Shall We Burn Elena Kagan at the Stake?
Just when we think that those in the political arena could not possibly sink any lower than they already have, they try their level best to prove us wrong!
That was, and remains, my reaction to the recent speculations about the sexual orientation of our most recent Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan.
First of all, Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation should not be an issue for consideration in this matter. Lesbians and gays are as much citizens of our nation as are heterosexuals. They pay taxes. They vote. The carry upon their shoulders every responsibility that comes hand-in-hand with the privilege of American citizenship. While we seem to have to struggle constantly to protect some of the rights of these individuals, and to extend to them all the rights and privileges we heterosexuals enjoy – such as the right to be legally wed – still, as citizens, at least theoretically they should be deserving of all the rights bestowed upon the rest of us American citizens, including the right to serve on the Supreme Court, if nominated and confirmed. That there are certain rights and privileges still denied to them in many states is a testimony to a massive failure in American democracy, and not, as some would prefer to believe, proof positive that they are guilty of some sort of aberrant behavior.
If the implied debate over whether or not gays and lesbians should be permitted to serve on the Supreme Court was not distasteful enough, this stew has been made all the more toxic by the fact that the entire assertion that Elena Kagan is a lesbian has absolutely no basis in fact. This tempest has been stirred up purely on the basis of crass innuendo and the most distasteful of stereotypes (she wears her hair short?!). There is no hard core evidence to demonstrate that she is a lesbian. For that matter, there is no hard core evidence to demonstrate that she is a heterosexual. We know nothing about her sexual orientation. And guess what? It’s none of our business!
This whole matter is nothing more than one of the vilest of smear campaigns. It feeds upon the fears and prejudices of those who insist that homosexuality is an evil – a perverse choice of “life style” – closing their ears, their eyes, and their minds to the professional and scientific testimonies that clearly indicate that everyone’s sexual orientation is determined at such an early stage of our development that it occurs long before we have the ability to make choices and exercise free will. The intent here is to drag a decent woman through the mud just so the perpetrators of this outrage can take a swipe at the President who nominated her.
As a Jew, I guess I should feel fortunate that those who will stop at nothing to discredit the current administration have chosen to target Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation rather than her religion. I guess I should thank God that we are not hearing them protest that the Jews are taking over the Court. After all, when you want to attack those in leadership any hook will do to hang your hat of hate and prejudice!
Personally, I do not know whether or not I will support Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But I most certainly will not base my decision upon whether or not she is a lesbian. Rather, I will base my decision upon a closer examination of her credentials for the job and where she stands on a plethora of issues. How she conducts herself in the privacy of her bedroom is her own business. How capable she is to fulfill the awesome responsibilities of a Supreme Court Justice and how she addresses the important issues which will come before the Court once she is seated – these are my concerns. These and these alone should be all of our concerns.
So let us choose to judge this woman for the type of Justice she will be. This is the only thing that truly counts.