Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sam's Beau Job

Okay, first off, here's your weekly introduction to our latest inspiring person in the Mesmer Project. After the revelations about our mayor, we could use some inspiration.

I've been seriously upset about this, and totally disoriented. The simple truth is often neither, but we can all agree that Sam fucked up big time. Or perhaps fucked down. Either way, his actions give new meaning to the term inaugural ball. Yes, he should have known that Breedlove's name is a noun, not a verb. But the calls for his resignation are way out of proportion.

Let me make this clear: THE MAN DID NOTHING ILLEGAL. Neither the sex nor the lie was against the law. Wrong? Yes. But as city council member Amanda Fritz said yesterday, “I’ve been a psychiatric nurse for twenty years and there’s not a person in this room who hasn’t made mistakes and lied to cover them up.” So everyone should put down their stones.

Personally, I think anyone over the age of 25 should put a velvet rope across the doorway of their bedrooms and follow what I think of the Studio 54 Rule: no one under 21 gets in. But we’re human. Elvis fell in love with Priscilla Presley when he was 24 and she was 14. When they consummated that relationship is an open question. Of course, Adams is the mayor of Portland and not the King of rock ‘n roll, but what I'm saying is that it's too easy to portray this relationship as predatory without looking at the specifics.

Three weeks after he turned 18, a hot gay boy got some summer lovin’ with a sexy, single older man. Of course, he could have joined the army instead and shot another man and that'd be okay. But, like so many of us at that age, he wanted to get laid. Often. And 42 goes into 18 just as easily as 18 goes into 42.

Personally, I'd love to hear from Beau Breedlove at this point, who moved on from Sam to another older man. If Beau wasn't bothered by the relationship, then the rest of us should shut our Puritan pie holes and get back to more important matters like gossiping about our neighbors.

For those who say they can't get over the lies, that Sam can never be trusted again, I say get real. He's the same man we elected, just one who fucked up. Or down. Or maybe sideways.

Sam himself said, "I don't think an apology is enough...I'm very ashamed. And humbled. And humiliated. And that's appropriate...I'm going to have to work to regain people's trust. I have a lot of work to do."

I say we give him the chance to do just that.

PS Regarding that other politician, you know the one who made history yesterday, here's what I had to say on the NPR website about his proposed arts policy. I'd be curious to know your thoughts on that matter, too, so please leave a comment there.


Lisa said...

"But as city council member Amanda Fritz said yesterday, “I’ve been a psychiatric nurse for twenty years and there’s not a person in this room who hasn’t made mistakes and lied to cover them up.” So everyone should put down their stones."

Hear, hear! I'm so glad to read your comments, Marc. Did Adams make a mistake? Absolutely. Does this mistake automatically mean he'll be a poor mayor? Probably not. He's an openly gay man in a country only now beginning to concede that well, maybe gay people aren't so bad after all. He has a lot of work ahead of him to fix this blunder. But people have inappropriate sex all the time, and lie about it and other things. Those people shouting for Adams' head need to put down those Puritanical values along with the stones, and be honest with themselves. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone lies. Admitting that he lied was an important first step in fixing the mistake.

Kate said...

Sex scandals have been a part of politics as long as people have been a part of politics. Oregon's former senator Bob Packwood was convinced to resign, because the women he went after didn't all consent.

Bill Clinton stayed in office, but was impeached. Like Adams, Clinton's condemnation was for lying - not philandering. The difference is that Adams never lied under oath. He just lied under campaign.

It's hard to say if Adams would have been elected had he been honest from the beginning. He was a good city councilmen, and hopefully he will prove himself as a good mayor.

Having more homosexuals in political office isn't going to change the number of sex scandals surrounding our politicians - it is only going to change the people tied up in the debate.

Noah, Post-Diluvian said...

Marco, you seem to have hit this issue right on the head.

Sam Adams did nothing illegal.

I was just having a discussion about this whole mess with my boyfriend last night and he brought up the point that it was stupid on Adams' part due to his position as a gay political figure (thus garnering a significantly higher level of public scrutiny).

My counter to this point was that the whole issue being brought to light in such an over-sensationalized manner is indicative of a completely different and much broader issue: personal lives are not proper dictations of political capability.

While the moral fact that Adams lied about the nature of his relationship with Breedlove (God, I LOVE that name and its automatic infamy) stands, the fact that he lied about it predicates someone asking.
What right does the public have to know intimate details of someone's life merely because they're a political figure.

Politics and the people involved are just that, politics and people.

It's not a high school lunch room or student body government run by shameless favoritism, popularity ratings, and nepotism (although sometimes it's difficult to see the difference).

As a public (and specifically as any ostensibly honorable news association) we ought to be focusing our attentions on issues of state, as opposed to issues of sex.

Sure, sex is flashy, edgy, sexy, and scintillating. But it's not pivotal in shaping the future of our society.

It's my feeling that this newly touted issue should give us all pause to contemplate just what we validate as newsworthy and what we're passing over in exchange for a front page spread about what is going on behind closed doors.

Fran said...

Sex and politics. Yeah, and so?

The only time I care about politicians having extramarital sex is if they're right-wing nutjobs who hate gays and then turn out to be having gay sex on the side. And it's not the extramarital sex that I want to know about, it's the blatant hypocrisy.

So they had sex? Of all the people who are having hissy fits, how many of them could have a good, bright spotlight turned on THEIR sex lives?

Not me, baby!

It has nothing to do with what kind of mayor he is. People should just get over it and move on.

cynthia said...

I appreciate the views on this blog because it seems like most of the news channels are focusing more on the people who want to crucify Sam Adams. One of the channels did a poll and aired that 53 % or more said they thought he should step down. I thought that was outrageous and they had me believing I was the only one who wasn't overreacting. But then I thought about it. People who have been eagerly waiting for him to screw-up were the first to respond to the on-line poll they had and the news team jumped at the chance to report the skewed results. It makes their news seem more exciting. It was also reported that the police dept wants him to step down. I think that the majority of the police are the same caliber as the eager people who responded to the poll. On a spectrum I think the police are closer to skinheads than gay men. Sam Adams is a fine mayor and he should be allowed to admit his mistake, apologize and move on.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. As if he waited a few short weeks until Beau Breedlovin' turned 18...who believes that?

I'd be able to say, yah, its his bizness if they didn't keep showing that interview from 2007 where he said it was a typical smear campaign against the gay guy. Freakin' hypocrite.

Marc Acito said...

Actually, Anonymous, I do believe he waited. And it was a smear--and is--a smear to say that he didn't.

Also, I'd prefer you give your name when leaving comments.

David S said...

God, I'm glad I didn't go into politics. To think I'd be judged most for the biggest mistake I made in my life, rather than the sum total of my contributions to society, both little and small, makes me shudder.

Anonymous said...

Hopfully this can be a teachable moment. Mr. Breedlove is no shrinking violet. He seems to be doing quite well for himself. The time in question was, I believe, shortly after Adams had ended his longtime relationship (12 years) with his former "partner". As a 40 something man myself, I'm not sure if I would have had the ability to say no to a handsome, articulate young man at such a point in my life. I have been the 17-18 year old involved with a man that later (20 years) was run out of office of another NW city. and I've been the 40 year old with the 18 year old. The dynamic between older and younger gay men is a complicated one, sometimes comprising many roles in both directions. No one should say that they know what they would have done.
I hope that Same does not blink and rides this out,
and that the self hating homophobes among us stop throwing stones from their own glass houses, I think the panes are already cracked.

Terri said...

Did you ever think it would be you, who became the voice of reason?

therese said...

What does someone's past sex life have to do with his ability to do his job today? Was it on the beach? Were they both arrested for indecent exposure then?

Continue being the voice of reason, Marc, strongly.

I'm highly offended that reporters are paid for writing these type of stories.

Anonymous said...

Sam Adams lied, and those lies got him elected. That's what I'm mad about and that's why I want his resignation right now.

I don't care who he legally sleeps with, in fact, I'd rather not hear about it at all. When another potential mayoral candidate brought up the fact that maybe Adams was sleeping with boys I joined in with Adams denouncing the accusations. I felt that a homophobic smear campaign shouldn't be part of Portland politics.

Now I hear that Mr. Adams has slept with a young man, only now the story is that he waited until the boy in reached the age of consent. My question for Mr. Adams is this: "I was left hanging out to dry defending you the last time you claimed to be telling the truth, how can I defend you now that you've admitted to being a liar?"

I am ashamed. I am ashamed for believing Mr. Adams and sharing that belief with my friends and other politically minded Portlanders. I can not believably defend him any more and I wish for the sake of Portland and for my own credibility he would quickly resign.

Marc Acito said...

Okay, that's it. From now on, there's no more anonymous comments. If you're not willing to identify yourself to back up your statements, I'm not willing to provide you a forum.

As for the last statement, don't be so cold. He's a human being--he got cornered and he ran for cover. Give him a break. If he survives as mayor, he'll be the most scrutinized city official ever.

Gregory Adams said...

The last anonymous comment is where this is directed:

HOW can you prove that the lies got him elected? You can't. Flat out. Yes, the mayoral election was close, but that's because people paid attention to policies and whether they thought Sam would do a good job. His personal life is his own business, he should not have to bear scrutiny from anyone, including his constituents, unless of course he breaks a law, which, as far as I know, as long as both parties are above 18, there's no real issue here.

But again, prove that lying about a short lived affair got him elected. I dare you. It would be quite amusing to watch you chase threads and whispers.

Jake said...

We, as Portlanders, should hold our Mayor to not only a legal standard but a moral standard as well.

Gregory said...

BUT WHY? Why should the mayor, a flesh and blood human being who puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else, be held to some higher code than Joe Schmo the plumber? He was elected by the people from among the populace, he self identified himself as a leader by stepping up and volunteering, how does that act of selflessness leave him open to being held to a higher standard?