Welcome Reader

I suppose it is kind of preposterous that one imagines himself important enough to write down his opinions for others to read. Chattering superciliousness is one of the most infuriating things about academics and so-called intellectuals, generally, who feel compelled to share their thoughts. But here it goes, anyway.

Senator Craig and Dating in Restroom Stalls

by Michael E. Berumen 8-31-07

Senator Larry Craig was convicted of disorderly conduct for lewd behavior in an airport lavatory. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor to get the thing behind him and, he hoped, to conceal the matter from the public. Well, that was surely stupid of him. The media is now abuzz with the matter. Most of the chatter is about entirely the wrong thing and, to my mind, consists of alternating demonstrations of schadenfreude and silliness. Let’s get several of these items out of the way.

Is he gay? He apparently likes to have sex with men; so what, and call it what you will. One gathers that there is a record of thick smoke over many years, so, while not proof positive, there’s probably a fire, somewhere.

Is he a hypocrite? Yes, he most likely is, and this is very much in line with a growing roster of social conservatives keen to impose restrictions on the rest of us. Some appear to do this to conceal their own sexual predilections; perhaps even in an attempt to convince themselves that they are not wicked sinners. In any case, we all could stand to be a little less sanctimonious and a little more introspective on the matter of hypocrisy and sinfulness.

Should he resign? He certainly would not be the first person with a chink or two in his armor to remain in government; but he surely will not weather this storm easily with his erstwhile political friends abandoning him at the speed of light, including that wholesome political cipher, Governor Mitt Romney. I don’t think Senator Craig should be forced to resign just because he has some sexual issues or because he’s a hypocrite. Speaking of hypocrisy, perhaps his social-conservative colleagues should show him a bit more of that much-touted and little-used "Christian charity." Compassionate conservatism, my ass. One thing is certain: he isn’t going to be reelected in Idaho, and, on the whole, that’s a good thing, but not because of this episode, but because many of his ideas are wrongheaded.

So, setting these media magnets aside, let’s focus on what is really important, here: why in the world are policemen trolling in restrooms for homosexuals who want to have sex with other adult men? Why aren’t our policemen out looking for murderers, rapists, terrorists, vandals, child molesters, and thieves instead of horny travelers in airports? While we’re at it, why is it illegal to ask another adult for sex, even with rather bizarre hand and foot signals? The fact is that a great many people, indeed, I expect, most adults who ask other adults for a date, do so with the hope of eventually having sex with them. I am absolutely certain that this is true when it comes to most men. What exactly is it that makes cutting to the chase so morally reprehensible, notwithstanding the unconventional, unromantic, and somewhat comical method, not to mention the rather distasteful environment? Must asking another for sex be preceded by flowers, a meal, and a movie, and in what kind of location does one have to pose the question in order for it not to be considered disorderly?

It’s not as though the senator was carrying a sign soliciting fellatio in the baggage area or exposing himself to children on the concourse. He was asking another adult man for a sexual encounter in a relatively private way, using what heretofore was an obscure sign language that a non-initiate might have thought odd, but would not have understood and probably would have ignored. Had he been in the lounge and boorish enough to whisper in another’s ear that he would like to have sex, the object of his lust simply could have told him to go to hell or to meet him at some other place, but surely no one would have arrested him unless he was relentless after being asked to stop. He did not have sex in public view (I think even I would have qualms about that one) and he did not do anyone any harm by asking for it in what amounts to a foreign language.

Senator Craig’s sexual preference, his cruising manners, and his all too-human duplicity are not the problems. The problem is the law itself, and our continued reliance on strictures rooted in primitive religious precepts about sexuality. Moreover, aside from the silliness of arresting men or women for asking other adults for sex, it is simply bizarre for taxpayers' dollars to be wasted on law enforcement having to deal with such inconsequential matters when there are so many more important things for them to do. If, for some reason, the owners (including taxpayers) of a restroom or of some other venue want to ban people from asking others for sex or dates, then they should post visible signs prohibiting such conduct and then they or their agents can remove violators from the property. Don’t arrest them for unconventional manners and then subject them to public humiliation over puritanical and anachronistic notions of decency.