Elwood Watson

Why should we care if a politician is unmarried?

It appears some Republican donors are really concerned that presidential candidate Tim Scott, South Carolina’s junior senator,  is a 57-year-old bachelor — and whatever implications that may entail.

Top party donors are raising concerns about the fact the conservative Black senator has never been married. and want some of their concerns about the matter addressed before they decide to become committed to his candidacy, according to Axios.

Scott has never been known to talk about his romantic life. Apparently, his reluctance has apparently “raised concerns” among certain donors who are frantically looking for a competitive alternative to the multiple indicted, twice impeached Donald Trump, especially as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis struggles on the campaign trail.

The last time voters elected an unmarried president was Grover Cleveland in 1884. One source familiar with the concerns of GOP donors told Axios a candidate being single is a bigger problem for Republicans than Democrats.

Scott is an Evangelical Christian who preaches abstinence until marriage and made his virginity a big part of his public persona — until he admitted to a reporter he was no longer a virgin at age 46. He’s mentioned a girlfriend, but has never revealed her identity, and believes it is an antiquated and outdated assumption to judge a presidential candidate on their marital status.

“The fact that half of America’s adult population is single for the first time, to suggest that somehow being married or not married is going to be the determining factor of whether you’re a good president or not — it sounds like we’re living in 1963 and not 2023,” Scott told Axios in May.

Such a mentality should hardly be surprising for a party chronically obsessed with what individuals do in their bedrooms. For these right-wing conservatives, anyone who deviates from the traditional, standard script of holy matrimony is viewed as abnormal or suspect. Single, unmarried men like Scott are assumed to be everything from slovenly and irresponsible to obsessed with sex and possibly closeted pedophiles.

While we are gradually evolving, the truth is we still live in a society where many people still place a high premium on marriage, especially when it comes to women. In fact, I have a friend (now in his second marriage) who came close to having a nervous breakdown in his early thirties due to the fact that he was still unmarried. He was convinced his entire manhood hinged on being wedded and a family man. He is far from alone. The fact is that there are many people who decide to stay in flawed, unhealthy, and sometimes violent marriages due to societal pressure and social acceptance, along with a fear of being alone or being seen as a failure.

Over the years, I have had my share of conversations with friends, acquaintances and strangers who have discussed dissatisfaction with their current marriages or relationships. Many married men and women are in strong, loving, and stable partnerships, but some prefer to remain single for various reasons. They are content and unmarried life suits them just fine.

Marital bliss for many is relationship non grata. In a nation that has a 50% divorce rate, perhaps these unattached adults, Scott included, may be on to something.

It seems obvious to say, but not every person needs to be partnered up. Single people deserve to be treated with as much dignity and respect as their married counterparts. The notion that marriage is the only viable option for men to be fulfilled, develop into responsible human beings, cultivate and satisfy their inner brawn, and garner acceptance from the larger society is patronizing and insulting to those men and women who desire a certain degree of social independence.

To paraphrase Beyonce Knowles – all the single fellas!

Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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