The Washington Post ran this article a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302365.html

(If the above link doesn’t work, try this one:
http://cbs3.com/topstories/Mike.Huckabee.gays.2.1630642.html)

Now, I’m sure Mike Huckabee believes everything he said. And he certainly has the right to say what’s on his mind. But in this event, he manages to piss off a variety of groups whose vote he could certainly use. He must not really want to be President. Or, at least he hasn’t yet learned that you can attract a whole lot more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Many people have deconstructed what he had to say. But I can’t resist throwing in my opinion.

  • “Marriage has historically never meant anything other than a man and a woman. It has never meant two men,…” Gee, for an ordained minister, Huckabee sure doesn’t know his Bible very well. “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.  As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1Kings 11:2-4, all quotes NIV) I am not even gonna get into the Mormons here. Nor current-day Arab royalty. There are plenty of counterexamples to Huckabee’s claim, and he no doubt knows it.
  • “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle….” And yet, there it is in, yup, you guessed it, the Good Book itself: “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. (1Sam 18:1)…I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. (2Sam 1:26)”
  • “That would be like saying, well there’s there are a lot of people who like to use drugs so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs.  There are people who believe in polygamy, should we accommodate them?” he said, according to a transcript of the interview.” On the first point, the official LP view point is basically, yes, let’s. Using drugs (presumably illegal drugs, not the okay ones like tobacco and alcohol) should be an individual choice, as long as no one else is harmed in the process. On the third point, there are people who do “believe in” polygamy, all over this world. See the first paragraph.
  • “There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them….[Marriage has never meant] a man and his pet, or a man and a whole herd of pets.”These arguments are such huge red herrings, you could cater a whole bar mitzvah with them. The reason you can’t marry your dog, or your preteen daughter or whatever, is that there is a lack of consent involved. Two people—any two people—who consent to the sacraments of marriage should be able to do so. (This, by the way, is also why NAMBLA doesn’t get a pass—boys by definition in our society cannot give consent. Even my gay male friends think NAMBLA is creepy.)
  • He also advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, saying it was necessary to confine “carriers of this plague.” Apparently Huckabee hasn’t kept up with the news. It is true that throughout the lifespan of the epidemic, the plurality of those infected with HIV have been men who contracted the virus through sex with another man. However, if Maryland is any representative, the largest group now is intravenous drug users:
    (http://dhmh.state.md.us/AIDS/Data&Statistics/NewMDQtrEpi.pdf ) and has been for some time now. When I worked at HERO, eleven years ago, about 80% of its clients had gotten the virus from shooting up. Sadly, one big reason gay men aren’t the largest group of carriers any more is that most of them died before effective treatments were developed.

    As you’ll note from the graph in the PDF document referenced above, drug shooters and good old heteros now far surpass gay men as “carriers of this plague.” If we were to actually do what Huckabee suggests and quarantine carriers of HIV, look whom we’d be quarantining (from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivest, about the only time you’ll catch me quoting the government on something):

Transmission Category Estimated # of AIDS Cases, Through 2007*
Adult
and Adolescent Male
Adult
and Adolescent Female
Total
Male-to-male
sexual contact
487,695 487,695
Injection drug use 175,704 80,155 255,859
Male-to-male
sexual contact and injection drug use
71,242 71,242
High-risk heterosexual contact** 63,927 112,230 176,157
Other*** 12,108 6,158 18,266

That’s over a million people, folks. Where, exactly, does he propose quarantining them to?

So in just a few well-placed sound bites, Huckabee manages to piss off a lot of gays, many of whom are Republican; nearly a million HIV-positive voters; as well as a lot of us gay-friendly types who just want to see our friends/parents/siblings/children/coworkers treated fairly. Oh, well—guess he’s not interested in our votes. And without the votes of open-minded, fair, tolerant adults, he’s got no chance to be President.

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It’s already blazing hot here at the beach, which is one of the reasons I moved here. (And, parenthetically, why I don’t move to New Hampshire: I just can’t take winters that cold and snowy any more.) I bought a cute swimsuit last week, a two-piece tankini in tropical bright blues and greens, and I can’t wait to wear it.

At my age, my biggest fear is not how I’ll look in a swimsuit. Frankly, I’m not out there as eye candy for anyone else, and I don’t really give a shit if you think I’m not tan enough, too fat, or too hairy to be on the beach. My biggest fear is that total strangers, eager to share their disagreement with the above, will approach a random stranger (moi) to let me know exactly how I look, as if I didn’t know:

“You really need to shave down there.”

“You shouldn’t be wearing a two-piecer; you don’t have the figure.”

“You really need to visit the tanning booth.”

“You really need to lose some weight.” My personal favorite: like fat people don’t know they’re fat.

The current political climate of “if the government’s involved, that makes it my business because I pay taxes” is more of a symptom than a cause of a bizarre shift in personal behavior in this country I can only describe as the abandonment of privacy. The glut of gossip magazines discussing celebrities’ and wannabes’ every private move; the glut of trashy television programs discussing the same topics; the vast amount of information available on the public Internet, including the terminal narcissism known as Facebook and Twitter—all exposing every second of people’s lives to worldwide scrutiny. Some people think this is a good thing. It is certainly legal, but that doesn’t make it good, proper, or right. I’m still scratching my head over how this happened.

Specifically, if you, a total stranger, tell me any of the above, certainly that is your right. However, it’s none of your business. To paraphrase Thoreau, just because you have a right to say something does not mean that saying it is right. Here’s a tip: Saying nothing—shutting your everloving piehole—is always an option.

So if you’re on the East Coast beaches this summer and you see a middle-aged lady in a blue and green Gottex two-piece tankini, reading The New Yorker, smile, wave hello…and move on.