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Senator Craig Media Critique

by Nick Cooper Saturday, Sep. 01, 2007 at 10:42 PM
nickcooper--at--indymedia.org

In covering the story of Senator Larry Craig reaching for contact under a bathroom stall, the media has focused on the hypocrisy. But people who have power to push their own hypocrisies on the less powerful are not just hypocrites, they are not just expressing a different opinion, they are enforcing a system which creates psychological and financial suffering.

audio: MP3 at 1.5 mebibytes

When those trying the most to repress the sexuality of others are unable to repress themselves, a public reckoning should go beyond acknowledging the irony. Busting hypocritical Senators is fun, but there will always be another one waiting. We should go deeper to question a culture so unable to follow its Puritanical ideals that hypocrisy is the norm.

Fifty years ago this week, Senator Strom Thurmond filibustered for 24 hours against civil rights. He fought the "intermingling of the races," while helping secretly to raise his daughter, whom he had conceived at the age of 21 with his 16 year old black maid. The case of Craig is similar, because he supported amending the Constitution to bar the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples, while secretly, or at least anonymously, he looked for sexual contact in airport bathrooms.

In our society, we have hypocritical Senators leading campaigns against interracial or gay sex, and there are parallel authoritarian voices inside our heads telling us that most desires are forbidden and bad. Rules governing sexuality of consenting adults are not only oppressive, but can also create more repressed forms of sexuality . The alternative is to create a society where people are freed to find other types of connections than those that can be found anonymously in bathrooms.

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