Kottkamp, Bondi, Marriage and Family

By Jesse Phillips

Over the weekend, John Stemberger, head of the Florida Family Policy Council, which led the campaign to get the marriage amendment passed last election, publicly endorsed Jeff Kottkamp for Attorney General.

Stemberger, who tried to warn people about voting for Charlie Crist, is now issuing a similar warning about Pam Bondi. The issue has become somewhat controversial because Stemberger pointed out that Bondi “has no children and lives with her 60 year old eye doctor boyfriend.”

This has aroused criticism from the usual suspects, such as The Miami Herald and and Palm Beach Post who clearly think that John Stemberger was out of line to even question a candidates relational status.

The question seems to be whether the issues Stemberger raised should be considerations at all. Stemberger claims that “Marital status, children, living arrangements are all matters that tell us something about a person and their life experience. And therefore are relevant.”

I happen to agree with him. Especially in primary elections, where the candidates are far more similar than in November, a person’s personal experiences in life can make all the difference. People who say that your personal life is completely off limits don’t understand our Founding Father’s belief that our freedom can only be maintained through the virtue and integrity of its leaders. Regardless of what you think about Pam Bondi, the discussion itself is actually quite relevant.

Does Pam Bondi’s current living arrangements mean that she doesn’t have any integrity or virtue? That certainly should be on the table for discussion, and is an important factor in making a decision as a citizen who values life and traditional family values. The attempts of the liberal left to draw the lines in such a way that excludes talk of marital status, children and living arrangements from the discussion essentially provides free reign for the election to public office of people whose personal lives are in shambles. This is a recipe for disaster in politics as much as it is in business or any other sphere of life.

Pam Bondi may be a fine personality in many respects, with some commendable positions on the issues. But I’m a husband and a father. I know that maintaining a healthy marriage and parenting my children is not only the most important thing I do, it’s also one of the most difficult things a person can do. Anyone can run for office. Politicians, no disrespect, are a-dime-a-dozen when compared with upright spouses and parents. Further, those who sucessfully navigate those challenges of marriage and parenting, learn through those challenges the true nature of leadership and integrity which position them to be the kind of leader this country needs to confront the current culture of corruption that is threating our political society.

So, if I had to choose between someone who was married and had survived the challenges of maintaining and healthy marriage and raising a family (which is far more important and difficult than any public service) and someone else who had never been strengthened by those challenges, my vote would certainly go to the former, and I thank John helping start this worthwhile discussion.

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