I know it's wrong but I can't help myself. When I heard about U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) getting busted for soliciting gay sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, I laughed so hard I almost snorted hot coffee out my nose.
I shouldn't laugh. It's not charitable. But for us LGBT types, finding out that another hupstandin Republican bloviator likes it gay-n-anonymous gives us a certain satisfaction. These revelations are both unbelievable and at the same time make so much sense, in that tragic we-hate-what-we-know-we-should-resist-but-just-can't-resist TV movie of the week sort of way.
The laughter's the easy part, though, and frankly, it's getting old. We should no longer be surprised that the big ol' Republican tent is well-upholstered and nicely appointed with mid-century Scandinavian design like something out of Architectural Digest. So many Republicans are getting busted with their pants down, I think it's time for the party to have a heart-to-heart with the American public. Just march 'em all out on stage for us, tell us who's gay, and get back to planning war on Iran.
The scary part of this whole Larry Craig mess is that, instead of accepting reality, a quiet consensus on the right way to get caught doing the extramarital nasty seems to be developing. As several prominent Republicans distanced themselves from Craig, the careful observer could hear them complaining that the real problem is the senator's flat-out denial.
They point to Sen. David Vitter's (R-Louisiana) quick apology for using the services of the D.C. Madam and ask, "Why can't you be more like David?" Craig's been going it alone instead of asking for the advice of the top dogs and following it to the letter: Get busted. Say that mistakes were made. Ask for the public's forgiveness. Kiss your wife while the cameras roll. Invoke God. Go on retreat with your family and a prominent pastor. Hang at home for a while and come back to Capitol Hill a changed man. Amen.
I don't think that a better spin cycle is the way to clean up the Republican's gay dirty laundry, but I can't say I'm surprised that's what they're opting for. Gay-bashing has been so profitable for the party that I can understand why it's so hard to let go.
Still, I think we all know how this story's going to end. Eventually the GOP is going to have to accept that its trademark color is pink, not red, and it's going to have to give up discriminating against families like mine with their hypocritical legislation. In the meantime, I'm giving up drinking coffee while reading the morning paper, just to be safe.
Jennifer Morales is an elected member of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, the first person of Latino descent to hold that position. She was first elected in 2001 and was unopposed for re-election in 2005. In 2004, she ran for a seat in the Wisconsin state senate, earning 43% of the vote against a 12-year incumbent.
Previously, she served as the editorial assistant at the educational journal Rethinking Schools; as assistant director of two education policy research centers at UW-Milwaukee; and as the development director for 9to5, National Association of Working Women.
She became the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from Beloit College in 1991.
In addition to her work on the school board, she is a freelance editorial consultant and a mother.