Polyamory and Politics: A Nine-Year-Old's Perspective

Soon my knowledge of U.S. presidential history and politics will be insufficient for Iz's needs, but for now we have some rollicking discussions, and I am highly amused by the ways in which her liberal Bay Area filters color her take -- or don't affect it at all:
Iz: "Why did Richard Nixon resign? I mean, wiretapping isn't nearly as bad as adultery. Why isn't adultery illegal?"

Me: "Well, adultery is illegal in some countries, but in the U.S. we consider it to be a private matter between consenting adults. What Nixon did was absolutely illegal. He resigned before he could be impeached."

Iz: "Oh! So Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were in a polyamorous relationship?"

Me: "Um, no. Bill Clinton committed adultery. Which should be his own private business, even if it was morally wrong, and even if it was a very stupid thing to do. If he and Monica Lewinsky were in a polyamorous relationship, they would have gotten approval from Hillary Clinton beforehand, and then President Clinton wouldn't have committed perjury when he denied that the adultery took place."

Iz: "Oh. I don't think I want to be in a polyamorous relationship."

Me: "That's fine, it's not for everyone. And you have to be a fairly mature and confident person to make it work."

Iz: "I still think adultery should be illegal. People get hurt really badly."

Me: "True."

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  1. have I told you lately how much I love your family?

  2. Our Iz is one amazing little girl! She's going to rule the world some day. I love hearing what she thinks about...oh, everything! Thanks for sharing.

    Love, Laura

  3. Anonymous11:53 AM

    You do know (being bossy here ;-)) that your daughter is way smarter/more informed about the world than most kids her age, don't you? I want to put in a plug about a terrific program for exceptionally gifted kids that she might qualify for called Davidson Young Scholars. Check out their website at www.ditd.org.
    (It's free, but you need to do IQ testing on your own dime to qualify).

  4. awesome. i had a very long discussion with my 10 yr old friend the other day about the FISA bill, telecom immunity (retroactive!), lying candidates, and the constitution.

    then i had to call her mom and tell her what we had talked about. whoa.

  5. Anonymous10:54 AM

    That conversation is beyond awesome. Maybe you can soothe Iz a little by telling her that adultery is still technically illegal in some states (although rarely prosecuted), and is still definitely a court-martial offense in the U.S. Military.

    (Outing myself-- I'm the one who posted the This American Life link)

  6. I love your Iz stories (well, all of your writing, but stuff like this just makes me smile!) Iz might get a kick out of a sort of interesting artist / musician here in NY who paints the presidents. Exclusively. http://www.ericwolfson.com/wordpress/category/art/

  7. Smart kid. I like her take on things!

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  9. A smart kid indeed. Yes, adultery has been prosecuted in recent years. John Bushey, 66, served as the attorney for Luray, VA for 32 years -- Luray is a small Shenandoah Valley town of 4,500 people. He had been married for about 18 years to Cindy Bushey, the town's clerk. John Bushey, however, had an affair with Nellie Mae Hensley, 53. After the affair ended in 2004, instead of going to the betrayed spouse or to her minister, Hensley went to the police. While Hensley was divorced, Bushey was married and therefore subject to a criminal adultery charge, a misdemeanor. Bushey agreed to a plea bargain rather than fight the charge on grounds of the law being unconstitutional according to the Lawrence v Texas Supreme Court finding in 2003 that laws that attempt to control what consenting adults do in private are unconstitutional so as not to put his family through more suffering. I believe that law may have since been stricken.

    Within the poly community and elsewhere there has long been speculation that Bill and Hillary Clinton may have an agreement that permits Bill's extra-marital relationships, but who knows for sure? Hopefully one of them will tell all after their political ambitions have been pursued to their end, maybe in a memoir. I'm pretty sure whatever Hillary may have agreed to did not include Bill taking risks that would get him impeached and affect her chances for election to the presidency.

  10. Whoa. Fantastic comments, everyone. I will show them to Iz tonight.

    Anita, she will especially appreciate your detailed explanation. She has recently declared her intention of becoming a lawyer so she can "split hairs for a living!"


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