Private Thoughts, Public Sphere: Why a Candidate’s Beliefs Matter

Yet again campaign blather inspires a trip to the keyboard for notes about personal things and power and why a candidate’s beliefs matter. The issue of the right to marry again figures.

Most everyone accepts a compromise regarding personal autonomy, particularly in today’s world. But seeking control or limitation of the rights and actions of others in their private lives beyond the essential seems authoritarian. Using law and state resources, such as police, to justify and enforce the effort would be totalitarian, as well. Given that, should a Presidential candidate believe, even religiously, that it is right to regulate private life? Does that opinion about governance and power indicate other things about the candidate that one should consider before marking a ballot?

As for the voting public: Why do so many people bother with the private lives of others not seeking power? Why should strangers care about who others marry or interfere in their efforts to do so? If life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are truly accepted as the basis of this nation’s declaration for being, then individuals have the right to do as they please so long as they do not attempt to harm or interfere with the rights and private lives of others.

For many individuals, marriage is a means to publicly proclaim devotion and love for their chosen partner. They may also have a personal and even religious conviction to enhance the social ritual, but ultimately marriage, according to law and the state, is a legal matter, limited to questions of benefits, inheritance, and administration of estates, including political titles and distribution of property according to birthright and will. So what’s the problem with the US allowing the most basic right of individuals to marry? Sexual preference? Surely you jest…

Marriage is a civil right, a human right, a personal affair. State regulation or recognition of it shouldn’t compromise the personal moral realm. Legal recognition of marriage should not be prohibited because of individual religious faith or belief, either, because belief and practice rightly fall under personal, too. So, even though social ethics have inspired some good law, no political measure or law should now prevent marriage.

This nation ought to acknowledge what a nation is and how one operates. Every state is a part of the country and, as such, is obligated to behave according to human rights laws and notions, particularly about privacy. This includes civil rights, too, where such individual choices as marriage and abortion are concerned. The Federal Government trumps all lesser government, including corporate – at least, it is supposed to and it would be nice it if actually did. Mr. Obama has demonstrated an intellectual and moral integrity on the issue of marriage but now needs political spine to ensure such a social ethic as one’s right to marry and hand down property as desired is encased in national legal doctrine and assured by consistent practice that is true to the purpose and intent of the law throughout the country.

Efforts to control such personal matters by law and governance are nothing if not totalitarian. I’d expect Americans to oppose such policing and coercion. The right of like-minded people to congregate in enclaves and live according to their wishes – as long as their actions do not interfere with the rights and safety of others – will enable opponents of equal access to state-sanctioned and recognised marriage to avoid fuller, more frequent social contact with the rest of us, so those opposing this civil right ought to acknowledge and respect the rights of others to practice according to their beliefs.

Our understanding of freedom in American society is based on these notions, so voters should investigate and think long, hard, and well about the candidates’ personal histories, remarks, and self-proclaimed beliefs about privacy, religious and social practice, and the meeting of the public and private spheres of life.

That’s all for now. Good reading and good day.


Brian  D. Sadie


About Brian D. Sadie / eloquentb

Brian D. Sadie is president of the film company Eloquent Bastard Productions. He was formerly Executive Director of The Joseph K. Foundation: On Privacy and was recruited and hired as an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. His writing appears in publications as diverse as The Economist, Boston Book Review, TeenLife, and Informationen der Gesellschaft für politische Aufklarüng. Mr. Sadie is often a featured contributor to educational and Ed Tech entities about education and literacy. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies and was a Pew Fellow at Boston University at the Institute of Culture, Religion and World Affairs. He is an ardent sports fan and equally ardent critic of the business of sports.
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