Not so long ago I expressed weary indifference to frmr. Sen Chuck Hagel’s anti-gay comments from 1998:
Then-Senator Hagel’s views at the time of the statement are 100% totally irrelevant now. DADT is toast. President Obama would be his boss, and the views of the POTUS are eminently satisfactory to me. Potential-Sec Hagel’s opinions about gays would be utterly irrelevant, so his quondam opinions are even more so. Do I forgive him? Meh. I don’t care enough about him to forgive him, and I doubt he cares about me. At this particular moment, it’s moot. His opinions about gays have no bearing on policy.
I stand by that. I think it’s time to move on. If my chums on the Gay Left use those comments in an attempt to scupper Hagel’s nomination to be Secretary of Defense, I think they will be doing both the country and our shared goals for LGBT equality a disservice.
I dislike the politics of victimhood intensely. I believe the marriage-equality battle is being gradually won because more and more people are coming to the shocking realization that same-sex couples are remarkably, boringly normal, and that giving legal sanction to our relationships won’t cause the country to collapse into anarchy and devil-worship. This is because gay and lesbian people have been making a proactive case for ourselves and arguing the issue on its merits.
Whinging about dunderheaded comments from a decade and a half ago, when the man who made them has repudiated them and apologized… well, it seems pointless to me. Are the comments indefensible? I think so. Hagel isn’t defending them. I would politely suggest we accept the apology and focus on something more useful.
Having read a bit more about what ol’ Chuck had to say back in the day does make me roll my eyes a bit. From TPM:
Then-Sen. Chuck Hagel’s remark to the Omaha World-Herald in 1998 that Clinton ambassadorial nominee James Hormel was “openly aggressively gay” was only a part of what Hagel told the paper about his opposition to Hormel’s nomination.
In additional comments that appeared in the same Omaha World-Herald storyon July 3, 1998, Hagel said that Hormel’s gay conduct in public goes “beyond common sense” and concluded that a gay performance group of men in drag as nuns was “anti-Catholic” upon seeing a video of Hormel at one of its events.
Hormel “very aggressively told the world of his gayness and the funding and all the things he’s been involved in,” Hagel was quoted as saying. “I think you do go beyond common sense there, and reason and a certain amount of decorum.”
“Aggressively gay”? What the hell does that even mean? Did Hormel roam around the countryside tying straight people to chairs and making them listen to old Streisand albums? Did he break into the ESPN offices and replace “Sports Center” with “Liza with a ‘Z'”? I have this vision of him running from person to person on the street, grabbing them by the shoulders and shaking them vigorously while shouting “I’m gay, dammit! Gay, I tell you!”
I have a hard time being offended by something so impossibly dumb. “Aggressively gay” belongs with “severely conservative” in the dustbin of idiotic political descriptors. If being openly and apologetically gay is “aggressive” to conservatives, then I guess that makes me Mike Tyson in smartly tailored pants.
Again, I have absolutely zero desire to dredge all of this up in opposition to Hagel’s nomination. I think he will make a fine Secretary of Defense, and politely request that my fellow ‘mos keep their powder dry for more appropriate targets. But I really do hope Mr. Hagel has the grace to be embarrassed by his previous statements, because they certainly are embarrassing.