Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Larry Craig and the Lead Balloon

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter

Everybody's talkin' about faggots, faggots....

It’s a line from an old Beatles song. Weren’t they prescient? I suppose there are free speech advocates out there who would prosecute me for using the “other” f-word. Let me say right now that I love my gay brothers and sisters as much as a misanthrope could love anyone. But with the media all hyped up about Idaho Senator Larry Craig, I think it’s only fitting to focus on the general identity confusion and hypocrisy which extends well beyond the obvious family values hypocrisy of the aforementioned Senator.

Glad (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) will be wasting their time pillorying Jerry Lewis for using the “faggot” word while trying to chide a member of his staff. The long-time advocate of Muscular Dystrophy victims apologized almost immediately:

"I apologize to anyone who was offended. Everyone who knows me
understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. In the family atmosphere of the telethon, I forget that not everyone knows me that well."

Nothing more needs to be said on the subject but plenty will be, I’m sure.

As for Larry Craig, the lead balloon has been given new air by Pennsylvania’s increasingly dodgy Senator Arlen Specter. In typical lawyerly fashion, Specter jumped to the cameras to begin a parsing of words that would tempt your eighth grade English teacher. The only kind of “sense” revealed by the Specter statements in defense of Craig is legal sense. If Specter believes so much in defending Craig, then he should take up the case in his own legal offices and not in the court of public opinion. You’d almost think he was hired by Hillary’s campaign manager.

Of Hillary, she’s clearly honed in on the gay vote and her comic appearance on TV with Ellen DeGeneres was witty. And while it may not pass the legal and ethical tests, I find it churlish that the suddenly appearing highly indignant moral Democrats find it politically acceptable for Barney Frank to cavort with a seventeen-year old Senate page. And I marvel at the married-with-children former NJ Governor Jim McGreavy’s decision to join the Episcopalian Seminary. Whatevah…

The real tragedy of all this is that every breath, every utterance, every painful sigh becomes political to the degree that the truth is abandoned. A U.S. congressman shouldn’t be trolling for sex in a public bathroom or in a Senate cloakroom. Those people are where they are to conduct the business of the people.

Barney Frank, no matter his indiscretions, has a kind of moral authority by being who he is and not pretending to be anyone else. Jim McGreavy pretended to be someone else for a long time. I might feel greater empathy for Larry Craig if he dropped the charade and went quietly into that good night. Americans will forgive nearly anything except being lied to.

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