Setting a good example almost cost George W. Bush the presidency. Just a week away from the 2000 presidential election, Bush appeared to be coasting to a 2 or 3 point win. Then, at the most opportune time for Democrats and their media allies, we learned that as a young man Bush had been cited for drunk driving. He still won the election but were it not for that revelation, it is highly unlikely America would have had to sit through an anguishing Florida recount and four years of "Selected, not elected!"
Bush, who had already publicly revealed his fight with alcohol, explained that he chose not to talk about the incident, primarily as a means to protect his then-teen-aged daughters. In so many words, he said that he didn't want to send out a message that if you drive drunk, you can still grow up to be a governor, or even president.
As adults we have a responsibility to protect children from our own unhealthy, personal anecdotes. There are things in my past -- most of them small, some not-so-small; some I find embarrassing, some still make me chuckle -- that I would never reveal to my grandkids. Gathering young, impressionable minds for a wistful recalling of my own mistakes, romanticizing them in some way, is the height of irresponsibility. And this is something "Star Trek" star and gay activist George Takei is certainly guilty of.
But that is all he is guilty of.
In the wake of the systematic dismantling of provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos over the last 48 hours, video of Takei wistfully recalling a sexual relationship he had as a 13-year-old with an adult camp counselor, has been making the rounds. It is graphic, and if you so desire, you can watch it here.
In his own twisted mind, the man Takei describes as a blonde, tanned Adonis, was a sexual mentor of sorts. Over a summer, young Sulu and the 19-year-old counselor shared a number of sexual encounters. Takei only looks back on this experience in romantic terms, as an idyllic coming of age, as an adolescent awakening to be cherished.
This of course is poppycock. Any 19-year-old who engages in a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old is a sexual predator, a rapist, a degenerate criminal who should be in prison -- not mythologized as a fantasy come to life by a pop culture icon.
Who knows what Takei's life might be like had he not been molested? And who knows if turning his sexual abuse into nostalgia isn't his way of coping with it. This is no joke. The data on the permanent damage done to minors who sexually engage with adults is, yes, settled science. Not to mention commonsense.
But with the revelation of the Takei video, some Milo supporters are crying hypocrisy. The argument is that what cost Yiannopoulos his book deal, CPAC speaking slot and job at Breitbart News, is what Takei is guilty of. And, they would argue further, because Takei is a left-wing sacred cow, nothing will happen to him.
But it's not the same.
Had Yiannopoulos stuck to his own thoughts around his own abuse, he would still have a book deal, still be speaking at CPAC, and still be working for Breitbart News.
Takei stuck to his feelings about his own experience without entering the forbidden zone of appearing to advocate that such things are okay, and even desirable. Although he now claims he misspoke and was misinterpreted, Yiannopoulos appeared to enter that zone:
"Are there some 13-year-olds out there capable of giving informed consent to have sex with an adult, probably." …
"So you’re saying you’ve never seen a 15-year-old girl, at any point in your life, that you thought was hot?" …
"Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents."
And the difference between what Takei did wrong and what Yiannopoulos did wrong (and to his credit he admits as much and has apologized) is all the difference.
On the issue of Milo, pedophilia and the raging hypocrisy we see among the left and the national media, as I wrote at length about yesterday, there is plenty to go around…
The Democrats gave sister-molester Lena Dunham a prime speaking slot at Hillary Clinton's 2016 convention -- and Milo-Destroyers in the form of Jake Tapper and NBC News and Salon said absolutely nothing.
There is no question these Milo-Destroyers do not care about The Children, and that they are nothing more than soulless partisans only on the hunt for a scalp.
But there is also no question that while he can be a terrible role model, George Takei does not deserve to be dragged into this fight.