Lying In Your Own Bed

I didn’t really want to comment on Larry Craig’s… um… episode… in an airport restroom. I wanted to stick to the high ground. I wanted to be above it all. Alas, I’m not. And it is all the GOP’s fault.

They were the ones that made this bed, it is now time for them to lie down in it and get real cozy.

Since I can remember, or more specifically, since the Religious Right first started to flex its political muscle with alliteration minded groups such as the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, and the Christian Coalition, there has been a powerful group that has focused on restricting the cultural aspects of America into a thinly defined set of standards.

Abortion is evil, Gay people are evil, premarital or extramarital sex is evil, God is good, the traditional “nuclear” family is good, etc.

In a free and often times free-thinking America, a rational person can rightly think that some aspects of this doctrine is okay, but not all of it and most definitely not all the time. Just as at the onset of this country as its own separate entity, the US was almost solely a Christian nation but had to adapt as more immigrants began to change the theological make up of a country, the influences of today’s world necessitates further adaptations to make room for alternative lifestyles and cultures not considered acceptable decades ago.

It was at one time uncommon for married women to go off to work, now most households are dual income, a result of both ideological changes (the relatively new concept that women are equal to men), and a result of the modern economy which makes single income families increasingly less feasible.

Likewise, in the wake of the Civil Rights movement of the sixties, ethnic minorities were not the only members of our society to reap the benefits. As a nation I think we came to grips with a concept that descrimination on just about any means is not exactly in line with American values and as a result, homosexuals are beginning to realize that they too should be enjoying freedom from descrimination. To compliment this, society itself has grown tolerant and in many cases accepting of homosexuality at a rapid rate, particularly in the last two decades.

But while this headway is being made, we must again look towards this socially conservative block that has from the beginning sought to slow, stop, or reverse this progress at every possible junction.

They simply needed a vehicle.

The GOP would eventually provide this vehicle as Republicans embraced the messages of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell. The “Culture of Life” which became something of a Republican slogan was essentially a nod to the powerful fundamentalist Christian bloc, a way of letting them know who was on their side.

And it’s easy to understand why. Change is always resisted, and in the case of the progression of our society to meet the needs and wants of our shifting demographics, the Religious Right represented that resistance. They also represented a very effective political tool.

It should be understood that while a vast majority of Americans in some way or another identify themselves as some form of a Christian, those Christians which make up the Religious Right are relatively small. Their numbers, though considerable to a degree, are not what gives them their power. It’s their mobility, their enthusiasm, and their dedication.

For instance, when you take a look at the youth voting bloc in this country, a largely liberal bloc mind you, you will find that a rather low percentage of this bloc actually votes or partakes in politics at all. On the other hand, the Religious Right not only votes, but prints and hands out fliers, organizes demonstrations and protests, and has quickly adapted to the usage of the internet for message dissembling.

Further, their establishment as Christians gives them a strategically useful proximity advantage. Political actions and concepts may start off in the small epicenters of fundamentalist Christian movements, but because so many Americans are to some degree Christian, these ideas and actions often filter out to the less hard core subscribers to the faith.

And so it goes. The Religious Right established itself as a political powerhouse, and the GOP took full advantage of this powerhouse, associating itself for generations with the very concept of social conservatism.

**

In the case of Larry Craig, the Republican, there are two key points to recent history which has made his life as it is right now.

The first is the Republican crucade on homosexuality. The Religious Right’s focus on homosexuality is well documented and in some cases just horridly vile, like in the case of Fred Phelps. For much of America’s history, homosexuality was intolerable in just about all corners, but following the AIDS crises in the 80’s, it was almost as though there was a general awakening.

By the time the mid nineties reared its head, the entire homosexual scene was full speed ahead with gay rights parades and everything, and even culminating in what was, for its time, a radical idea in regards to the military; the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

But for the strides made in homosexual rights under the Clinton years, it seemed as though we were on our way in a regression under the Bush years. Early on he announced a constitutional ammendment to forever ban homosexual marriage in America; a move that ultimately failed, but still saw many states of the Union adopt their own gay marriage bans.

The message was simple; with Republicans in charge, gays were bad.

The second aspect of recent history was the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Whether it was a one time moment of weakness, or Bill Clinton was an outright habitual adulterer, I don’t know. Nor do I care. When it comes to our elected officials, my primary concern is if they can govern and legislate effectively, not what they do behind closed doors.

Rick Santorum be damned, if a congressman wants to engage in “man-on-dog” activities in the privacy of his own home, that’s fine with me (note: This is a joke. Before anyone gets carried away there are obvious animal rights concerns with engaging in sexual activities with animals outside the human species.) so long as he is good at his job.

But this wasn’t the role that Republicans in congress wanted to take. With this single action of impeaching Bill Clinton essentially over a blow job, as opposed to staying out of the man’s personal life, the GOP opened a pandora’s box, one that had already been open for a while, but at this point they had taken screwdrivers to the hinges and removed the lid completely.

While enjoying public approval ratings in the mid sixties throughout, Bill Clinton was publically raked across the coals for sexual activity.

This while then speaker of the house Newt Gingrich was having an affair of his very own; and he didn’t even salvage his marriage from that one.

And so the stage is set for Mr. Craig.

If the world were the way I wanted it, Mr. Craig could have openly been a homosexual years ago, and he would have never had to worry about trying to solicit sex from another man in an anonymous airport restroom. But I rarely seem to get what I want.

Because the GOP, held in thrall by its socially conservative constituency, didn’t like this narrative, Craig instead has spent much of his public life denying homosexual activity, and trying to find it in secret. Because of the GOP’s blood thirsty war on Clinton’s privacy, Craig also finds himself at the mercy of his own private life.

This is the kind of world his party wanted, and now they have it.

I can feel no pity.

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