Monday, August 27, 2007

Craig Cops to Conduct (and Clinton Crush?)

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), the closet's latest casualty, denied that he was gay today, despite the fact that it was discovered he recently plead guilty to a reduced charge of "disorderly conduct," rather than face prosecution on charges of "public lewdness." Craig was arrested by a plainclothes officer he "met" in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

My initial reaction when I heard this story was the same as it always is in these circumstances -- why don't they ever, ever let us know what the undercover cop looked like. Seriously. Was he hot? Should it have been obvious? Is he straight? It drives me nuts.

Once calmed though, I have to admit that what I then felt was a sadness for the fact that anyone -- even a pompous, finger-pointing hypocrite like the "distinguished gentleman from the fine State of Idaho" -- should choose, particularly at his age, to live the life of a closeted gay man. The closet is cruel, unnecessary -- so 70's, so "Merv."

Gay men have long been targeted by undercover sting operations, selectively enforcing these out-dated, ill-conceived statutes. The only time these arrests seem fair is when the occasional politician, preacher, law enforcement officer, judge, reparative therapist, or the errant Exodus International employee gets stung; men who despite being in positions affording them opportunities to positively affect the way gay men are treated by the law, their families and their communities, fail to do so. The truth is, however, that the ones who suffer the most -- young boys grappling their evolving sexual selves in a society that says they are freaks, married men living tortured lives in the closet, self-hating men hellbent on self-destruction -- are the one's who need our understanding and compassion the most.

Every gay man has either dealt with this exact scenario or knows dozens of others who have; the implications of this public shaming of gay men are impossible to calculate, but easy to imagine. It needs to stop.

Thankfully, I have noticed a growing impatience with this law enforcement tactic, which actually bears an undeniable similarity to the raids of gay bars that sparked "Stonewall." Brave men are refusing to plead guilty and spending their own time, energy, public clout and a lot of money to challenge the laws and their selective enforcement. The gay community needs to recognize their efforts and vocally and financially support the same.

What follows is a clip from a "Meet the Press" show from 1999 of Sen. Craig publicly chastising then-President Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky debacle. Seen today, in light of the recent revelations, Craig's words take on an entirely new meaning, I think.

After viewing the video, I'm convinced that Senator Craig has it bad for Clinton and would love to run into him in a restroom somewhere.

You be the judge:

". . . nasty, bad, naughty boy"???

You can't make this shit up.

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