girls, well then...).  It all comes to caring what other people do in bed, which is the most ridiculous and often (hopefully, for the hypocrite) hypocritical thing in the world.  Lord knows what anyone is doing in bed, and with any luck it can stay that way all around.

I will always have an image in my head every time this topic comes up, of a (female) friend in South Carolina making the icky-face gay-men-are-gross statement.  A nice couple, don't get me wrong, just a bit unrefined and, well, redneck folks living in a trailer.  Both Very Large, her in print clothing too tight and too young to be complimentary, and makeup to shame whazzername from the Drew Carey Show: "Just the thought of two guys together makes me sick" (icky face).

My reply was a much more generic and polite version of what I was thinking: "I love ya', but I am sitting here trying very hard not to picture you in bed with your husband."

Sex is wonderfully ridiculous in any configuration, and the sooner people can stop bothering with how anyone not in bed with them is doing it, the better.

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-07-15 10:51AM | 0 recs
Reminds me of the time when my

partner and I had been together only a couple of years. We went to his sister's FIFTH wedding - the second time to this particular man, who was also groom number 2 - and his mother recognized his ring on my finger. She proceeded to point her index finger at us, stroking the top of it with her other index finger - the universal symbol of shame! I lost it, outed my partner to her and everyone else, told them how happy he was (is) and ended up having a great time. Eighteen years later, we are the most stable relationship in his or my family, and his sister is still miserable. Hypocrits indeed!

by Rumarhazzit 2008-07-15 03:52PM | 0 recs
Good story and good for you!

As I said (poorly, in retrospect) in a comment above, the "shame" of sexuality is the real problem.  There is nothing unhealthy about the act no matter how you are doing it (other than the odd pulled muscle if you are trying hard enough... ;-).

In the book One flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (during the Party Scene) the Aloof Character (forget his name) puts forth a dissertation on his self-commitment to the asylum because of his homosexuality.  Most of my books are still packed, but the pertinent point is something like: "I have come to realize that it is not my sexuality that causes my mental problems, but rather the Long Pointing Finger of society."

The anguish "non-straight" people go through up to and including "outing" themselves is stressful and unhealthy and entirely dictated by external forces.  As I failed to describe above, the stress that "straight" people endure trying to hide their own tastes is at least equally unhealthy (whether it's a taste for simple sexual silliness, homo-erotic fantasies, whatever).  All of this adds up to the Social Mores that everyone falsley believes they are supposed to live up to, when in fact nobody actually adheres to them.

It's an Emperor's New Clothes shared-myth that causes untold grief.

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-07-16 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

The states rights issue is nothing more than a dodge. Since when has this country allowed discrimination on a state by state basis? I guess I should rephrase that. This country hasn't allowed discrimination on a state by state basis for the last 40 years, except when it comes to gays.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-15 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

"all the hullabaloo over tradition is really hullabaloo over gays being freaks."

I think it's all part of the tradition of being scared of non-traditional sex.  Gay sex is, by definition, either anal, oral, or strap-on.  (Ok, well not always, as there are exceptions...but you get the drift)   I think it's much more about the "ick" factor for many conservative heterosexuals than it is about the Bible.  After all, extra-marital hetero affairs dont' seem to have any "ick" at all to them.  

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-15 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

That right there is the hypocrisy.

I'd bet my (well, may as well stay on topic) right testicle that the sale of strap-ons is larger than any conceivable lesbian demand, and that there is more lingerie sold than the world's women could ever wear.

Worse, the "militantly straight religious" demographic consumes at least as many sex toys as the less repressed, but contravening their self-imposed morals feeds the self-hate that harms themselves and from there external anger that in turn feeds intolerance.

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-07-15 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

Really good points, and intelligently and eloquently explained.  I happen to think that repressed heteros (even though I am one, I like the abbreviated form...makes me feel a bit edgy or something) would do well to open up and actually use a few more sex toys.  It'd probably do us all some good if America could stop being so damn repressed about sex.  I personally blame the Puritans.  "400 years of pretending we don't like sex"

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-15 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

Hey John, don't worry.  Fred Thompson really doesn't want to have a kid with you after all.

by emsprater 2008-07-15 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

by emsprater 2008-07-15 02:05PM | 0 recs
As a gay man, it sickens me beyond

words to hear this tripe from a man who fancies himself to be President of ALL Americans - I am so tired of being the red meat for the right. The logical end of his primitive mind set would be to not only disallow gay adoption, but to rip away from their parents all the adopted children who are currently being raised by same sex couples. Anyone who considers themselves a Democrat and is toying with the idea of not voting for Obama, voting third party, sitting this one out, or, God forbid, actually voting for this MORAN should have to explain to the teenager who has HIV why he can't seem to get adopted into a loving family, or console the child born with fetal alcohol syndrome and deposited on the doorstep of the adoption agency why no one wants to adopt her. Their are many many children out there being raised in loving families, with a new chance at life, because gay couples have the opportunity to adopt in some states. That is not to take away from straight couples who decide to adopt, for whatever reason, but my experience has been that gay couples often take into their homes the children no one else will. McCain should be ashamed to look at himself in the mirror.

by Rumarhazzit 2008-07-15 03:42PM | 0 recs
That's some well-emoted righteous anger

and oh so true.

We just watched the original Angels in the Outfield last night (catch it if you get the chance).  I don't know about the remake, but the main thread is this eight year old girl in a packed orphanage, and one of the scenes is when the coach comes to see her.  All the girls get animated thinking that someone is coming to adopt one of them, it's heartbreaking...

Any stable person who wants to adopt a child who has no home, any stable couple - who gives a rat's ass what gender/color/hat-size...?!?!!

As adoptive parents, the McCains must be more clear on the humanity of the situation of orphaned or homeless children.  This has just got to be pure political pandering to the Bigot Base...

It's easy to hear this and see the anti-gay side and get upset with that (however expected it is), but the anti-child aspect...

Fuck, now I'm just pissed off beyond belief.

by chrisblask 2008-07-15 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Sweet Hypocrisy

I have a good friend who is marrying his long time partner in October.  I can't think a better couple to raise a child than these two men.  

To suggest that only straight people can love a child goes so far beyond hypocrisy that it becomes an obscenity.

by Susan from 29 2008-07-15 05:30PM | 0 recs
The anti-intellectuals

There is research that shows that gay parents are just as good as straight parents, but the GOP isn't interested in science.  

by psychodrew 2008-07-16 12:28AM | 0 recs

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