I almost feel sorry for Larry Craig. Imagine how awful it must be to wake up every day terrified that today is the day you'll be found out. Imagine having to fight your true nature every day of your life, wondering when that tipping point will be reached and you won't be able to any more. It's almost enough to make you feel badly for him.
If he were just some guy struggling with his own sexuality, I could feel sorry for him. But Larry Craig is just another of the right-wing hypocrites trying to turn an entire group of people into second-class citizens because he can't admit that he is among them.
It's one thing to be uncomfortable around a group because your entrenched upbringing is bumping up against what your rational mind knows is nothing to fear. That kind of discomfort ebbs with time and familiarity. I've always distinguished between what I call the "bigotry of ignorance" and the "bigotry of hate." When I was at a small, provincial college in Pennsylvania in the 1970's, people who had had no prior exposure to anyone Jewish asked me questions like where my horns were, and why I drove such an old car, because all Jews are rich, aren't they? But it doesn't matter whether someone carries preconceived notions about you because they were lied to as a child, or because they genuinely hate you -- it always feels like the bigotry of hate.
It's quite another to take that discomfort, run for and win public office, and use it as an excuse to enact legislation that denies some Americans the same rights everyone else takes for granted. And it's even more heinous to take your own self-loathing and try to turn it into public policy as a substitute for coming to terms with yourself.
And that is why it's impossible, ultimately, to feel sorry for Larry Craig or for any of the other right-wing sexual hypocrites who have come to light in recent weeks.
And what a parade of them it is, too, these closet cases, such as Ted Haggard
and Bob Allen
, Glenn Murphy, Jr
and Larry Craig, who could be living a normal life as gay men, but instead choose to live a lie.
And yet, the response in Republican Washington is, predictably, not to re-examine its platform of Sexual Restraint for Everyone, but to bemoan the loss of a Big Daddy Leader who could keep them all in line
It is tough enough being in the minority, weighed down by the burden of the war in Iraq. Now Republicans have an even more pressing task: keeping their party from being portrayed not just as hypocritical and out of touch with the values of people they represent, but also as a laughingstock — amid headlines like “Senator’s Bathroom Bust,” which ran all Tuesday afternoon on CNN. The story also ran at the top of all the network evening newscasts on Tuesday.
With President Bush hobbled by his own political difficulties, the party can hardly look to him to lead them out of the morass. “If we had a coach,” said John Feehery, who was press secretary to Representative J. Dennis Hastert when Mr. Hastert was the House speaker, “the coach would take us in the locker room and scream at us.”
Some Republicans are indeed screaming, particularly the party’s social conservative wing, which places a high priority on ethics and family values. Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group in Washington, said the elections of November 2006, in which Republicans lost control of the House and the Senate, proved that voters want politicians in Washington to clean up their act.
“Exit polls show that was the No. 1 factor in depressing Republican enthusiasm,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview Tuesday. “There is an expectation that leaders who espouse family values will live by those values. And while the values voters don’t demand perfection, I do believe they want leaders with integrity.”
But what constitutes "integrity"? Does being a closeted gay man trying to push other gay men back into the closet give you "integrity"?
Why can't these people realize that legislating sexual behavior among consenting adults has no place in the political arena? Perhaps if Republicans would stop peeping through the keyholes of the bedrooms of consenting adults, both gay AND straight, while they themselves are cruising for anonymous sex and paying hookers to put diapers on them, they might do something about the appalling preponderance of pedophiles in their midst
Imagine if the Republican Party just told the Christofascist Zombie Brigade to go stuff it, that the Republican Party stands for less government, not more government intrusion into people's private lives. Perhaps then it might be a party we could take seriously.
We currently have a president who lied us into a war, whose general in Iraq has an assistant quite probably involved in selling American weapons to the very insurgents who are killing American troops, who sat by while an American city died, who has appointed inexperienced, unqualified cronies to Federal positions, who had an Attorney General who declared the Magna Carta to be null and void and who turned the Justice Department into just another political arm of th Republican Party, and who has shoveled billions of dollars of American taxpayer cash into the pockets of corporations who donate to Republicans. And we can't impeach him because his predecessor was impeached for lying about a blowjob.
Hasn't this Republican obsession with OTHER people's sex lives caused enough damage? Can we please get this out of the political discussion now?
Labels: Christofascist Zombie Brigade, hypocrisy, Republic Party, sex