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We Have Bigger Problems than This

Maybe I’m a hell of a lot more socially liberal than your average Republican, but when we have Maoists in the White House, this just doesn’t seem to be a really big deal. I mean, I wouldn’t say an adult should condone a kid in his mid to late teens having a relationship with an older person, but if it wasn’t another teacher, or anyone else known to the adult, I’m not sure what conservatives are expecting here. I’m also not sure what this has to do with any “homosexual agenda” that is a favorite of conservatives.

I don’t expect Republicans to come out in favor of gay marriage, or to embrace gay sex in the streets, or anything like that. But beating up on gays when it’s politically convenient might win them votes for now, but it’s killing them with people under 30.

22 Responses to “We Have Bigger Problems than This”

  1. Chris says:

    Not sure it is really an issue either but in most states teachers are REQUIRED by law to report ANY suspected crimes against children. If he failed to do so, he committed a crime.

  2. Guav says:

    Except Chris, the boy was of the legal age of consent at the time, so no laws were being broken–what would you have him do?

  3. Steven says:

    There’s a difference between what’s legally required and what’s right. Legally required is black and white. For the rest, it’s a matter of judgement. Jennings had poor judgement.

    A student (HS sophomore) comes to an authority figure and says he’s having a sexual relationship with an older man he met in a bus station bathroom and – oh by the way – is also thinking of killing himself. He may not be legally required to report it, but someone with judgement would do something other than advising the student to use a condom.

    I disagree that this makes him a bad person (his support of NAMBLA figure Harry Hay does a fine job of that on its own), but the incident pretty clearly indicates he does not have the judgement neccessary to be in charge of SAFE SCHOOLS.

    He’s a surrogate for (and buddy of) Ayers, whose ideas on education Obama really wants to permeate the school system. Ayers is so sullied, though, that Obama has to find like-minded stand ins for him.

  4. mikeb302000 says:

    “I’m a hell of a lot more socially liberal than your average Republican.” I really like that about you. Your Republican friends could learn a thing or two from you.

  5. Brad says:

    Sebastian

    The problem isn’t with his past behavior (which technically violated the law) so much as it is with his past professed ideology. You are aware of the NAMBLA connection aren’t you? That’s what’s really weird about this guy, as weird and as bad as the commies and malthusians which litter the Obama administration.

  6. Mike Gordon says:

    Poor Judgement? I am a teacher and I can tell you that what Jennings did was way more than poor judgement. Once a child tells you about some form of abuse or what is an illegal act you are responsible not to coach that child but to report the abuse. More than few teachers have lost their licenses for failure to report abuse instead of like Jennings being rewarded with a cushy job.

    And another thing, why are social liberals surprised that conservatives are…well conservative about some things?

  7. Guav says:

    Steven: They met on the bus, not in the bus station bathroom (the kid wasn’t a Republican Senator, after all), and he (the former kid) also states unequivocally that “I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time,” although doing so would have been legal, since he was 16.

    For the sake of argument though, let’s pretend some kid was 15 and had sex with a man he met in a bathroom, and that Jennings’ response exhibited poor judgement. Jennings was 24 at the time, and maybe YOU never exhibited poor judgement even once when you were 24, but I made some pretty bad decisions when I was 24–as do most people. But they don’t reflect on my judgement as a 37 year old. Most people mature quite a bit over the years and it’s pretty absurd to claim that 45 year- old Jennings “has bad judgement” because of something he should have handled different when he was in his early 20’s.

    Brad: The supposed “NAMBLA connection” is that Jennings praised Harry Hay as a gay civil rights pioneer–which he was–for his role in starting the first gay rights support group in America in 1950–which was a very significant accomplishment. Upon Hays’ death, numerous obtuaries also lauded him for the same thing. Jennings’ comments had nothing to do with NAMBLA. Hays himself was not a member of NAMBLA. Jennings has no “NAMBLA connection” whatsoever.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Mike:

    Once they are sixteen, I think it’s more difficult to classify it as abuse. It might be illegal, depending on the state, but that’s largely because the law has to draw a line somewhere. The whole idea of statutory rape laws is that young individuals are incapable of understanding what they are consenting to, but it’s hard to suggest that a 16 year old kid doesn’t understand what he’s consenting to.

    What disturbs me more than the age factor is the fact that Jennings didn’t seem to be phased by hooking up in a public bathroom. Did anyone think to check if it was Larry Craig?

  9. Ian Argent says:

    Agreed on the killing support with folks under 30. I’d move it up to 40, myself. And even more so with the limited.gov types.

  10. windex1 says:

    Has Larry Craig resigned yet?

  11. Link P says:

    Lt. Governor and former Governor Jim Risch replaced Larry Craig on January 3 of this year.He now operates the consulting firm New West Strategies with his former chief of staff Mike Ware, focusing on energy issues.

  12. Steven says:

    Guav @7 –

    Regardless of what “the kid” says now that the issue is public, in Jennings’ own mind and by his own telling “the kid” was 15 and was having sexual contact with an older man he met in the bus station bathroom. He says all of that on tape. If Jennings is a liar who embellished the story to aggrandize himself, then that’s another issue that also goes to his judgment.

    I think 24 is a little old to claim “youthful indiscretion.” At a certain point in your life – before age 24 I think – you cease to be youthful and start being just a jackass who makes bad decisions. Especially if you put yourself in a position of authority dealing with children. Was there a “Warning: Bad Youthful Decision Being Made” sign on his door?

    He was praising Hay the gay activist, not Hay the NAMBLA supporter? So I can go ahead and praise David Duke the wildlife photographer and expect to be appointed to high office sometime down the road?

  13. Guav says:

    He was praising Hay the gay activist, not Hay the NAMBLA supporter?

    Yes, it’s pretty clear he was praising him for his groundbreaking gay activism, and he did not praise him for supporting NAMBLA. Calling this a “connection” to NAMBLA” is completely ridiculous.

    So I can go ahead and praise David Duke the wildlife photographer …


    If David Duke had PIONEERED wildlife photography decades before he decided to be a Klan member, and you were a wildlife photographer yourself, talking about wildlife photography, then sure, why the hell not? I’d have to be a frickin idiot to assume that you were a Klan member without much more compelling reason than that.

    … and expect to be appointed to high office sometime down the road?


    I don’t know if you could “expect” to be appointed to a high office. But if you worked at it, I don’t see a problem with you gaining high office despite the fact that you, a wildlife photographer, once praised someone for basically inventing wildlife photography.

  14. Steven says:

    Nice use of quotation technology I didn’t know was available here, but weak argument so narrow as to be irrelevant.

    I think you know that anyone who praises David Duke or Hitler or Mousillini or Pol Pot in any regard would be rightfully run out of public life just like someone who praises Harry Hay or Chairman Mao should be. The evil ideas and/or actions those figures embody far outweigh and overshadow whatever narrow little thing they may have done right.

    That’s what I get for assuming praising David Duke in any regard was a totally facetious notion. It’s almost like the old joke about there being a lot wrong with Mousillini “but at least he made the trains run on time” never existed.

  15. Guav says:

    My argument is “weak,” but your analogy is rock solid, since we all know that protesting the exclusion of NAMBLA from participation in gay parades in the 80’s is exactly the same thing as invading half of the world and starting a war that killed 70 million people and trying to wipe several races of people from the face of the planet.

    Ok, maybe it’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s pretty damn close, and I’m sure we can all agree that Harry Hay is basically Adolf Hitler …. and Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung, Josef Stalin (you forgot him) all rolled into one, with David Duke garnishing the top like a maraschino cherry.

    Look, comparing Hay to Duke itself was an absurd analogy (Duke was an actual Grand Wizard of the KKK, Hay was never a member of NAMBLA and didn’t fuck little boys) but then throwing every major murderous dictator from the 20th century in there just elevated your argument to so ludicrous as to be irrelevant.

    Back to Jennings: Bad judgement, possibly criminal negligence? We can have that discussion, there’s an argument to be made. “NAMBLA connection”? Give me a break, seriously.

  16. Steven says:

    Hay was “not a NAMBLA” member? Because NAMBLA releases their member list to whom exactly? I think running around the country being their main cheerleader for decades, carrying “NAMBLA walks with me” signs makes you a de facto member whether or not you actually paid dues and got a tee-shirt. And, again, I’m interested in how exactly you can say “Hay didn’t fuck little boys” with such certainty when he was the most public face for a group which advocated doing just that. And if I know this, Jennings certainly knew this before he called the child rape cheerleader an “inspiration.”

    The only differences between Hitler and someone like David Duke are means and skill. Just because someone like David Duke or Harry Hay were less successful in their endeavors than people like Hitler or Karla Homolka (respectively, of course, wouldn’t want to give the impression of anything less than a pure 1:1 analogy during an internet discussion) doesn’t make their race cleansing / child raping intent any less evil.

    Congratulations on your passionate public defense of administration officials lauding child rape enthusiasts, though. And I read that ideological purity was passe.

  17. Sebastian says:

    I’m not going to make the argument that Harry Hay is as bad as Hitler, but I don’t agree with his tactics or his activism. His association with Nambla is surely despicable.

    If you can show me Jennings believes Hay was a role model, I’ll agree he ought not to be running safe schools. But the article doesn’t say anything about that.

  18. Guav says:

    Steven:

    Hay was “not a NAMBLA” member? Because NAMBLA releases their member list to whom exactly?

    No, because Hay said in 1994, in an interview with the Gay Community News,

    “I am not a member of NAMBLA, nor would it ever have been my inclination to be one.”

    The only differences between Hitler and someone like David Duke are means and skill. Just because someone like David Duke or Harry Hay were less successful in their endeavors than people like Hitler

    Dude, seriously—I generally don’t invoke Godwin’s Law, because I think that sometimes it’s valid to bring up Hitler in a debate, but this is just completely ludicrous. You are being ludicrous by trying to compare Harry hay to Adolf Hitler. Do you seriously have no other way of arguing your case other than calling people Pol Pot?

    I have no idea who Karla Homolka is.

    Sebastian:

    If you can show me Jennings believes Hay was a role model, I’ll agree he ought not to be running safe schools.

    What Jennings said was:

    “One of the people that’s always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America. In 1948, he tried to get people to join the Mattachine Society [the first American homosexual “rights” group]. It took him two years to find one other person who would join.”

  19. Steven says:

    My point was that there are some people whose beliefs and ideals are so at odds with what’s acceptable in society that you do not praise them no matter what small things they manage to do right. How you judge who those people are is not based on the results of their actions, but based on their intent.

    Hay’s intent – his goal – was to make NAMBLA and their doctrine of adults having sex with children mainstream, and that intent is evil and should result in Hay being shunned from society regardless of the fact that he was not successful in his endeavor. Anyone who finds him an “inspiration” in any regard is not qualified to oversee anything to do with children.

    My point about Hay’s NAMBLA membership was that there’s a certain point at which your support of a group is tacit membership regardless of whether you’ve signed the form and paid the dues, and that Hay reached that point and kept running forward.

  20. Guav says:

    My point was that there are some people whose beliefs and ideals are so at odds with what’s acceptable in society that you do not praise them no matter what small things they manage to do right.

    Yes, and understand your point. It certainly applies to someone like Hitler. There are people whose negative accomplishments are much greater and far-reaching than their positive ones. Then there are people whose positive accomplishments are far greater and far-reaching than their negative ones.

    Harry Hay’s main purpose and accomplishment in life was not defending NAMBLA. His main accomplishment in life—what he is known and recognized for—is creating the first gay organization/support group in 1950 which, regardless of your views on homosexuality, actually really is a very major accomplishment.

    It was this accomplishment that Jennings recognized him for.

    How you judge who those people are is not based on the results of their actions, but based on their intent.


    Oh, I don’t know … Let’s say Hitler, instead of invading everyone, had set out to find a vaccine that killed all Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals—but instead it ended up curing cancer. His Jew-killing on a massive scale having failed, I’m pretty sure he’d probably be recognized today as the man who cured cancer. Same intent, far different results.

    Is Henry Ford remembered more as an anti-Semite who was admired by Hitler, mentioned in Mein Kampf and received a Nazi medal and, or do we usually remember him as the founder of the Ford Motor Company who invented the Model T and modern assembly lines?

    I would argue that people are generally judged by the the results of their actions, and not their intent. Some people have done some horrible things with good intent—it’s the results they are remembered for.

  21. Steven says:

    Honestly, it doesn’t matter what Hay’s main purpose in life was; his vocal, passionate support of NAMBLA disqualifies him as a participant in civil society. Period.

  22. Guav says:

    Guess we’ve taken this as far as it’s gonna go. Thank you for the discussion.

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