The husband of Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., is not a licensed psychologist. However, the potential first First Gentleman, Marcus Bachmann, is currently running a controversial clinic that suggests prayer as a counseling method to effectively ‘convert’ gay people. News of the clinic’s tactics was reported by ABC News last Monday and has since brought criticism to Michele Bachmann, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for president.
Is it appropriate and relevant to comment on the doings of Michele Bachmann’s family? It’s a murky area. But in this case, yes, I think it is. A political figure, who is running for the highest office in the land, will by definition have every detail of their life explored, scrutinized and exposed. This is a part of the American democratic process and, in many ways, it is a necessary part of electing an adequate public official. Even the personal life of a candidate is fair game to the public. But when it comes to family I believe there is a fine line. Although often distorted and hard to make out, it does exist.
The obvious criticism is that you would assume Rep. Bachmann would share similar beliefs and opinions with her husband of thirty three years. Clearly this is not always so. Look at James Carville and Mary Matalin. The two are married, Carville is a liberal political commentator and his wife, Matalin, is a conservative political commentator.
However, Rep. Bachmann and Dr. Bachmann are seemingly very much aligned in their political and social views. Rep. Bachmann has praised her husband’s work as a therapist and is a co-owner of the Minneapolis clinic where he practices. Aside from the implications that Dr. Bachmann’s work may have for his political wife, what does it mean to have a First Gentleman boldly willing to spit in the face of both science and tolerance? Not good things. Religion-over-science thrown onto a political stage would be the start of a dangerous slide in the wrong direction for our country.
The president’s spouse is a major political figure in the United States. The current First Lady, Michelle Obama, launched her Let’s Move! campaign upon her husband taking office. Let’s Move! organizes communities, children, parents and schools to address childhood obesity. It frightens me to think about the social campaigns that would be undertaken by Dr. Marcus Bachmann. Please keep him away from our children. (The Bachmanns do have an impressive collection of children already underway. If my memory serves me right, I think Rep. Bachmann may have mentioned her 23 foster children at some point during her campaign.)
Hilary Clinton went from First Lady to United States Senator and is now the Secretary of State. Hopefully Dr. Bachmann does not share these kind of political ambitions. We do not need anymore government officials who confuse science and prayer. Or anymore religious witch doctors for that matter. Perhaps we pay some attention to a separation of Church and State. Our founders may have, in fact, been quite serious when they called for that religious and political split. And while she may not understand them, we all know Rep. Michele Bachmann has an affinity for the founders of our great country. A candidate’s religious beliefs should not be one of the pillars of their campaign. Mentioned maybe. If the media wants to make an issue out of it, let them. But if you are attempting to act as the embodiment of the over 310 million people in the United States, maybe try to keep your personal beliefs just a little more personal.
Michele Bachmann has spoken with urgency about the need to remove Barack Obama from office for the sake of our future. She says that it would be unfair to saddle our children with the burden of our country’s national debt. More pressing to me is the burden my future children would have to face if the Bachmanns took the White House. (She said in 2005 that the biggest issue facing her home state of Minnesota was gay marriage.) I don’t want my future family growing up in a country where their sexual orientation is viewed as a matter of right or wrong. And once they have labeled it as wrong, prescribe prayer as the remedy. Maybe we can pray away the country’s debt, or pray away the two wars. I do not pray often, but maybe I’ll check back with ‘The’ and see if I can pray away the Bachmanns.