There’s no accounting for some things. A fool in love will commonly exhibit the fervent abandonment of any and all forms of logic and reason. Otherwise sane men and women forgo the better judgment of the brain to follow the fanciful caprices of the heart. Even more inexplicable is the behavior of someone ruled by passions south of the heart. The outcome tends to be increasingly deplorable as conduct is informed by impulses located further and further down the body.
By now, you may have rightly concluded this is a column concerning the recent behavior of the senior senator from Idaho. Since the episode in the now infamous Minnesota airport restroom became public several months ago, Larry Craig’s actions have become increasingly appalling. The ancient Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, excoriated the officials of his day because they were no longer able to even blush. Now if only a modern prophet had the stature of Jeremiah to condemn Craig for his stubborn refusal to be ashamed. How about a little contrition, Senator? Can you no longer even blush? Are you now so exalted that your face can’t turn red?
Most Idahoans breathed a sigh of relief when the disgraced senator announced his resignation. It was the decent thing to do. And even though many of us were dismayed by his despicable behavior, we gave him a nod for exiting the stage with a modicum of civility. What happened to set him on his current bonehead course is a mystery. It is to be denounced on at least three counts.
Craig’s behavior was indecent. Spare me the politically correct lecture about homophobia. What a man (or a woman) does in the privacy of the bedroom is not my concern here. The law has no business poking around in someone’s private sex life. The difficulty here is that Craig took his sex life out of the private sphere. When heterosexuals take their sex life out in public is it lewd and shameful. When homosexuals take their sex life out in public, it is lewd and shameful. In both cases, there are laws that apply. Not all sins are a crime. But all crimes are a sin. And Larry Craig has not the decency to acknowledge the sin after he has confessed the crime.
Craig’s behavior embarrasses his constituents. I supported this bonehead. Idahoans were by and large grateful to be represented by one of the most conservative senators in Congress. Even my fellow paleo-conservatives considered Craig to be one of theirs. We have been betrayed and humiliated. Craig is the redneck sheriff who enforces the minutia of the law and is on the take for the prostitute ring run by his cousin. Craig is the Mrs. Grundy who lectures the girls about how they comport themselves around young men and gets her kicks when the milkman delivers. Craig is the evangelical Ted Haggard who breaths out fire and brimstone against perverted sex and has repeated liaisons with young men. Craig is the conservative senator who loudly supports the Defense of Marriage Act and cruises dirty public restrooms for homosexual gratification.
Craig’s behavior further weakens his party. The Republicans are already staggering. At some level, I am forced to care. When you are in Holland, you don’t blow up the dikes if they spring a leak. There are still some Republicans attempting to slow America’s race to ruin. Republicans are driving toward the cliff at only 30 mph. Democrats have the pedal to the metal. Not only has Larry Craig broken his promise to resign on the last day of September, he has further broken his promise to step down if the judge didn’t overturn his conviction. Now he has appealed that ruling. He is intent upon keeping his name and his disgrace front and center. The Republican Party can only man the bilge pumps.
Larry Craig has not a shred of decency. He has mortified his supporters and emboldened our adversaries. When will it all end? I don’t know. If he could still blush, it should have ended months ago.
Ed Iverson is the head librarian at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow. He earned a master’s of library science at the University of Southern Mississippi and studied theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1990, he ran for the Idaho Senate as a Republican from Mullan. He lives with his wife at Viola. They have two children and six grandchildren.