Tracy Caruso: Political Spouses Can Do Whatever They Want
Many political spouses have experienced relentless criticism. I won’t tell you all their stories, but I can tell you mine. I’ve gotten calls from people who told me I should “keep my mouth shut,” not write for Florida Jolt, and “just be a good wife.” I can do both. I don’t consider myself a “feminist,” but male journalists don’t get these phone calls.
Should spouses and partners of politicians be held to the same standards as the elected official they’re married to or dating, and more importantly, should the elected official be expected to “control” their non-elected spouse? I’ve been thinking about these issues lately.
By now, you know the story about Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican member of Congress who is particularly outspoken. She was kicked out of a theater while on a date for misbehaving, and various media outlets have been reporting on it for days. Although the salacious story is interesting and, admittedly, very funny, the story that struck me is the one written about the guy she was on a date with. It turns out that he’s a Democrat who co-owns a bar that hosts drag shows. Once the information came out that this poor schnook went on a date with Boebert, people posted crap reviews of his bar online, trying to ruin his business, and people quickly made Boebert out to be a hypocrite for dating a Democrat.
From NY Post;
An Aspen bar has been inundated with negative reviews online after it was revealed that the establishment’s co-owner went on a raucous date with hard-right Rep. Lauren Boebert. Quinn Gallagher, 46, who is believed to be a Democrat, has co-owned the Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar with Pat Flanigan since last year.
People in the political world have married and dated outside their political party forever, but now that our country has become so polarized, it’s a problem. At least political affiliation is specific. Now, people think it’s okay to control spouses and tell them what they should be doing and how they should behave. Spouses used to be off-limits, but not anymore.
Politicians are held to specific standards when elected to office, as they should be, but what about the spouse? Are they supposed to serve as nothing more than a backdrop? Many think that spouses should keep their mouths shut and not exist in a world separate from their political spouse, especially if they’re women.
Boebert’s boyfriend, whom she already broke up with, doesn’t owe the world anything, even if he chooses to be with someone as public as Boebert. Spouses/partners are their own people with their own thoughts, feelings, and careers. Casey DeSantis has been ripped apart mercilessly during her husband’s presidential run. Why? She’s not a wallflower. She’s outspoken and has opinions, but people seem to think her job is to keep her mouth shut and blend into the furniture just because she’s married to Governor Ron DeSantis. People also seem to resent her ambition, which looks weirdly sexist in this day and age. She can be a wife, mom, and anything else she wants to be.
I won’t stop the work I’m doing. Florida Jolt exists to get out information other media outlets don’t want you to know about. We’re the other side, and no one controls us. If we’re triggering people, we’re doing something right.
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