There is a lot of interesting flap about Kerry’s remark in Wednesday’s debate regarding the fact that the Moron Puppeteer of Evil’s daughter is a lesbian. Like most flap, it illustrates our confused zeitgeist on the matter. Is Lynne Cheney ashamed that her daughter is gay? Is Mary Cheney insane or does she just like the $100,000 paycheck? Do gay Republicans hate themselves? Is the Moron Puppet of Evil gay and involved in an S/M relationship with Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and the rest of his administration? Does Kerry really support gay marriage and just can’t say it, so he has to lamely say he’ll leave it up to the states, just so some undecided gay-hating Ohioan without a job will vote for him?

Is anyone who obsessively talks about anyone else’s sexual orientation secretly fascinated with their own sexual orientation? YES.

This is the viewpoint I have come around to on what I think of as the invasion-of-privacy matters: anyone who makes it a crusade to control someone else’s body or sexual behavior is obviously obsessed with sex. Anti-choice? I have one question for you: “Why are you so obsessed with my vagina?” I’m sorry, does that question make you squeamish? Uncomfortable? Well, that is how I feel about your fascination with my vagina. If you want to know about vaginas, there are books with very detailed diagrams you can read. Also, there is porn, though I’ve heard it can cause viruses on your computer.

Anti-gay marriage? I have one question for you: “Why haven’t you indulged your craving for hot same-sex action?” Obviously if you want to make it illegal, you must be so afraid that if it weren’t illegal, you would do it. Do it already! Eat out another woman! Take it up your tight white male butt! I’m sick of hearing about it. I have other things to do besides talk about the sex lives of people I don’t even know. If you need to feel better about your sexuality, Dan Savage is an excellent sex columnist who helps lots of people to feel good about their particular desires, whatever they may be.

Who are the real perverts–the people who do what they want to do or the people who are so obsessed with it they talk about it all day long? Who are the real child-killers–the people who expel a twenty-celled embryo from their internal organs or the people who kill and maim the wanted, loved, existing children in other countries every single day and make money doing it?

The abortion debate and the gay marriage debate–both of which are oxymorons, neither of which should exist at all–are complicated and yet simple. They are about controlling people’s sexuality, but they are also just about controlling people. Much like the Taliban, the ruling class in this country doesn’t live by the rules they impose on others. While the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was out beating young girls with sticks for exposing their titillating ankles or whatever, they were watching pornos in their spare time. Similarly, there have always been gays in America’s very highest offices and most conservative ranks. There have always been vocal anti-choice fanatics who are secretly availing themselves of the choices they would deny others. That is the problem with these “debates”–they are forums not to come to some kind of national consensus on whether it is “okay” to be gay or when life begins, but to call into question the very humanity of the people whose choices you are debating. The abortion debate is not about children. It is about controlling and punishing women for being sexual beings. It’s about hate and fear of something powerful we do not fully understand–sexual desire and the creation of other human beings. The gay marriage debate is not about whether being gay is a choice, or who or what is a marriage or a family–it is about uniting people in hatred of something they do not understand, or more likely, fear of something that they themselves might be.

These so-called debates are also about privacy. And the people who say that the government–or anyone at all–can or should tell someone what to do with their body or their heart or their lives have no respect for anyone’s life or privacy. Which is why it is so absurd, offensive, even, that the Cheneys would assert that the details of the lives of their family members are in any way “private.” They have politicized the private lives of millions of women and gay people–now they want us to respect the private lives of their own political family? If they Cheneys don’t like people bringing up the private lives of their family members, maybe they shouldn’t be trying to legislate other people’s private family lives.

It’s always disgusted me when politicians try to declare their children politically “off-limits.” The true meaning of privilege is that you get to decide whether your life is “political” or not. Poor people, people of color, people in countries the United States invades or bombs or secretly funds right-wing insurgencies in–they don’t get to choose whether their lives or kids are “politicized” or not.

I’m sure there are plenty of parents in Baghdad, whose kids endured pain far worse than fifteen minutes of national scrutiny, who wish they could have declared their children politically “off-limits.” Of course, when your kids are the “collateral damage” in a war “to make the world safer for freedom and democracy,” instead of merely the objects of a debate about their humanity, there’s no time to make a case for their right to determine their own destinies, or marry, or plan their families. If you’re a politican running for national office in America, the way your kids live their lives is up for national debate. If you’re a citizen of an oil-rich country with a complicated history and an even more unceratin future, it’s not the way your kids live their lives that’s subject to the fickle tides of public opinion and ill-informed political decision-making, but whether they get to live them at all.

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