I have hesitated to write this, but common decency finally compels me to speak up here: Sen. Craig deserves some sympathy, and some perspective.
First, some disclaimers: Obviously, it appears as if the rumors of his history (of doing the sort of thing that he is suspected of doing) are probably true. And if he has been doing any sexual acts in a public restroom, that’s bad, very bad. As it is to have cheated on his wife. And if he was actually trying to solicit such activity, as accused, it’s pretty gross, too. He probably ought to resign, and at the very least he should announce that he is not going to run for re-election. (On the other hand, it is hard to see how what he actually did in the incident in question is a crime. Touching feet? Putting a hand on the bottom of a partition — but without spoken or written solicitation? In the grand scheme of things, not terribly criminal, although it seems as if he were indeed trying to start something that would lead to the illegality of severe public indecency.) None of what I am about to write is meant to excuse his apparent intent, and what is likely his history of the same.
But really, what this means is that this man needs help. Even knowing that he was under serious scrutiny for such alleged behavior, for him to do it (again) anyway shows a terrible, and bizarre, compulsion. It shows a bad psychological problem, and possibly a psychiatric one. Somebody who would risk his career for such activities is crying out for help.
All that said, let’s not forget this: This was a man who, in public life, did a superb job serving his constituents for more than a quarter century. He was a good legislator, a serious one and a hard-working one, and a generally philosophically consistent one at that. He was a gentleman, too: He was a solid conservative who nevertheless tried hard, and successfully, to have good relationships across the aisle with those Democrats who were decent enough to reciprocate. He was a constructive force in the Senate — and a patriot. Aside from what appears to have been a serious private problem (okay, a public problem, in that the alleged crime here is one of public indency — but the apparent compulsion for risky public behavior seems a personal sickness). He was apparently a man who tried mightily to do the right thing and serve his country well.
Compare the reaction to his alleged crime and the one that it appears David Vitter (allegedly) participated in. Why does prostitution (especially involving a married man) earn more of a pass than gross-but consensual sex? And the hypocrisy is far greater in Vitter’s case: He based a large part of his career on moral preening. Contra the Left, though, I fail to see how it is hypocritical for Craig, though, to have voted against “gay marriage” and special “gay rights.” One can participate in homosexual acts and yet still think, quite consistently, that it is bad public policy to create special rights and protections for homosexuals or to put the positive imprimatur of the state on the “union” of two homosexuals.
To be clear, I think Craig should leave the Senate. He is a moral reprobate, on several levels. But somebody needs to have compassion on him, and not make him feel abandoned as a human being. Yes, of course he should have been able to control his own behavior, no matter what the “compulsion” was. But fergoshsakes, don’t overlook the man’s genuine decency and service to nation in the rush to condemn him. And please find him some counseling, so he can somehow try to put his life back together and find some redemption.
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