In The Men's Room

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In The Men's Room

Mugshot of US Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) most likely thought he was invisible - or he didn't fully exist when he was in the men's room. What was he thinking? What did he need? Could he have found someone with whom to share that part of himself in a not any less hypocritical but at least in a more discreet and less dangerous way?

It's a study. With everything to lose he indulges a need - physical, emotional, psychological - in the men's room. The seediness adds to the satisfaction and the danger feeds the compulsion. Keep this where it belongs, the married senator must have repeated to himself - with whom it belongs. Not a closet but a booth - and with someone you can't see and hope you will never see again.

In a panic he pleads guilty. Feels guilt - maybe needs guilt. Then he comes to his practical senses. He adjusts the story. He should have had counsel, he says in hindsight. But how could a senator not know that he makes no plea without advice of counsel? Did he want the mortification of the moment and the plea? Did he need the mortification?

He's a Republican senator. He voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. He voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. He voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. Does this show what he feels about sex, commitment and privacy? How he voted had nothing to do with his own human condition - or anyone else's for that matter.

I suppose this man's plight will be fodder for humorists for weeks and weeks. But it deserves serious attention and inquiry. Ambition, self-loathing, fear of hell and rejection kept him in the men's room - and in congress.

Could it be that the one redemption to a person such as Senator Craig is that he will keep doing what he hates himself for doing until he gets caught? Getting caught is the wave a person committing crimes will always try to outrun and also paddle vigorously to meet.

Lately, the standard accepted practice after getting caught is to say anything. First, do not get caught and secondly, do not admit to being caught. It has been working for the administration for several years. Say anything. Say it often and then say something else. Maybe cry. Then have someone else say anything for you. Let it be ridiculous - that helps even. If someone is scratching his head he can't point a finger.

Senator Craig is part of it - his story is graphic and pained - but so is the war and everything else about the current crumbling regime. This recent scandal is both illuminating and emblematic. All the president's men, and the president, are in the men's room explaining obscene behavior by claiming they have a wide (and principled) stance.

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis is a playwright.  Archive of his Common Dreams' articles here. His personal website here.

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