With a big new HBO show on polygamy, which I intended to watch but haven’t, and a federal lawsuit over polygamy discrimination in the courts, I find myself once again thinking about polygamy, both as a political issue and as an actual feature of some people’s lives.
Though I don’t think polygamy is a great idea for people with kids, I don’t particularly have a problem with it as long as it is based in real commitment. (When I read BitchPhD’s accounts of her three-way relationship, I find myself somewhat appalled at her, to be honest. She waxes enthusiastically about how wonderful the sex is with the third person in her marriage and mostly writes about her husband in relation to domestic matters. If I were her husband, I couldn’t deal with that.)
I don’t think political activism is the best thing for polygamy. Political activism seems to bring in the zealous.
From what I’ve observed polygamy is like the Marines. People who just end up there carried by the waves of circumstance do fine, but people who enter into it with a great deal of zeal for the concept itself (“If I go into the Marines, I’ll be a real man!” “If I have a three way relationship, I’ll always be everybody’s favorite!) end up blowing up themselves and the people around them.
Some things just work best in private. I understand why there must be political movements for things like abortion and euthanasia, but I can’t help but think that some things work best as sub rosa arrangements between people and their doctors. I wish they could just remain that way.
My feelings on polygamy are pretty analogous, but I’m even less convinced that they need to be political issues.
(Yes, applied to homosexuality, this idea is roughly “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I don’t apply it there.)