Live your life authentically.
When conservative Republican Senator Larry Craig from Idaho made a play for another man in a restroom my first reaction was this is a great political story with ‘legs’. There would be days of coverage with leaks and tidbits that would send each political party into either offensive or defensive playbooks to counter the other side. I enjoy news events that shake things up, and make for great discussions on WGN radio or NPR. I enjoy “Hardball” when a story like this develops. That is what us political junkies sink our teeth into. And to be honest this type of story makes us bloggers pick up a lot of readers. (Last night my blog was linked at the bottom of CNN’s website story about this scandal.)
But my other instant reaction at hearing the news was how dare this bastard, who betrayed gay Americans while serving in Congress, conduct himself in a reckless fashion so that in the end only another stereotypical image will be created for anti-gay bigots in the nation.
For many years after the annual gay pride parade the morning newspaper would print a photo that was colorful and fun from the event, but one that did not represent the rank and file gay person in the city. Flamers and cross dressers are not the norm in the gay community anymore than Larry Craig is, but somehow an image from a gay pride parade, or of Craig, often sticks in too many minds as the ‘way they all are’. The stereotyping of gay people is not as rampant as it once was in the nation, but still it represents an issue for many to deal with on both sides of the divide. What Craig has done is give fodder for those who wish to demonize all gay people.
The fact that Craig’s actions are just weird to the point that he is way on the margins of society, much like the cross-dressers in a pride parade, will not be enough for the anti-gay crowd in the country to resist using his story for their own narrow purposes.
One can rightfully argue that if our nation had been more humane and progressive when Larry Craig was in college, or in his early adult years, that his coming to terms with his sexuality would have been easier, and therefore not a newsworthy item now. That type of just society is one that liberals fight for every day. Those are the types of rights that are advocated from time to time on this blog. When people are forced into the closet for whatever reason, and denied the right to live honestly, the results are the sad type of story now playing out in the headlines with Senator Craig.
But in no way do my feelings alter the total disgust that many Americans and I feel with the Senator over his voting record in Congress. In spite of his recent statement denying being gay, Craig has led a double life, and therefore had a duty to protect and fight for issues that impacted all of gay society. To vote in a reckless and spiteful way against gay Americans, while cheating on his wife with men, is something that he should never expect forgiveness for. Not from his wife, and not from any gay person. He sold his inner convictions for a cheap chicken dinner and the time to speak at conservative events.
He dishonored his family and the nation. Not by being gay. But by not living authentically. He chose a life of lies for himself and his family. That is the real tragedy to this story. Society that condones bigotry and denies people the ability and right to live life honestly should understand that the ‘Larry Craigs’ are the result.
There is only one way to live life.
Live your life authentically.
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