andrew-sullivan

I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.
—  The key quote from Anderson Cooper’s letter to Andrew Sullivan where he admits that he’s gay.
We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”
— 

Andrew Sullivan

Homophobia: The fear that another man will treat you like you treat women. 

To my mind, Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal. He came back like a lethal, but restrained predator. He was able to defend his own record, think swiftly on his feet, and his Benghazi answer was superb. He behaved luke a president. He owned the presidency. And Romney? Well, he has no answers on the math question and was exposed. He was vulnerable on every social issue, especially immigration. And he had no real answer to the question of how he’d be different than George W Bush.

I’m excitable - but sometimes politics is about emotion as well as reason. And my view is that Obama halted Romney’s momentum in its tracks and his performance will bring women voters in particular flooding back. He’s just more persuasive. On watching with the sound off - apart from weird gaps in the CSPAN coverage - Obama did not grin like Biden; he smiled confidently, leaning forward. Within twenty minutes, Romney looked flush and a little schvitzy.

Game, set and match to Obama. He got it; he fought back; he gave us all more than ample reason to carry on the fight.

—  That’s Andrew Sullivan on tonight’s debate.
The great conservative bugaboo, Obamacare, is also far more moderate than its critics have claimed…Yes, it crosses the Rubicon of universal access to private health care. But since federal law mandates that hospitals accept all emergency-room cases requiring treatment anyway, we already obey that socialist principle—but in the most inefficient way possible. Making 44 million current free-riders pay into the system is not fiscally reckless; it is fiscally prudent. It is, dare I say it, conservative…What liberals have never understood about Obama is that he practices a show-don’t-tell, long-game form of domestic politics. What matters to him is what he can get done, not what he can immediately take credit for. And so I railed against him for the better part of two years for dragging his feet on gay issues. But what he was doing was getting his Republican defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to move before he did. The man who made the case for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was, in the end, Adm. Mike Mullen.
—  Andrew Sullivan absolutely kills this.  He defends Obama’s first term as remarkably prolific, moderate and true to principle.  Hear, hear. 

I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. …

But this much I know: nothing will ever be like this again, which is why it has been so precious; and why it will always be a part of me, wherever I go; and why it is so hard to finish this sentence and publish this post.

—  Adieu, Andrew Sullivan
How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics

Presenting the first three paragraphs of Andrew Sullivan’s epic takedown of President Barack Obama’s critics, on newsstands & online today.

You hear it everywhere. Democrats are disappointed in the president. Independents have soured even more. Republicans have worked themselves up into an apocalyptic fervor. And, yes, this is not exactly unusual.   

A president in the last year of his first term will always get attacked mercilessly by his partisan opponents, and also, often, by the feistier members of his base. And when unemployment is at remarkably high levels, and with the national debt setting records, the criticism will—and should be—even fiercer. But this time, with this president, something different has happened. It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama from the enraged right and the demoralized left. It’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong.

A caveat: I write this as an unabashed supporter of Obama from early 2007 on. I did so not as a liberal, but as a conservative-minded independent appalled by the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture. I did not expect, or want, a messiah. I have one already, thank you very much. And there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made—to drop the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, to ignore the war crimes of the recent past, and to launch a war in Libya without Congress’s sanction, to cite three. But given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.

Keep reading.

Anderson Cooper: “I’m gay”

In an email exchange with The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, CNN host Anderson Cooper tells Sullivan that he is gay.

“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” Cooper says. Cooper also explains that although he had always been very open about his sexual orientation to friends and family, others misinterpreted his silence:

“It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.”

andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com
I was going to do a roundup of reactions, but then I saw Andrew Sullivan's and said screw it, because I knew none of the others would be 10 percent as good. So here it is, in full.

It’s been a long long slog these past five years of backing the skinny guy with the funny name. But this election, to my mind, is immensely more important than the breakthrough of 2008, after the catastrophe of Bush-Cheney. What it has done is rip open the complete epistemic closure on the Republican right about what America now is. It has revealed that Fox News, Drudge, and the rest have been engaged in a massive propaganda campaign to create an alternative reality and get the rest of us to go along.

But this president has never been a radical; he has always been a moderate; he has been immensely skilled at foreign policy, ended one war and won another, killed Osama bin Laden and saved the American auto industry, deflected a Second Great Depression and initated universal access to healthcare. He has presided over a civil rights revolution and the beginning of the end of prohibition of marijuana. He has created the new and durable coalition that was once Karl Rove’s dream.

Americans saw this. They were not fooled. And they made the right call, as they usually do. What was defeated tonight was not just Romney, a hollow cynic, but a whole mountain of mendacity and delusion. That sound you hear is the cognitive dissonance ringing in the ears of ideologues and cynics. Any true conservative longs for that sound, the sound of reality arriving to pierce through fantasy and fanaticism.

We are the ones we have been waiting for. And now we have entrenched it deeply in the history of America and the world. That matters. May the next four years make it matter even more.

That said, the reaction by Ace of Spades HQ was pretty rich.

I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
—  Andrew Sullivan, This I Believe
In some ways, our personal digital records are very much the summation of ourselves. Not our physical, intimate, human selves – the selves we eat with and run with and fall in love with – but our abstracted Selves, the conglomeration of every detail, feeling, idea, thought, impulse, and friend that tells the story of me. Long after I am dead, will that not be the most accessible incarnation of me – alongside all the published words I have written in part to live past my physical expiration date? Will I not continue to exist in some form that is available to all of humankind for ever?
— 

Beautiful and necessary meditation by Andrew Sullivan on what happens once we concede that our memory (and our selves) will belong to the cloud.

And yet, for centuries, the same has happened with the diaries and letters of the dead, which have always held enormous allure to the living.

Labeling the violent acts of those Muslim Others as “terrorism” - but never our own - is a key weapon used to propagate this worldview. The same is true of the tactic that depicts their violence against us as senseless, primitive, savage and without rational cause, while glorifying our own violence against them as noble, high-minded, benevolent and civilized (we slaughter them with shiny, high-tech drones, cluster bombs, jet fighters and cruise missiles, while they use meat cleavers and razor blades). These are the core propagandistic premises used to sustain the central narrative on which the War on Terror has depended from the start (and, by the way, have been the core premises of imperialism for centuries). That is why those most invested in defending and glorifying this War on Terror become so enraged when those premises are challenged, and it’s why they feel a need to use any smears and distortions (he’s justifying terrorism!) to discredit those who do.
We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “that’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you were afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly. “But,” I continued, “as a young woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.
—  Homophobia: the fear that another man will treat you like you treat women.
Andrew Sullivan