Senatorial Footsie

Senator Larry Craig's bathroom activities dominate the news and blogs today. Nothing gets the words flowing like the combination of sex and politics, I suppose. The Senator denies being gay but doesn't seem to deny the basic facts of the incident. His conduct was, at a minimum, very strange. I personally was not aware that foot-tapping is an invitation for sex but I'm glad to now have this useful bit of knowledge. (Note to self: don't listen to the iPod in airport restrooms.)

Anyway, two points come to mind. First, those who call Senator Craig a hypocrite for opposing gay marriage while, apparently, having same-sex inclinations of his own are not helping their cause. If gay people want the right to enter into legally recognized, lifelong commitments, the last thing they should argue is that anonymous sex in airport restrooms is just fine as long those who engage in it come out of the closet. This sort of behavior is the polar opposite of marriage. Gay people who seek committed relationships should be repulsed by it.

As for being a hypocrite, aren't we all in one way or another? It is entirely possible to simultaneously a) believe that a certain behavior is immoral, and b) be unable to resist one's own urges to engage in that same behavior. As much as we struggle to do good, every single day we still do things we know to be wrong. To be human is to be a hypocrite. The fact that we are often unable to live up to the standard does not mean that no standard exists.

The second point is political and practical. If, in fact, Senator Craig is gay, it is likely that this was not his first bathroom encounter. Leaving aside the moral dimension, such behavior is risky, dangerous, unhealthy and rude, not to mention illegal.

We elect people to represent us in Washington on the assumption that they are smart individuals who will make wise decisions on matters of public policy. Can a Senator who looks for sex in an airport bathroom stall also be a man of sound and mature judgment? Someone we trust to make life-or-death decisions? Maybe so, but the odds are against it. Therefore he should not be a Senator, a fact which the people of Idaho will likely make clear to him at their next opportunity.

No comments: