Thursday, August 30, 2007

On Sen. Craig

I've given this one a bit of thought, and can't say I care much for it. Yet forward through the flaming hoops of slime we shall tumble, in hopes it will be educational (or at least, having vented, I can ponder other imponderables).

First off, "ewwwwww" is a miserable basis for legislation. God knows it's tempting, but it's a slippery slope with rocks at the bottom. Personally, I would tend to favor requiring licenses for spandex and tight-fitting garments on aesthetic grounds - but where would such a thing end? Law should and must address injury, economic or physical (i.e., measurable) to some individual, and only then should it factor in such immeasurables as psychological damage and such.

Then let's look at the charging specification, shall we? The arresting officer states Sen. Craig engaged in behavior "often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct."

Oh, goodness my. If we are to see even-handed enforcement here, there won't be a singles bar (gay or straight) open in Minnesota by Friday. Perhaps I'm just hopelessly libertarian, but to me, any time one competent adult communicates to another competent adult a desire to engage in sexual conduct (say, in 20' letters of fire written across the sky - or perhaps more subtle mechanisms), unless one of the adults is *me* or my to-be-fondly-hoped-for spousal unit - it promptly becomes neither my business or anyone else's.

There are exceptions to the above rule. If someone is overly insistent in their amorous intent once declined, it is only reasonable that it become a matter of police interest; similarly, if force is used; again, if one of the parties is over-enthusiastic in expressing their disinterest in a liason (initiating the aggressive use of force is BAD, after all). But simple queries of, with greater or lesser diplomacy and verbiage, "Hey, wanna ____?" seem logically covered by freedom of speech, though they are frequently a bit blunt.

If I don't have to watch, listen, participate, or take notes on technique - I don't see how I have any interest in the matter. And neither should a police department with limited resources.

Tacky is not a crime, or entire regions of the nation would be depopulated and there wouldn't be enough jails to hold the guilty.

And then we come to Senator Craig, specifically. Sen. Craig is, in my estimation, a bit of a toad. Pity about that. I am seldom a fan of anti-gun politicians, nor am I any more a fan of anti-gay politicians. Sen. Craigs record speaks for itself.

Nonetheless, out of fairness, let us look at the possibilities. Trying *really* hard to be kindly and charitable, here.

First off, it could be that the good Senator is simply a dork. Coming from Idaho, certainly no hotbed of insurrection by the Festive Nation, Sen. Craig may very well have been *unaware* of the significance of his conduct to the same extent that many of the heterosexual persuasion are unaware of the "hanky code" of yore, or a fair amount of other rather specialized history and triviata in the LGBT community. Could be the man is simply dumb as a stump.

Secondly, let's look at where the man comes from in terms of both time and place. Sen. Craig emerges from the *very conservative* State of Idaho, a place where unlike say...Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis, or Toronto of today (recall, he's not precisely a youngster, and his values and world-view were formed a good while back), it's much easier to pretend *really hard* to be what you want to be (straight & accepted & successful) and do the whole "get married, try to have kids, and fake it" bit - particularly when in the Senator's long-distant youth he was coming to an understanding of the world...and explain away occasional "slips" as misunderstandings (drunken or otherwise), somebody elses fault, or temporary lunacy.

Given that frequently the "pretend really hard bit" involves going way the heck overboard in the opposite direction (taking an often physically violent, punitive, bigoted stance against LGBT folks), I wouldn't be really all that surprised if Senator Craig was an old-school closet queen.

The problem, though, with the "pretend really hard" approach is the cost. More than ever, in an era of rapidly diminishing privacy, secrets will out. And, even in conservative Idaho, denial can only be sustained for so long by even the very most understanding spouse/child/friend/acquaintance. There's an upper limit to the number of possible misunderstandings before certain questions become rather....obvious. Usually followed by a few rounds of "I'm not gay, never have been, never will be" by the closet case in question.

And once the biowaste mets the rotating oscillator, there is plenty of devastation, hurt, drama, and pain to go around for everyone. Divorce, ostracization, and more!

Faced with (in that era) ostracism, criminal charges, abuse, and poverty should he remain in Idaho on the one hand; vs. leaving family and friends behind as quickly as possible and building a life someplace more accepting; vs "pretending really hard" - in this scenario, a callow and somewhat shallow Craig voted for "pretending really hard".

A lot of folks have "pretended really hard". Just enough have gotten way with it to offer false hope to the desperate. Usually it ends badly, and in todays more accepting environment (in most areas, and if you're not in one of those areas, it is far easier to get out to someplace more accepting today - if nothing else, there are more such accepting places) it is thankfully a less common occurance.

I'm not particularly offended by Sen. Craig. Depending on what facts eventually come out, I may feel sorry for him as a relic of a past era; I may giggle and think a busybody bigot got precisely what he had coming to him; I may gasp and wonder "how could he not KNOW better?". Might even be a combination thereof.

Only time will tell.

1 comment:

GeorgeH said...

Pat Buchanan of all people suggested that he may not be a hypocrite, but in his own eyes a sinner. He might actually believe all the anti gay things he says are true and that his escapades are his sins, like an alcoholic falling off the wagon.