Auntie Establishment The Senator's Toilet Trouble: Don't Ask, Don't Tell Joan Opyr INBA SEPTEMBER LUNCH I live in Idaho, a red state. But we aren't just any red state: we are the dung-flinging, banana-eating, red-assed baboon of red states. We are the state that produced George Hansen, the Senator-felon; Helen Chenoweth, the Congresswoman who believed that salmon couldn't be endangered as long as she could find it in a can at the grocery store; and, most recently, Bill Sali, the idiot's idiot, a man so stupid he can't count to eleven without unzipping his fly. We also produced Senator Larry Craig, a traditional values Republican who has repeatedly sponsored antigay legislation like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U. S. military. Craig explained this support to me in a letter dated August 17th, 2007. The letter was addressed to "Mr. Joan Opyr," but setting aside, for the moment, Craig's gender confusion, this is what he wrote: I am glad you shared your suggestions with me. As you know, the Department of Defense's policy on this issue is commonly referred to as a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy and would not allow for singling out homosexuals. In addition, I don't believe the military should be a place for social experimentation. The sole mission of the armed forces is to defend the United States. Patriotism and the willingness to sacrifice on behalf of our country are character traits I wholeheartedly encourage and I believe every American should have the opportunity to engage in the service of our country in some capacity. However, the issue is not fairness, but military effectiveness. The armed forces exist to wage war. It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals. Again, thank you for contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Sincerely, LARRY E. CRAIG United States Senator Larry! Of course you can be of further assistance. First, you can explain exactly how you think military effectiveness would be compromised by gays and lesbians eager to serve their country. Canada, Great Britain, Germany hell, the whole of the European Union all of these countries allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in their respective militaries. Are our coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan less effective militarily than our own troops? If so, what are they doing there? Holding us back? Slowing us down? Putting the queer in quagmire? On June 11th, just a month before Craig wrote this letter about the incompatibility of military service and "the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals," he was arrested in a men's toilet in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and charged with lewd conduct. It seems Craig stuck his foot so far under the stall of the undercover cop next to him that the guy thought he'd grown a third leg. The Senator has claimed that the arresting officer misunderstood the meaning of that wandering foot. According to his spokesman, Craig has "a wide stance when going to the bathroom." Despite the Senator's addressing me as Mister, I am not, in fact, a guy, and so I polled some men of my acquaintance about this wide-stance business. "Oh, yeah," said one. "He's got an anaconda in his pants." "Wide stance?" said another. "He's taking a whiz, not hiking a football." Poor Larry Craig. This is what happens when you live in the closet, right? Well, sort of. It's hard to feel sorry for a blatant hypocrite, especially one with Craig's lethal combination of political power and personal bile. As an Idahoan and an out lesbian, I'm calling bullshit on any misplaced cries for sympathy. Yes, it's disgraceful that Craig's men's room shenanigans should be deemed worse by the Republican Party establishment than David Vitter's call girl problem or Ted Stevens' freshly-renovated house of bribes, but let's look at Craig's voting record. In addition to supporting "Don't ask, Don't tell," Craig: 1. Supported amending the U. S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage; 2. Repeatedly opposed ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; 3. Opposed including acts of violence against gays and lesbians in national hate crimes statistics; and, 4. Called for the censure of Congressman Barney Frank in 1990 for Frank's affair with a male prostitute. Is it a bad thing to be gay? Not for me, but that's no thanks to Larry Craig. Over the course of his 27-year political career, Craig has worked hammer and tongs to ensure that gays and lesbians are denied equal status and civil rights. By the time this column is published, I expect that Senator Craig will have resigned his seat in the U. S. Senate. Will I miss him? Hell, no. So long, Larry. From one gay Idahoan to another, don't let the bathroom door hit you in the ass on the way out. Fred Swink, Publisher Stonewall News Northwest Date: Time: Location: Price: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:30 - Noon: social, networking Noon Lunch, 12:30 speakers Steam Plant Grill, 159 South Lincoln, 777-3900 Parking: available on the street and near by pay lots. $15 for RSVP'd members and invited guests. $18 for members at the door and invited guests. Fred Swink, the new publisher of Stonewall News Northwest, will be the September speaker at the INBA monthly business luncheon. He will be speaking about ways to use the media to increase business and portray the GLBTQ community in a positive light. RSVP at 509-455-3639 or INBA Corporate Sponsors: Northern Quest Casino, Thinking Cap, LeMaster & Daniels, Dempsey's Brass Rail | P.O. Box 20163 Joan Opyr, AKA Auntie Establishment, is a Moscow area fiction writer, the author of the novel Idaho Code, and the Northern Idaho Editor for New West Magazine. She invites your questions, comments, mint julep and rat recipes at joanopyr@moscow. com. Page | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | September 1, 007