Guest Blogger at The Washington Monthly Roxanne Cooper raised the question: “can either of the two major parties use “Big Love” to their political advantage in November?”.
Big Love is the new HBO series on Polygamy, staring Bill Paxton. There’s been NPR reviews, newspaper articles, and lots of blogging about this, and I gather there’ll be a renewed low-level cultural discussion about polygamy, in part because of this new series. Alas, someone will make the specious argument that polygamy is the natural offspring of allowing same-sex unions (and bestiality too, in some minds…). But that’s another post.
What interests me here is the the first comment to Cooper’s post, by “faketbrosz“:
There is no equivalence between the two parties on this issue.
The party of death and free love will welcome polygamy with open arms and the party of moarality and personal responsibility has already expressed its disgust with anything other than one man on one woman love. The voters resoundingly rejected Kerry’s sales pitch that anything other than that is the truth.
I’m a progressive that thinks a strong moral argument can be made against polygamy. The concern I have is for what polygamy does to the women in the relationship and the unequal power dynamics that are part of it. From what I understand, there are real dangers to women in polygamous relationships. Theologically, how can one person fully offer spousal love and relationship with multiple people? (Its a bit of a stretch, but see Luke 16:13) I have no plan to welcome it “with open arms”. And I don’t think that my support for communal, ritual blessing of same-sex unions opens any door to polygamous ones, or the sanction of just “any” relationship.
I think it would do us good to rethink the moral norms of a progressive sexuality. There are such norms, we just need to articulate them better. Otherwise, people will continue to make some traction with the trope that progressives seemingly will welcome anything “with open arms.”