We live in such interesting times that a hitherto boring pol made a big splash today: Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Portman is so boring that the reason he was considered as Willard Mittbot Romney’s running mate is that he was so dull that he wouldn’t overshadow Willard.
Today, of course, Portman came our for marriage equality for highly personal reasons: his college age son is gay and came out to his parents a few years back. This reason has been controversial among some of my brothers and sisters on the left. Matt Yglesias and Irin Carmon made some very good points in their respective pieces at Slateand Salon. On one level, it *is* a pity that it took personal experience and empathy to change Portman’s mind BUT as an acquaintance and acolyte of the late great Harvey Milk’s I am here to praise Portman, not to bury him, as it were. This is precisely *why* Harvey wanted gays and lesbians to come out. It’s harder to harbor irrational hatreds when you know the object of that fear and loathing. Personal experience matters.
In short, I’m glad Senator Portman has changed his mind on marriage equality. He’s not the only supporter of DOMA who has changed their position. Bill Clinton signed it into law whlist triangulating his way to re-election in 1996.
Finally, Harvey Milk has been on my mind this week. Remember the Cruz-Feinstein joustover guns, the constitution, and *her* personal experience of gun violence? She said: “When you come from where I’ve come from and what you’ve seen, when you
found a dead body and put your finger in bullet holes, you really
realize the impact of weapons.”
The bullet riddled body she referred to was that of Harvey Milk. Personal experience matters.