Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Political is Personal - Andrew Sullivan

I read Andrew Sullivan daily, an admittedly odd habit for a Christian conservative. Back in the day, he was an eloquent supporter of the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. Now he is one of the most radical and influential denouncers of these wars and the techniques used in their execution.

Something happened to Andrew a few years ago that caused him to turn against George W. Bush. I give no credence to the rumors of "Aids Dementia" or "Testosterone Psychosis" favored by some of the uglier sectors of the blogosphere.

I think the reason for Andrew's change of heart was much simpler - he fell in love. His husband Aaron is at least marginally part of the artistic community - Andrew has posted links indicating that he is an actor. I know very little about Aaron, but I do know that the artistic community is unrepentantly leftist and rabidly anti-war and anti-Bush.

I have personal experience with this kind of transformation. I was a small government pro-life conservative for many years before I met my own husband. He was raised in a politically active, Democratic family. After we got to know each other and began discussing our political philosophies, my then-future husband came to embrace my views even more strongly than I did.

I suspect that something similar happened to Andrew. He has always opposed some aspects of conservative philosophy, such as denial of gay rights. Therefore, some leftist positions were therefore easy for him to adopt. But the exposition of "torture", i.e. Abu Ghraib and the use of waterboarding, seemed to ignite his fury towards Republicans. I personally believe that torture is wrong except in extreme circumstances. Perhaps there were occasions when our military and intelligence personnel went too far and abused prisoners unnecessarily. Since we were and are at war, I am inclined to overlook these instances as anecdotal.

His pursuit of "Trig Trutherism" is very strange. That, and his hatred of Hillary Clinton, makes me wonder if there is something in him that is very anti-woman. I don't really have an opinion of Sarah Palin as a political figure but I think her treatment by the media has been unfair. I also think that Andrew has a big blind spot for Obama's shortcomings, possibly because he finds Obama to be an attractive man. Andrew never seems to find fault with Obama and demonizes his opponents as "nihilists" and "Christianists". I emailed Andrew about his support for health care reform, which I see as a dangerous threat to individal freedoms. He responded in a very pleasant manner but expressed no concern that such reform conflicted with "conservative" principles.

Blah, blah, blah. I could go on but I think my point could best be summarized as, Andrew was converted to leftism by his love for a specific leftist person.

1 comment:

Bill Dalasio said...

With all due respect to your husband (to the extent his change of views mirrors Sullivan's), I think that Sullivan's conversion, if you are right, makes me take his political views profoundly unseriously. It means Sullivan's views are for sale. If he and his lover have a falling out, is he going to switch back to conservatism? Whatsmore, it makes me question his security about his relationship with his beau. Is their relationship so shallow it can't take a disagreement on politics?