Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh, Larry!

By now you have likely heard about the scandal surrounding an alleged (homosexual) bathroom incident involving Senator Larry Craig from Idaho. If not, you can read more here in the national news and here for local commentary.

When I walked into my downtown Boise, Idaho office building on Monday morning, the street was littered with picketers holding signs urging for an end to funding for the Iraq War. The
Peace Coalition of Idaho is holding an event called “Bring the Iraq Occupation Home” and will be protesting outside of Senator Craig’s office building all week. In addition, “teams of two resisters will share their grievances in the congressional offices all day for the entire week.” I don’t know how much “sharing” is going on—I can see them through the office window, waiting patiently, every time I make a trip to the bathroom. See, Senator Larry Craig’s office is in my building. On my floor.

He was having a really bad Monday.

When I left the building for lunch, the TV station vans were parked out front and the cameras were set up on the sidewalk. I had to wiggle behind a camera stand to unlock my bike from the security of the tree I lock it to each morning. A different set of cameras and reporters were rolling as I left the building that night.

On Tuesday morning there they were, yep, more cameras. I saw a reporter delicately picking her nose in preparation for going on camera ("I was not picking my nose!"). As I hurried up the steps of the federal building to check for mail at the post office box, an Associated Press (AP) reporter had a woman in front of the camera and was asking for her thoughts on the Senator Craig incident. As I hurried back to work, the same AP reporter had someone else in front of the camera. Later that day, the woman I had seen being interviewed earlier walked into my yoga class at the YMCA. “Hey, weren’t you being interviewed on the steps of the federal building?”, I asked. “Yes!” she groaned. "That guy totally cornered me and I was just like, ughhh!”

There you have it folks:

"What are your thoughts on the Senator Craig scandal?"


Today, Wednesday--repeat. The Peace Coalition folks are still protesting outside and sharing their thoughts sitting quietly in the waiting room of Senator Craig’s office. I have yet to catch a glimpse of him so I doubt he is entertaining visitors in his office. Maybe I can find him in the men’s room…

Seriously, he is having a really bad week. I spoke with one of the Peace Coalition activists and they said their protest is completely independent of the scandal. They have had this event planned for months. The gentleman I spoke with expressed some chagrin that they were being upstaged by this whole gay bathroom thing.

And, oh, what a circus scandal it is. Regardless of my political beliefs and the likelihood that they have little in common with Senator Craig’s, the entire incident seems very subjective and overblown to me. I actually feel sorry for him. I kind of doubt that a multi-term senator was propositioning a random male bathroom stall neighbor in the Minneapolis airport (that presumably was there to take a dump—how sexy is that?) by tapping his foot three times and running his hand palm facing up under the stall divider. I think he just needed some toilet paper to wipe his own ass.

And furthermore, last night on the local news they interviewed a man (I forget his name but he had the title “Gay Man” under his name so clearly he is an authority) who said that tapping three times and running your hand under the stall divider is not how you proposition for sex. At least, not in Minneapolis.

Update: 1:58pm MT
I was just stopped in the hallway and asked by a reporter/cameraman team if I wanted to be interviewed.
"About what?" I should have said.
"No, thank you," I said.
"Really?" the incredulous reporter said. "You are the first person to turn me down for an interview. Don't you want to add your two cents?"
"The only place I share my two cents is on my blog, where I can be fairly certain my audience wants to hear my thoughts."
"And it won't be edited!" piped the cameraman.


goodgreekgirl said...

it's always a bit of a shock when a stranger asks our opinion, as it happens so rarely. and with a camera & microphone pointed at you there is surely a certain pressure to perform. i think your non-response was perfect! you likely gave the reporter some food for thought and a nice reminder that we are not all monkeys!

Liz said...

Goodness, you really have had a front seat view of all of this. I feel really bad for the man. I've wondered if he's been put on a suicide watch or anything. And, not that I'm out soliciting for sex or anything, but I would hate for half of the silly things I do to be put out there like that.