A reader compares Larry Craig to former Spokane Mayor Jim West, whose support for anti-gay policies came to haunt him when revelations over his own sexuality hit the papers. PBS's Frontline did a documentary about him, which you can watch here. Our reader writes that rather than feel schadenfreude over Craig's (and West's) downfall, gays--and liberals, more generally--should welcome them into the fold.
I breath the air of freedom because of gays who struggled for rights, and we gays nearly breath the air of equality thanks to our continued persistence. Craig and West were stuck in a place from which they saw no escape and are mortal beings who made mistakes.
I wish the gay community would shelter them from these storms; would extend welcoming arms as I believe our community has always welcomed people; and say to the Christianists: if you will cast him out, then we will take him in (not that Senator Craig will come running to the next Pride event, but it is the gesture and tone that is most important I believe).
It seems to me the Christianists calling for Craig to be tossed overboard are far from their Christian teachings of love, truth, tolerance and acceptance. I had a flash of anger today listening to Mitt Romney say, "He's no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine. He resigned just today. And you know, he was one of those who was helping my effort, and I'm sorry to see that he has fallen short."
For political points Mr. Romney is going to dump his friend flat and then thrash him on national television. When Larry needs someone to stand by him the most, Mitt is getting as far away from him as he can.
It was the D.C. thing to do, not the Christian thing to do.
I too feel a strange bit of sympathy for Craig--as I feel sad for any man of his age who has had to live a lie for so long. Like most gay men, I think I can understand what he's going through, but I was an adolescent at the time--not 62. But Craig has only compounded his own misfortune by hurting others. He has a perfectly anti-gay voting record. If he was closeted but didn't use his powers to harm gay people, then there would be cause to sympathize. But Craig now claims that there is a "cloud over Idaho" because of his own alleged attempts to solicit sex in a restroom. How myopic. Craig's own, individual actions do not suddenly cast a pall over his entire state and, more ominously, Craig seems to be implying that to be considered homosexual is to have a "cloud over" one's dignity. It's no surprise that he feels this way.
Craig could have done what Jim McGreevey did and just come out of the closet (but not simultaneously claim that homosexuality was the cause of his ethical wrongdoing). And, of course, Mitt Romney's kicking Craig while he's down is everything we've come to expect from the former Governor with the movie-star good looks who will do and say anything to get elected.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, my friend Dale Carpenter has more on why, if you don't necessarily feel sympathy for Craig, you ought at least question the police powers used to arrest him.
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