The Larry Craig Affair

My guest-bloggers said a lot. I have not much more to add, except to say that while it is possible to note (and rightly so) the hypocrisy of Craig, and while it is sensible to believe that a sitting Senator should not be putting himself in such compromising positions, the large implications of an almost laughably petty misdemeanor are revealing of problems deeper than one man's personal tragedy. One problem is the cruelty of public discourse. Yes, Craig is a public figure, but he is also a human being, and a gay human being, and I feel for him, for the lies he has told himself and others, for the psychic pain that led him to this place, and for the obvious lack of self-control that his profoundly split identity entailed. I don't think he even knows he's gay. Yes, he deserves criticism for poor judgment, for trying to use his position to get out of a sticky situation, for opposing gay equality and dignity, while being gay himself. But this was a victimless incident, in which no one tried to harm anyone else; and he also needs support and help and compassion. The glee at his exposure came from both sides. It was ugly wherever it came from.

The incident should also tell the GOP something they still don't want to face, but need to urgently.

It is that gayness is as deep a part of someone's psychic core as can be found. It is not a sin; it's an identity. The attempt to stigmatize, deny, suppress or criminalize this identity simply cannot work in the long run. We have to find a way to integrate gay people as humanely and as constructively into the wider society as we can. The Craig affair is a function of dis-integration. This process of integration isn't easy, but it is essential if we are to avoid ruining more lives, destroying more families and wasting more resources. And it will not be fully possible until civil marriage offers gay people an alternative social role to that of outsider and threat. I want to live in a world where future Larry Craigs will not happen. Instead of excoriating one sad man, we should be concentrating on building that future. In Iowa, I'm glad to say, some are.