Craig backlash reflective of bigotry in America
One week ago, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, publicly admitted to pleading guilty to charges of disorderly conduct after being arrested for looking for sex in a men’s public restroom at an airport.†
After the initial attack of schadenfreude over an anti-gay Republican senator being caught in a possibly homoerotic situation, one must realize that this is actually a sad situation.
Craig, who has since announced his intentions to resign from the Senate effective Sept. 30, is a victim of a long and embarrassing tradition of homophobia in this country.† Some demagogues, the President and most of the Republican party, such as former Senator Craig included, will claim that they are simply "enforcing traditional values" with their bigotry.†
If, instead of being demonized, gays were allowed to be completely open about their sexuality, Craig would not have been looking for anonymous sex in a public bathroom in the first place, but instead would be looking for such encounters in more traditional ways, much like straight men looking for a one night stand do these days.†
After all, it’s a known fact that there are plenty of gay bars in Washington, D. C., and even Boise has to have one or two of them.
But instead, Craig is just another poster boy for self-hating homosexuality in America, right next to former preacher Ted Haggard and Mark Foley.†
This self-hatred did not occur de novo in these people, but was instead learned from their parents and the rest of our culture, which uses terms that relate to homosexuality to deride and degrade situations, things and people seen as less than acceptable.†
As a shining example of the institutional homophobia present in our culture, I point to Montana state senator Dave Lewis, who said the following on the emerging scandal: "As a Republican state senator in Montana and as a human being, I am offended by Senator Craig’s existence. Why oh why are most of the perverts that get caught Republicans? Are there more of them or are they just stupid? The thought of a U.S. senator chasing love in all the wrong places makes me think longingly of the Ayatollahs in Iran. They would just kill the turkey."†
Now, if that doesn’t strike you as wrong, perhaps replacing the word "perverts" with, say, "blacks" would get the point across.† Granted, some kinds of "perverts" do get off on illegal activity – rapists and pedophiles certainly fit into this category.†
However, lumping gays in with people who actually do harm society through their paraphilias is just the kind of thing that has been happening in this country for far too long.†
McCormick, a computer science post-baccalaureate student, can be reached via [email protected]