Apparently, if you want something to be apolitical, you just have to say that it is.
A short item in today's KC Star reports that Mary Cheney has declared that her decision to have a baby with her longtime female partner is "not political."
"This is a baby," said Cheney. "This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue."
The blessing part I agree with wholeheartedly. I also believe that there will be a day when the rest of that statement is true. That will be a great day. After all, it is generally not a "political" decision when a straight couple chooses to have a child. At least not "political" in the sense of "political football."
Mary Cheney's decision to have a child and raise it with another woman is, however, a political football with extra air. That's because her party (she's a proud Republican just like dear old Dad) has made gay marriage a primary plank in its platform. Mary Cheney herself is on record against gay marriage.
The primary argument against gay marriage is the Family Argument. You know this one: "Marriage is for producing children...children need a father and a mother...gay people can't be married because they can't produce a child without help, and will certainly screw up the raising of said child."
You don't just get to say "this isn't political." The truth is, a lot of things are. Especially things which have to do with how we all live together out there in the polis.
You really don't get to pick and choose what is "political" when it suits you. Mary Cheney and her mother, Lynn, were more than happy to hit the talk show circuit after John Kerry made a comment about Mary Cheney's lesbianism in a debate in 2004. It was a positive comment, but Republicans in general, and the Cheney family in specific, saw it as purely political. (I saw it as dumb. Calculated and dumb. The point was most certainly to point out that the Emperor's daughter has no clothes.)
This is what Lynn Cheney said about Kerry's remark: "This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
So it's "political" to name Mary Cheney as a lesbian (which wasn't a secret--it's not like he outed her--he just used her to point out that Vice's daughter has a funny relationship to The Platform). But her decision to have a child and raise it in one of those households that will lead to the fall of Western society is not "political?" Quick, get down before you fall off of The Platform!
One more thing, and then I'll try not to write anything about queers or Republicans for a while. That is not a promise--you know how "political" I am.
Another little item in the paper (I'd link them, but neither is on the Star site) informs us that Lance Kinzer--an Olathe Republican in the Kansas House--is introducing HB 2299. The purpose of HB 2299 is to "prohibit local governments from setting up registries or recognizing 'any domestic partner relationship not recognized under state law.'" The precipitating event is Lawrence city officials' consideration of a domestic partner registry. Since the Kansas Constitution now bans gay marriage, Rep. Kinzer wants to make sure that no municipalities offer protection to gay couples, either. (The Lawrence registry would cover unmarried straight couples, but I'm willing to bet that this part of the proposal isn't what sent Kinzer to his computer keyboard.)
As long as the Grand Ole Party continues to fight against civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, a lot of what we do is going to be "political." The decision to marry in a church will be a political one--there will be people who think it's wrong out there in the polis, and probably in our families. The decision to have a child will be political. Especially when you try to protect the child and the "non-biological parent" legally. In many states, like, oh, Missouri and Kansas, you'll find that you can't. So if something happens to the birth parent, the remaining parent will be at the mercy of the birth parent's family and the legal system.
This stuff is real, and it is political.
I really, honestly, think it is wonderful that Mary Cheney is having a baby. I really, honestly, wish she could do so without public scrutiny. But we don't get to choose what the public scrutinizes. The public is insatiable. They love their politics.