Monday, September 03, 2007

Dear Senator Craig,

By one way or another—the fact that you’re a so-called “family values” crusader who got caught trolling for gay sex in a public toilet, your denials and desperate blamestorming that strain credulity and goad the nation into mocking you, or even the Dubya administration throwing you under the bus to pull focus from its Alberto Gonzales debacle—you’ve managed to plant yourself squarely at the top of the news with levels of emphasis and longevity that even I in my gleeful self-righteous Schadenfreude find to be excessive.

I’d never heard of you until last week, but the nation and I have come to know your type intimately over the last couple decades and especially over the last couple months: The purportedly Christian representative of the people who will say and do anything, no matter how untrue or unfair or unethical, to turn gay citizens into social and legal pariahs. The purportedly straight Christian moral leader who has such little respect for his wife and his family and his marriage vows that he will hire prostitutes and have sex in public toilets and risk destroying lives beyond his own. The purportedly honorable lawmaker who arrogantly thinks he’s above the laws of man and nature and common decency and therefore can get away with anything he wants.

And I’ve grown to hate you. Intensely.

It’s not just because you’ve campaigned so hard to barter away my rights as a gay man for hate votes. It’s not just because you march lockstep with a theopolitical party that has calibrated exactly how many lies about gay people it needs to feed a gullible electorate to stay in power. It’s not just because your actions ironically corroborate the ridiculous image you’ve tried to create in the public’s mind that gay people are shameless, compulsive sexual predators who will do anything—no matter how disgusting or offensive or inappropriate—in the pursuit of an orgasm.

But now, by keeping your wide-stance, waving-under-the-toilet-wall sexual perversions in the news—and vowing to actually fight the charges to which you’ve already pleaded guilty, which just guarantees more and more prominent coverage—you’re promoting your vulgar sexual lifestyle to my fiancé’s and my nieces and nephews.

They’re at the age where their parents are working hard to promote good citizenship habits, which include watching the news to stay informed about what’s important in the world. They’re at the age where they’re discovering that the dominant heterosexual paradigm isn’t the only paradigm—and that the gay paradigm that people like you have worked so tirelessly to teach kids is something shameful—is as close to them as someone in their family whom they love and admire. They’re at the age where their own sexuality—whatever it may be—is slowly starting to manifest itself and where they are absorbing every bit of information they find on the topic.

And now you are forcing their parents to explain what’s bad about touching someone’s foot in the bathroom, what a mugshot is and why you look so unhappy in yours, what it means when a grown man claims on national television that he is not gay. And they’re struggling to do it in neutral terms so as not to portray all gay people—especially these kids’ beloved uncles—as deceitful and desperate and selfish and utterly pathetic as you are.

In different circumstances, I’d feel sorry for you for feeling trapped as a gay man in the gay-hostile straight world you’ve tried to create for yourself. But you’ve helped build this gay hostility, one anti-gay vote and one anti-gay speech at a time. I’d feel sorry for your wife, but she willfully married into your so-called “family values” world and is as complicit in its fallout as you are.

So instead I just sit here hating you. And hoping that you end up being the purportedly straight Christian moral leader caught living a sexually compulsive secret gay life who finally turns the ship around. That after months of Ted Haggards and Jim Naugles and Bob Allens and David Vitters and now you, your gullible electorate will wake up and realize that gay people are not the enemy and selective Christianity is not the answer and your version of “family values” is nothing but a divisive platitude used for political grandstanding.

But I know better. There will be more of you bubbling to the surface like the foul pond scum you are. So-called "social conservative" Republicans will use your stories to further vilify gay people. Religious leaders will use your stories to further scare the public. Reactionary voters will use your stories to further justify their hatred.

And until you work to undo the damage you’ve done to the public’s understanding of gay people, you will suffer more than the rest of us. And for that, I will be glad.

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