Thursday, September 08, 2005

More on Taviano

A commenter posts an interesting response to my last post about Tina Taviano.
[...]you didn't talk about whether you thought she was qualified, only whether there may be people (voters, officers) with prejudices that would inhibit her ability to do the job. Is it important that we coddle those prejudices? Perhaps of more value would be to see what the officers REALLY THINK about Tina - and then ask the same question about what they think about the other candidates. I think you'd be surprised, at least, you would be surprised if you expected people to operate on a 1950's mentality.
I didn't talk about whether Taviano is qualified because I have no idea what we ought to be looking for in a sheriff or if Taviano possesses those qualities. (Perhaps FWMN readers can fill me in.)

What I do know is that an openly gay candidate for sheriff is going to ruffle a lot of feathers in Allen County, something Taviano no doubt knows as well. Does being a lesbian affect how she would perform in that job? I don't think so. Would others' prejudices be an obstacle for her in getting it? Most likely.

I'm not going to sit here and allege without any evidence that the Sheriff's Department is full of a bunch of manly-men who would chafe over taking orders from a female boss who also happens to be a lesbian. But I do know that one of the reasons that Rich Beck, chief of the reserves, wasn't considered as a serious candidate to replace Jim Herman -- even though a lot of people think Beck is very qualified -- is the conventional wisdom that many in the department would have a hard time falling in behind someone who came up through the reserves ranks.

That's why I think it's legitimate to ask if a similar thing might happen if Taviano wins next November.

I'd invite anyone with an opinion on this -- especially current members of the local law enforcement community -- to weigh in with their comments. I'm interested to know what they think (and find out if I'm completely wrong in my assumptions).



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