Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The problem with Larry Craig

So right-wing Senator Larry Craig of Idaho gets busted soliciting sex in a Minneapolis Airport bathroom. The political pundits go nuts, cable news has a story to beat to death and the Republican party forces the Senator to announce he will resign.

There is absolutely no reason Larry Craig should resign.

Is the guy a hypocrite? Yes.

Is the guy a liar? Yes.

Did he break the law? I doubt it. I can't believe that toe tapping constitutes lewd behavior.

Did he want to break the law and exhibit improper public behavior? Sure looks like it.

Are those reasons not to vote for him? Yes.

Is that a reason to resign your US Senate seat? Never. They'd all have to resign. Every single senator.

But you don't force a Senator to resign because he is struggling with dealing with the idea that he is at least bi-sexual and maybe gay. I spent six months working with the gay community in Portland, Oregon, and was shocked to learn what a rough thing it can be to come to terms with the idea that one is not straight. Then, to make matters worse, you have to announce it to your family and friends. The process is so brutal that the rate of suicide among gay teens is four times that of straight teens.

There is no glee in the downfall of Larry Craig.

I think the worst behavior in this case was committed by the Idaho Statesman. In a long story detailing years of rumors and innuendo about Senator Craig's sexuality, the Statesman included this bit of absolute proof Senator Craig must be gay,

Craig also took piano lessons in high school and was in the high school choir.


And that's what's wrong with this entire situation. If this story were about improper conduct in a public facility it would be one thing. It's not. It is about America's hang up with sexuality. A hang up that makes otherwise intelligent writers and editors point to interest in music as proof of homosexuality. Our unwillingness to have open, honest conversations about what it means to be gay, straight, bi and / or transgendered allows for the perpetuation of ridiculous stereotypes that are harmful to everyone.

That is why I believe there is no joy in the downfall of Larry Craig.


  1. Apparently strong words indeed....Craig has reconsidered and is "un-resigning" today.