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Saturday, September 01, 2007

 
Saving a Senator. Idaho Senator Larry Craig is expected to announce his resignation today. I am trying to head that off. A few minutes ago, at about 7:20am, I sent the following message via feedback form at the Senator's website.

DON'T RESIGN; FIGHT BACK!

(Note to staff: I know that Senator Craig is not in Washington today. I'm not even certain anyone is in his office on a Saturday, altho this Saturday of all Saturdays, someone assuredly SHOULD be. PLEASE contact the Senator urgently, as by cellphone, BEFORE he makes any statement to the press, to convey to him the sense of this message, if not even to read aloud every single word or forward it to his email in Idaho. He needs to consider this.)
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IF SENATOR VITTER, also a Republican, wasn't forced to resign despite his illicit heterosexual activity, why should you resign over illicit homosexual activity? It's time for you to come out fighting. That means first, to "come out" and come clean with Idahoans about your biological need for sex with men, and second, to fight, not just for yourself, but for the right of all men to have sex with men in dignified settings if they so desire, and not be forced into the shadows.
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I am the man who in 1970 coined the term "Gay Pride" as it is now used. You need to listen to me. I'm on your side (assuming you really are sexually drawn to men; but, then, why else would you resign? Resignation constitutes admission, and no one will reach any other conclusion if you resign).
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Vitter admitted to involvement with prostitutes. You didn't pay anyone – except the State of Minnesota, which should be ashamed of itself for entrapping you and other men seeking consensual sex, and extorting money from you. There is a fundamental issue of equality here that you as a United States Senator must stand up for. You weren't caught "in flagrante delicto" in front of little children. You were arrested for tapping your foot! How on Earth does that rise to the level of an offense that requires resignation from the United States Senate?
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There's another public-policy issue I have not seen discussed. Is it really proper for a police department to release to the public the tapes of a police interrogation? Aren't there serious privacy issues involved here?
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Moreover, WHAT ABOUT entrapment? You raised the issue when arrested, and it is a HUGE issue. Surely in a country as filled with robbery, drugs, gangs, violence, and murder as ours, there are far better uses for police than entrapping men who are merely looking for trivial physical activity that gives pleasure to both participants. Give the cops hell. Tell Minnesota that if it has police to waste on entrapping homosexuals, then its police department is too large, and should be cut drastically in staffing and budget, as to save Minnesota taxpayers, gay and straight alike, from the obligation to PAY for police misconduct.
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What you pled guilty to was not a felony, not a crime against humanity, but little more serious than a speeding ticket. You must not resign from the Senate over a speeding ticket. Sex is TRIVIAL, and every adult KNOWS it is trivial. Say so, repeatedly.
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Why should men who feel sexual attraction to men go along with society's preposterous prejudices? Don't play their game. For once in your life, stand up for yourself. Because it's NOT JUST YOURSELF that you would be standing up for. You need to stand up for all men struggling with an attraction to men that they did not choose to feel and can do nothing to deny. You tried, didn't you? You lost. Because in a contest between your authentic self and the person others may want you to be, the authentic self can be suppressed only so long. Eventually, he's going to win out. And that's a good thing.
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Stand up for the kid just starting to wonder what's wrong with him. Stand up for the men entrapped, arrested, intimidated, robbed, beaten, even killed by bigots and opportunists. If you had stood up ten years ago, and done something to change social attitudes, people like Matthew Shepard in your neighboring State of Montana might still be alive. Conversely, however, if you let the bigots win, and run away from the challenge, there may be other men who will suffer death or psychic destruction at the hands of a society that doesn't mean to be monstrously intolerant, but is.
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I have been to Idaho, twice, and do not believe the people of Idaho in general are vicious bigots, tho of course some are. You need to give Idahoans the chance to show their true colors, as understanding human beings who can appreciate how difficult it must be for someone who was raised to be straight but finds it's just not in him, or as narrow-minded yahoos who can't accept the right of anyone to be different from themselves.
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I think you, and the Nation, might be pleasantly surprised by the decency and tolerance of the people of Idaho. What disgusts Idahoans, as it disgusts Americans generally, is not so much your need for men but your disgraceful hypocrisy. Disown the hypocrisy. Own up to being homosexual, and the revulsion people feel for your conduct will drop to manageable proportions. Yes, some people will be offended that you want sex with men. Most people will understand that everybody wants sex with somebody, and it's all pretty much the same.
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What matters is not whom you want but how you treat the person. If David Vitter can get away with kinky sex with female prostitutes, surely you should be able to get away with nonkinky sex with men, in which no money changes hands. It's all in how you handle it (the issue, that is). Do not accept the right of straights to be perverts yet remain in the Senate while gay men must resign just for being gay. Jim McGreevey, Governor of my State (New Jersey) did that. He could have served as the first openly gay governor of a State!, but resigned. You can serve as the first openly gay member of "the world's greatest deliberative body". (And stop the definitional quibbling, "gay" as against "homosexual". You want sex with men, you're gay. You're "bisexual", as provocative Comedy Central comic Carlos Mencía says, you're gay. The DENIAL is what infuriates people. Stop denying. Own up. Take responsibility. Be yourself. Then people will respect you. They may not agree with you, but they'll respect you. And that's a lot more than you've got right now.
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Idahoans can grow, to accept the otherness of others, but they need leadership. You're supposed to be a leader.
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To understand what homosexual boys and then men go thru in trying to cope with their different nature when surrounded by people unlike themselves, Idahoans need an actual person to sympathize with. You are a person.
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The Republican Party also needs to grow, and stop being the party of vicious intolerance and closed-mindedness. If the national party won't support you, shame them. They want to shame you. No. Shame them! People such as the present leadership of the Republican Party are the ones responsible for making your life miserable. They are the ones who made you feel bad about yourself, who forced you into a lie of a marriage, who forced you to say terrible things about people like yourself, in order to curry favor with them. You owe antihomosexual bigots nothing. You owe homosexuals everything, because they are you. And you have an obligation to you.
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You need to accept your nature and become champion for gay men. You didn't ask for this responsibility. It was thrust upon you. If you are not up to it, then, and only then, the fault will be in you. Be certain of this: if you resign, you WILL regret not accepting the challenge and fighting your best fight, for your best self.
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So apologize to everyone you have deceived. Apologize for the terrible things you felt you had to say to cover up your nature. But don't "go along to get along" anymore. Break with the past. Be a man— a man who needs men. There is no shame in that. There is, however, great shame in denying your nature, turning against yourself and your own people, and sending the wrong message. Resigning would send the wrong message: that gay men should be ashamed of themselves, and that there is no room in the highest levels of government for an open, self-accepting, yes proud, gay man.
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The press is expecting a resignation today, which would send the message that homosexual men have no right to be in the United States Senate. Surprise the bastards. Tell them that 62 years of trying to be something you're not is enough, and that it's time now for you to be you, no longer ashamed, no longer intimidated, no longer hiding and playing the game.
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You're not going to live forever. You have the right to some happiness before you die. You won't get it by caving in to the bigots, sticking to the lie, and hiding in shame until you die in disgrace.
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Thirty years from now, you can be a footnote or a giant. How do you want to be remembered?

Gay men have no Senators to champion their interests. Larry Craig could be our champion. Will he? I have done what I can to persuade him. If he is intent on getting this whole thing behind him as soon as possible, he may rush to do the wrong thing. Will he understand that, subconsciously, he brought this exposure upon himself deliberately, because he wanted to be forced to deal with being gay, and to assume his responsibilities as a gay man in a powerful, political position? Darn. I neglected to make that point above. Ah well, he's unlikely to hear what I tried to tell him before he meets the press today. When one has no influence, one has no responsibility. But I tried anyway. If he makes the wrong decision, it's not my fault.
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