Disclaimer – I voted for Mayor Sam Adams in the last election. Did not contribute time or money towards his campaign. I did wear a button with his name on it, which was about the extent of my contributions. I also shook his hand when introduced to him at “Candidates Gone Wild” by a family friend who has been involved in local politics for many many years.
You may have heard that Mayor Adams, 42, has admitted to sleeping with an 18-year old intern. Mayor Adams is openly gay. There’s lots of questions and accusations being thrown around about the whole thing. I’m not going to summarize it here; the story has hit the national news in addition to being a local scandal.
I wasn’t going to write about this but since there’s already competing blogs calling for both his recall and for him to stay (hi, Hollie!), and there’s metric tonnes of electrons being spilled on Twitter (among other places, I’m sure), OK, fine, I’ll say my piece and move on.
I have no problem with the following, which are the facts as I know them as of writing this post:
- Had a brief, two month relationship with a man 24 years his junior that apparently included consensual sex.
- Lied about it when asked by co-workers, rival political candidates, and local reporters.
- Convinced the young man to lie about it, too.
I had heard the rumors about Mayor Adams prior to the election, and it did not sway my vote. Because, again, it did not matter to me. I don’t fucking care who a politician sleeps with. I didn’t care when President Clinton was accused of sleeping with Monica Lewinsky; it did not matter to me in the least. It made the scolds who talked about it, endlessly and in national venues, look tiny and small.
To all the gasbags saying that it speaks to Mayor Adams’ “character” or whatever – fuck you. Stop pointing your fingers. I imagine that many of the critics would gladly sleep with an 18 year old, if given the chance. 18 year olds, either male or female, are hot. Duh. And if accused of doing that, I imagine the fear of being found to be a hypocritical Puritan would make those critics lie, too.
I would very much like to see politicians who are brave enough to stand up and say, “That’s not only none of your business, but please feel free to eat shit and die, too” when asked about anything other than policy or professional decisions or the duties and responsibilities of their office.
Having seen “Milk”, I understand that the fear of being open about a minority status might lead to a nutjob aiming a gun at you. I really do understand that; I belong to the most hated minority group remaining in America today, the atheists. There’s so much material just on this very blog that would prevent lots and lots of people from voting me into any office, small or large. I’m an open atheist. I’m scornful of the basic tenets of Christianity and God-belief in general. I frequent strip clubs, and I actually get private dances from the girls; in fact, I’m a regular customer of a small number of them. I drink to excess. I gamble. I spend my money un-wisely. I have testified against my boss. I have a poor work ethic, even though I’m a union steward.
I have often, though, toyed with the idea of running for office anyway. Not just acknowledging all of that, but making it a part of my campaign. There might be enough booze hounds, atheists, waitresses, bouncers, strippers, philosophy and art majors to get me a simple majority, don’t you think? And even if it didn’t… it would be a hell of a party.
But I still think I know the issues well enough to debate them on their merits. I’d like to think I can be logical and reasonable in weighing the pluses and pitfalls of different policies. None of what I do as entertainment would really disqualify me to represent my peers. Would it? Seriously? Feel free to weigh in.
Mayor Adams has big plans for Portland – transportation, energy, sustainability. You name it. And it all fits in with my values, and the values of my friends and family. He can lead on those issues as well as anyone else could, and perhaps, now that he’s been a bit humbled by his mistake in trying to cover up this relationship, he’ll be more willing to work with others to get these things done.
I’m glad he’s apologized for his error in judgement. Now, Mayor Sam Adams should stay, should face up to his accusers and tell them it’s a personal matter, and should get back to the business of making Portland work for everyone in it.