Sara Whitman

Senator Craig: Guilty of Act? Guilty of Denial? Or Just Plain Guilty?

Filed By Sara Whitman | August 28, 2007 6:08 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: bathrooms, larry craig, outing, scandal, sex, tearooms

Someone better hire this guy a new political consultant because after he pled guilty to charges stemming from a game of footsies with an undercover officer, he pretty much sealed his own deal.

I mean, what do you expect Senator? I believe at your level of government service, you should know a few of the very basic laws in this country. When the plea was offered, were you coerced? Did you not understand the law? Did you need a translator for the rich, powerful and arrogant to explain this was, in fact, an admission of guilt to cruising the men's room for sex?

Personally, I hate the idea that public bathrooms are used to cruise for sex. I have three boys. I send them into airport bathrooms and stand right outside. More than three minutes pass and I'm in there.

Yes, I have gone in before and I will again.

To think that a Senator of this country was in there for a very long period of time- reports vary but it was way more than three minutes- and that's all it takes my seven year old to take care of business and still have time to play with the automatic dryer.

Enough with the bullshit, Senator. We know why you were there.

The question of entrapment keeps coming up but you know, I think it's missing the point. Not because there are very real issues around the fact that gay sex is targeted even when there is no money being exchanged while heterosexual lovers in cars tend to get the easy pass- slap on the wrist in comparison to a criminal offense. Undercover officers do some of the most important police work in this country so stop wasting their time and put a uniformed officer in there instead.

I promise, no funny business will be going on.

Don't you feel yourself wanting to start to argue that point? But, people, that's not the point here. We've been distracted by a larger societal issue that is VERY worthy of lengthy discussion. We're talking about a man who pleads guilty to an offense he was in complete comprehension of and understood all the ramifications.

This isn't about law enforcement or entrapment or even LGBT civil rights. It's about a pathetic, clueless old man who thought he could break the rules, play all sides and never get caught.

And this is a man, who for his entire political career, has worked in fervor against any LGBT issues on the table. He claimed a higher moral ground while he was cruising for sex in bathrooms because... well, because his fundraising clearly depended on it. It's doubtful that a gay man in Idaho would get elected Senator but I might be wrong about that. Regardless, if he wanted to be in the closet, still stay married, be a Senator, well, I can understand all of that. It's not easy to be out, it means job discrimination, it means physical harassment and sometimes violence, it means not being able to have your loved one be your legal spouse or any of those benefits. It means, often, losing your family and friends. It's not an easy path. I can respect anyone who chooses to live in the closet on one condition:

They don't actively fight for laws in an elected office that allow for discrimination, hate and bigotry. If Senator Craig needs a pick me up every now and then from the men's room, I think that's pathetic, but ... to each his own and understand, you're going to get caught.

More importantly? All that banner waving, hate mongering anti-gay rhetoric is going to kick you in the ass.

We all know what he was doing. So did he.

Due process was served. I think that makes him guilty, guilty and even more guilty.

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Sarah: This isn't about love, this is about S-E-X in front of the C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N!

Alex: Sex Cauldron? I thought they closed that place down!

Oh, I'm sure there's a Simpsons' quotation for every situation.

I don't know if we should ignore all of these other things. It would be great if we got a discussion about how people of privilege and power think that they can get away with anything and actually solved that problem. It would be great if we had a discussion about entrapment of gay men in public spaces that starts here.

But we won't and nothing will be solved. Instead we'll call him a hypocrite, conservatives will pretend like they never liked him in the first place, 90% of people talking about this in the news and in private will make homophobic statements, and nothing will change.

I finally tried it all out. I was at the gym tonight, and I tapped my foot on the floor three times and no man appeared who wanted to have sex with me. Then again, if Larry Craig jumped into the stall, I'd be like, you need some toilet paper? B/c there's no way I'd do him.

He had a full understanding of what was going on, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't a power dynamic at play there. The officer who arrested him didn't have enough evidence for a case, no evidence of a crime, no matter how much everyone "knows" what was going on there, and the officer knew it. That's why Craig was going to be charged on a trumped up felony charge, at least he's indicated that a no one has disputed that, and tried to make the whole thing go away by pleaing down to a misdemeanor. The deck was, in one important way, stacked against him because the officer had the full weight of society's homophobia and sexophobia on his side. And the fact that he knew that it was doesn't make it any better. I suppose that is due process, knowing that you're screwed and how you're screwed, but then again that doesn't make it right.

Of course, I'm not saying that he should be allowed to have sex there or that his politics are good or even tolerable. Honestly, I don't get this whole thing and I just learned about the suitcase and the tapping the foot thing from this - I prefer my sex horizontal and on a soft surface, with a boy who's willing to identify as queer in some way.

But I'm wondering why him having or wanting to have sex with someone he meets in public restrooms means that he should support same-sex marriage. I mean, it's not really hypocritical not to want to get a same-sex marriage and then oppose it for everyone. Sadistic, in a society that has built itself around that institution, is a more apt term.

He's actually fitting the anti-gay model of homosexuality a whole lot better than any of us out n' proud LGBT-squadders do. They think that we're all just het, married to the Opposite Sex and having sex in public on the side and are really sad and entitled and amoral and all about the sex, and well, Larry's proving them right. Maybe he's the opposite of hypocritical! Maybe he's an anti-gay plant.

In the end, I'm going to have to side with this being an LGBT civil rights issue, at least the larger issue is, and it's one that gets ignored often because the victims don't fit society's model of wonderful people. They don't keep their sex within long-term, conjugal relationships, and they aren't "innocent". And in a society that privileges sex in relationships and regulates everything non-normative, and in a society that's obsessed with innocence when it comes to treating people decently, the brunt force of which LGBT people deal with on the daily, I think that when all that comes crashing down on one of our own (he's either queer or not, and I'm willing to say that he is), it's an LGBT civil rights issue. We don't get to choose the victims we like and limit discussions to them.

I'm not going to pretend like nothing went down there or that he's a great person - but the cop very likely railroaded him into a plea knowing that he had homophobia on his side and the power to ruin Craig's life. And I'm sure he had fun doing it.

Oh, but I'm still going to make fun of him for being an anti-sex advocate who proves, once again, that sex is important to almost everyone. That and this whole thing stands to get a lot funnier as he keeps on trying to weasel out of the situation. What's that? Did Mitt Romney just say that this is like Clinton? I'm going to go post!