Andrew Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan

Andrew
Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan
1963

English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic

Author Quotes

For me, friendship has always been the most accessible of relationships - certainly far more so than romantic love. Friendship, I learned, provided a buffer in the interplay of emotions, a distance that made the risk of intimacy bearable, a space that allowed the other person to remain safely another person.

I felt, and often still feel, unable to live up to the ideals I really hold,

If love is sudden, friendship is steady. At the moment of meeting a friend for the first time, we might be aware of an immediate ?click? or a sudden mutual interest. But we don?t ?fall in friendship.? And where love is often at its most intense in the period before the lover is possessed, in the exquisite suspense of the chase, and the stomach-fluttering nervousness of the capture, friendship can only really be experienced when both friends are fully used to each other. For friendship is based on knowledge, and love can be based on mere hope? You can love someone more than you know him, and he can be perfectly loved without being perfectly known. But the more you know a friend, the more a friend he is.

Is it not a rather fantastic historical irony that the torture techniques that the North Vietnamese used against McCain that forced him to offer a videotaped false confession... are now the techniques the Bush administration is using to gain "intelligence" about terror networks. How is it possible to know that everything John McCain once said on videotape for the enemy was false, because it was coerced, and yet assert that everything we torture out of terror suspects using exactly the same techniques, is true?

Most hate is more common and more complicated, with as many varieties as there are varieties of love. Just as there is possessive love and needy love; family love and friendship; romantic love and unrequited love; passion and respect, affection and obsession, so hatred has its shadings. There is hate that fears, and hate that merely feels contempt; there is hate that expresses power, and hate that comes from powerlessness; there is revenge, and there is hate that comes from envy. There is hate that was love, and hate that is a curious expression of love. There is hate of the other, and hate of something that reminds us too much of ourselves. There is the oppressor's hate, and the victim's hate. There is hate that burns slowly, and hate that fades. And there is hate that explodes, and hate that never catches fire.

The decent people in this administration ? mainly career military brass and Condi's circle ? are finally pushing back against the war crimes of Cheney and Rumsfeld. But the Bush mojo is the same. They don't actually care about the effectiveness of their policies, just how they can be used as wedge issues. Last summer, Karl Rove was determined to use torture and Gitmo as his electoral path to retaining the Congress. He thought he could portray the Democrats as weak on terror. Of course, only cowards and failures use torture. And how many Democrats or Republicans could have made us more vulnerable to more terror than Bush has these past five years?

The most successful marriages, gay or straight, even if they begin in romantic love, often become friendships. It's the ones that become the friendships that last.

There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don't know what effect it has until you hear it.

What gay culture is before it is anything else, before it is a culture of desire or a culture of subversion or a culture of pain, is a culture of friendship.

A condition of friendship is the abdication of power over another, indeed the abdication even of the wish for power over one another. And one is drawn to it not by need but by choice. If love is about the bliss of primal un-freedom, friendship is about the complicated enjoyment of human autonomy. As soon as a friend attempts to control a friend, the friendship ceases to exist. But until a lover seeks to possess his beloved, the love has hardly begun. Where love is all about the juggling of the power to hurt, friendship is about creating a space where power ceases to exist. There is a cost to this, of course. Friends will never provide what lovers provide: the ultimate resort, that safe space of repose, that relaxation of the bedsheets. But they provide something more reliable, and certainly less painful. They provide an acknowledgement not of the child within but of the adult without; they allow for an honesty which doesn?t threaten pain and criticism which doesn?t imply rejection. They promise not the bliss of the womb but the bracing adventure of the world. They do not solve loneliness, yet they mitigate it.

A constitutional republic dedicated before everything to the protection of liberty cannot legalize torture and remain a constitutional republic. It imports into itself a tumor of pure tyranny. That tumor, we know from history, always spreads, as it has spread in the US military these past shameful years. The fact that hefty proportions of US soldiers now support its use as a routine matter reveals how deep the rot has already gone. The fact that now a majority of Republican candidates proudly support such torture has rendered the GOP the party most inimical to liberty in America. When you combine torture's evil with the claims of the hard right that a president can ignore all laws and all treaties in wartime, and that "wartime" is now permanent, you have laid the ground for the abolition of the American experiment in self-government.

A mind is a wonderful thing to change.

A part of this reticence is reflected in the moments when friendship is appreciated. If friendship rarely articulates itself when it is in full flood, it is often only given its due when it is over, especially if its end is sudden or caused by death. Suddenly, it seems, we have lost something so valuable and profound that we have to make up for our previous neglect and acknowledge it in ways that would have seemed inappropriate before? It is as if death and friendship enjoy a particularly close relationship, as if it is only when pressed to the extreme of experience that this least extreme of relationships finds its voice, or when we are forced to consider what really matters, that we begin to consider what friendship is.

A true conservative ? who is, above all, an anti-ideologue ? will often be attacked for alleged inconsistency, for changing positions, for promising change but not a radical break with the past, for pursuing two objectives ? like liberty and authority, or change and continuity ? that seem to all ideologues as completely contradictory.

Al Gore's problem, in my view, is that he never liked politics. He's actually deeply uncomfortable in it but felt he had to do it because of his father. He's much more comfortable in a private sector role and has, in fact, been much more successful in a private sector role, and I admire him for that.

Author Picture
First Name
Andrew
Last Name
Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan
Birth Date
1963
Bio

English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic