All In, All Right

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By Maria Padhila

With all the post-election confusion, news coming out without anyone being fully confident about its full import yet, I wanted to start off with some good news: the first openly bisexual woman has been elected to Congress (after a lot of scrapping about the vote count).

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was raised Mormon but is a secularist (she is careful to say she’s not an atheist, but she is being hailed as such by skeptics and atheist groups, and whatever her spiritual orientation is it can only help to restore the balance in the House). Her top issues are veteran support, health and schools, and she has written and spoken about the importance of bringing both sides together in political disputes (bah-dum, but Congress could use that type of balance as well).

Of course the other big sex-and-politics news this week has been the general fraternization flaps. One of my favorite things written so far about the Petraeus/Broadwell affair was by one of my favorite writers, David Simon, who is also the creator of HBO series The Wire and Treme. “The Media’s Sex Obsession is Dangerous and Destructive” is brutally frank about hypocrisy on all fronts, including among journalists, and explains the writer’s own decision to avoid “sex scandals” as a topic for coverage:

Not a year earlier, I think, I’d been guilty of dragging to the front of the metro section some sad sack who happened to serve on a mayor’s advisory committee — an unpaid position, mind you — and happened to get arrested in a car with a lit marijuana cigarette between his lips. At the price of that misdemeanor, I’d messed that guy up good. Wasn’t my fault he caught that charge; hey, I was just the cop shop reporter calling districts and reporting arrests. Don’t shoot the messenger.

And then, like the shitbird that reporters often are obliged to be, I probably left work that night and smoked a joint with the night editor, after which, we went to Burke’s for onion rings. Which we did just about every other night.

Hypocrisy will never go out of style in American journalism or American life. … I told myself that I wasn’t in journalism to chase something so ordinary, so adolescent as other people’s sexuality, that I wouldn’t play this game, that there were better reasons to be a reporter, and there were better things for readers to consume. I knew that one soldier opting out from such a lurid and exalted battlefield of the media wars meant nothing, but I did it anyway. Fuck Gingrich’s divorces. Fuck Lewinsky. Fuck where Herman Cain found some happy moments. I’m not playing anymore. I long ago ceased to even pretend to care.

Other commentators brought up the shocking reality that “cheating” isn’t all that out of the ordinary in the military, due to the travel and separation and work, and that there have been any number of families and couples who have accommodated the realities of the military life through negotiating different types of relationships.

The new DADT appears to be for straights only — you have to lie about it if you have an open or poly relationship. From what I’ve heard and read, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which is an option for some poly people (though one many discover Don’t Work So Well), is pretty common for the duration in the military. What happens in Ramstein stays in Ramstein, so to speak. It also appears that the adultery charge in the military could be one of the most handy and vicious (to my mind) forms of selective enforcement — want someone out, just “catch” them doing what you’d overlook others indulging in.

But no one’s talking about that, nor are they talking about the wars, once this highly efficient weapon of mass distraction hit the news. As I vented in the Facebooks earlier this week: “I heard a rumor about a three-way between a drone, an ice cap and a creek polluted by fracking waste. Now can we get some coverage?”

Maybe, if writer Michael Lind is correct. Like others, he declares that we can’t go back:

By the mid-21st century, an increasingly multiracial and mixed-race U.S. is likely to be far more “European” than today’s America — much less religious and far more secular, with a majority or plurality of all races born out of wedlock, and a much bigger middle-class welfare state, mostly for the elderly, financed by European methods, including a value-added tax. There will still be a right and a left in the United States of 2050. But the right will be calling for a VAT on marijuana of 15 percent instead of 18 percent. And the conservatives of tomorrow will insist, against progressive champions of polyamory, that the law should recognize only marriage between two individuals, not among three or more.

To prepare yourself for this happy day — or just for next week — check out Cunning Minx’s latest Polyamory Weekly podcast, which looks at calendars, scheduling, goal-setting and self care for poly women who are trying to keep it all together. “I work for a startup and have also made work my priority,” she says, “so it is very hard to find energy to date after putting all your passion into your work.” I’m doing my damndest.

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2 Responses to All In, All Right

  1. mariapadhila says:

    Judith Gayle’s column below is required reading, too, for its look at sexual assault in the military.

  2. Lizzy Huffy says:

    Thanks for another great, thought provoking piece, Maria. Love the extract from David Simon – good for him.

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