The Distinguished Gentleman From Idaho
Susan Estrich, Creators.com
An airport men's room?
Couldn't you do better than that, Senator?
After consistently voting against efforts to protect gay and lesbian Americans from hate crimes and to preserve their civil rights, you go into the men's room at the airport and try to pick up the guy in the next stall?
And then you have the audacity to claim that the police officer is lying, even though you pleaded guilty and tried to hush up the whole thing; that you're being unfairly punished for having a "wide stance" and picking up a nonexistent piece of paper from the bathroom floor?
The fundamental issue here isn't sexual orientation.
The distinguished gentleman from Idaho, as members of Congress refer to each other, is a public nuisance, a blatant liar and a hopeless hypocrite. The Senate is tarnished by his presence. The people of Idaho deserve better.
Go home, Senator Wide Stance. Go tell your wife your lies. Explain your votes to her.
The list of what's wrong with this guy is endless.
You want to have sex with another man, go right ahead. But don't do it in a restroom at the airport, full of kids traveling alone or with their mothers. Unaccompanied minors have a right not to worry when they have to go to the bathroom. I'm glad the airport police were in there looking for disgusting old men who are so ashamed of their sexuality that they resort to doing it in bathroom stalls. I don't care what your orientation is — a public restroom is no place for sex, particularly when it's a public restroom in a public place that's full of children.
I'm one of those mothers who stand outside the men's room at the airport waiting for their sons, one eye on my watch and the other on every man who walks in. When my son was a little boy, I brought him into the ladies room. But as every mother will tell you, once they get past a certain age, they won't come. Family bathrooms help for a while, but they aren't that common. And once they get a little older, every boy tells his mother he's fine and can go on his own. Maybe I should carry a Capitol Hill Facebook from now on.
Then there's the matter of lying. Senator Craig jumped all over former President Clinton as being "bad, nasty and naughty" for having a consensual affair in his office with an adult woman and then lying about it. I'm not going to defend the president for what was clearly inappropriate and wrongful conduct, but at least he finally came clean about it. The senator is still playing the blame game.
A wide stance? Gimme a break. Peeking through the crack to observe the man in the next stall? What was that about? Waving his hand into the next stall, later claiming he was picking up a piece of paper that didn't exist? How dumb does he think we are?
But my favorite is his claim that he only pleaded guilty because he didn't consult a lawyer or understand his rights. Another lie. Eleven days after his arrest, he specifically asked for a police contact with whom his lawyer could communicate. He arranged a plea deal; his staff is full of lawyers. Senator Craig had easier access to legal counsel than 99 percent of those charged with crimes in this country.
But the piece de resistance is the hypocrisy of Senator Wide Stance. You want to be in the closet, be in the closet. But don't be a hypocrite. Senator Craig's voting record is 100 percent anti-gay. He voted twice against protecting from hate crimes those with more guts than he has, when he voted against the addition of the words "sexual orientation" to the federal hate crimes law. He supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He voted for federal legislation giving states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages — a right they already have, codified in federal law, not because there was a need for it, but because the gutless wonders in Congress were looking to score political points with the right by proving just how anti-gay they are. Or how hypocritical.
I don't believe in outing people who prefer to keep their sexual orientation private. But exposing hypocrisy is the appropriate business of the media. Senator Craig isn't the only hypocrite in Washington, and it's about time we started holding them accountable, not for what they do in private, but for how they vote in public.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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