I’ve got to admit, the kerfluffle around Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife’s interview has me annoyed with just about everybody. I’m annoyed with conservatives for being giant hypocrites and not caring when, ahem, CLINTON. And I’m annoyed with just about everybody else for accepting that an open marriage is a punchline. So let’s take a moment to clarify the situation.
Newt Gingrich’s crime was not that he dared to ask his wife for an open marriage. In fact, I rather respect him for doing that. Deciding to engage in lifestyle that, as a prominent Republican, would potentially endanger his career rather than abandoning a wife and family about which he cared is a reputable choice. The solution, the desire, that was not the crime. Newt’s crime was one of timing.
Cheating is not okay. Breaking the rules you have established with somebody in order to get what you want is, at a minimum, disrespectful to the people with whom you’ve established those rules. Engaging in behavior that can harm or directly damage people you’ve committed to caring about, either through bringing home disease, acquiring the financial burden of a child, or shattering their trust in why you didn’t come home after work, is unacceptable behavior. I am adamantly, aggressively opposed to sleeping around behind the backs of the people you’re sleeping with.
Newt Gingrich’s crime was one of timing. He should have asked for an open marriage before living as if he had one. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you want your wife and family, and another woman. Lying, cheating, and then asking to have the rules changed to accommodate you indicates a lack of character, foresight, and just plain decency that really ought to be the conversation, if we’re going to have one about Gingrich’s sex life at all.
Dude’s a douche, but let’s condemn him for the right reasons, okay?
5 thoughts on “Opening up About Newt”
I had to read the bit about Clinton four times before I got that you meant you were mad at conservatives for not caring what Newt did – it reads at first like you thought conservatives didn’t care about what Clinton did, which was very confusing.
Also, just like any other minority group, people who want social acceptance of open and/or plural marriage will need activists and spokespeople.
That’s not a pointed hint, is it?
A commentary. Someone ought to start a movement for plural relationship acceptance, but I’m pretty sure it’s not you – it should be someone nice, who likes children and puppies and apple pie and football, and is basically super mainstream American other than their relationship type/quantity.
The problem is that no one seems to want to lead that movement – people are all, “no one understands me” every time there’s a news story about someone like Warren Jeffs or this Newt-cheating thing, but then no one with a loving, sane, honest, consensual plural relationship wants to talk about it in front of anyone they don’t know because they’re more concerned about their short-term privacy than long-term rights. It also doesn’t help that everyone I know who’s in a sane plural or open relationship is just as nerdy as us and does 99.5% of their discussion of it on an anonymous blog or in some kind of non-public forum. Blogging isn’t activism unless people actually /read/ the blog in question (ideally people who don’t already agree with it 100%), but it scratches the same itch to talk about issues.
I agree that I am definitely not the right choice for starting an activist movement, but not just because I’d destroy it the first time somebody asks me for my opinion on infantcide.
I think it would be nice if society had institutions that enabled plural/open relationships, and I definitely have a low tolerance for people in those relationships closeting themselves, but I don’t see any particular need for a poly acceptance movement. Unlike with same-sex marriage, plural marriage is a change to the institution. And until we’ve got universal same sex marriage, pushing for legal enabling of plural relationships strikes me as whiny.
Actually, I think what Dan Savage does is perfect and a society where his column isn’t remotely scandalous would be perfect.