Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Senator Larry (I am not a Gay) Craig

Where does one begin in writing about this story? The more I consider it, the more angles I see. No matter how I slice it, however, I don't see a good ending for the Republican senator from Idaho. In fact, his press conference today just made his situation a lot worse.

The background is pretty much known at this point. On June 11, Craig was arrested at Minneapolis Airport, charged with having solicited sex from an undercover cop in an airport bathroom stall. I won't bother with the sordid details as outlined in the police report. They don't represent my main issue. We now know that Craig returned to Minneapolis early this month and quietly pleaded to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. Then, just in the past few days, the story broke. Today, Craig appeared before the media in Boise and insisted he was not gay and had done nothing wrong. He characterized his plea as a mistake because he didn't get legal advice and was now going to hire an attorney to explore his legal options. He also lashed out at the local paper, the Idaho Statesman, for persecuting him.

First point: He has no legal options. The Idaho lawmaker-I repeat, LAWMAKER, has already entered a plea to reduced charges and paid a fine. The legal issue is over.

As to today's statements,........ c,mon. Is he going to tell us that the police report is false? Then why did he plead guilty instead of contesting the charges in the most vigorous manner? That he was a victim of entrapment? How could the cop entrap him when he (the cop) was first seated in the men's room stall when Craig arrived, peered into the cop's stall then entered the next stall where he began the actions that led to his arrest? I guess his position will be that his actions in the bathroom were misinterpreted, thus, leading to his arrest. Hey folks, use your common sense and your own life experiences. We have all been there, right? When we are in a public bathroom stall, how many times have we slid our foot into the next stall and touched the foot of the occupant "next door"? How many times have we slid our hand under the stall divider into the space of another? We all know that some gays, do indeed engage in this behavior in public bathrooms. But who else does it?

Which leads me to my next point: Rumors about Craig's sexual preferences have been floating around for decades, and he has always denied them. It seems that now others are coming forward (anonymously at this point) to describe similar experiences with the senator. But really! Aren't we living in the year 2007? If this man is gay, would it not be better to come out and state it? Would it have killed his political career? I will readily concede that heterosexuals like myself probably can't appreciate what it is like to be gay and to keep it a secret, especially when one is married and has children. I admit that. But it just seems to me that society has come so far in accepting homosexuals for what they are. I personally don't know this man's sexual preference nor do I care. I don't think it should disqualify him from politics. However, soliciting sex acts in a public bathroom is still against the law, and if that is what he did, then he has no excuses.

Now for the political fallout. Of course, the Democrats are estatic. They don't need to say anything, just let the Republicans deal with the mess. Liberal pundits and bloggers are having a field day because so many Republicans have made an issue out of "family values", Craig included. In fact, Craig's voting record in Congress has put him at odds with issues favored by gay activists. For instance, he has opposed gay marriage. Many will say that this makes him Hypocrite Number One. Well, if you think about it, actually not. Why does every homosexual have to be in favor of gay marriage? I know of one conservative radio talk show host, who is openly gay, and who is opposed to gay marriage. Why cannot a gay person feel that marriage is an institution reserved for a man and a woman? I'll bet many do.

However, if Mr Craig has been going around preaching "family values", then he is certainly vulnerable to the hypocrite charge. I don't think I need to elaborate on that point.

Is there a double standard in all this? Of course. Let us not forget that Barney Frank (D-MA) is still in Congress, years after it was revealed that his boyfriend at the time was using Frank's apartment as a gay bordello while Barney was at work on Capital Hill. It never hurt his career much. What about Gerry Studds, another Massachusetts Democrat, who was actually having sex with a 17 year old male page? Did he resign? No. He defiantly told everyone that it was a consensual affair, and if folks didn't like it, they could...., well, you know. His Democratic colleagues loudly supported him, and he went on to be re-elected several times by the good denizons of Massachusetts. (Studds' story was brought back to light during the Mark Foley scandal involving Capital pages.) But let us set sex aside. Why is William ("Cool Cash") Jefferson, (D-LA) still in Congress? He is currently under indictment for accepting a $100,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents-$90,000 of which was later recovered in his home freezer. Name me one Democrat in Congress who has called for him to step down.

So, in light of all that, should Senator Craig resign? In my view, yes. Double standard or not, the facts of this case show that he has no business being in the US Senate-not because he is gay-but because he engaged in behavior that was illegal and completely inappropriate for a member of Congress or any political figure. I say that he did it because he has pleaded guilty. Unfortunately, it appears at this point, that Craig will continue to dig himself further and further, making himself a laughing stock and dragging his party down with him.

As an independent voter, I would say to the Republicans that they should clean their own house and let the public see how the Democrats refuse to clean theirs. The Foleys, the Vitters and the Craigs need to go. As to Senator Craig, I hope that he will just come clean, resign and get on with the business of putting his life and family back together in private.

1 comment:

Anti-Racist Blog said...

It's not the gay thing that bothers me (as Seinfeld says "not that there is anything wrong with that), it is the hypocrisy.


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