Caitlyn Jenner was amazing and amazed in a recent interview with Diane Sawyer (the new Barbara Walters?) which was much heralded and was a coming out for Jenner. The visual transformation to being a woman (despite being male at the cellular level and still having male parts) has stilled rumors that went on for months and received considerable attention by the media. Regardless of your opinion on the topic, there was one thing that really stood out and not surprisingly has gotten very little press from either camp.
In the course of the interview Sawyer brought up the topic of President Barack Obama. Jenner responded to this by saying that “I have never been a big fan.” This was followed by a statement from Jenner that “I have always been more on the conservative side.” Now this is news – real news. Sawyer seemed genuinely surprised, amazed if you will, and didn’t quite know what to make of it. Perhaps this is why there has been so much silence on the topic, silence so loud that one can almost hear the proverbial pin dropping as the media doesn’t known how to react.
Jenner was amazing, seemed unfazed and handled the comment in a very off hand manner, this was a good ploy, after all the topic of the interview was not politics. It was treated as a very minor part of the story, indeed it is/was as Jenner is not known for any sort of political activism. While some may see it as yet another opportunity for this crazy family to get still more PR (and make no mistake it is that) or perhaps for Jenner to get his own reality show (always a possibility), I see it as a problem for the media on both the left and right.
Neither side seems to know what to make of Jenner’s statement or how to handle it. Clearly the left is not happy to hear about Jenner’s political inclinations and the right doesn’t know how to respond to such news. The prevailing “wisdom” is that the left is tolerant and the right is narrow-minded, etc. The left would seem to be the natural home for someone like Jenner, yet here we have an on-air statement that the truth is the opposite of that. But how does someone born male and wanting to be a woman identify with the right? Jenner’s comment goes against everything that nearly everyone knows and/or believes, or at least what they assume is accurate and natural.
Does it matter? Yes, it does actually for in their responses they have revealed who they really are – cowards. Both sides seem to have decided not to address the issue, not to write about it, and to bury Jenner’s statement with their silence. What can they do? What can their media do? The left is in an awkward position and they must know it. This isn’t about biology. This is about Jenner’s political beliefs. The right seems to have the upper hand and can continue to shout that they have a big tent. But too much shouting will sound like exploitation and that will hardly win them any votes or anything else for that matter.
In not addressing the issue both sides have shown themselves to be cowardly, more interested in repeating popular memes than reporting and commenting on the news. What are they to do? As cowards they can only do one thing – continue to ignore the issue and hope that Jenner fades into oblivion as soon as possible. This was not the finest hour for either political side and they seem to know it.