Friday, March 05, 2010

Only when I'm drunk

Can't drive straight

It seems to have all the elements of a non-story: a state legislator caught driving drunk in downtown Sacramento. Why is that even news? The Sacramento Bee was typically discreet:
A spokesman for the CHP said that [state senator Roy] Ashburn's vehicle was observed weaving on L Street near 13th Street in downtown Sacramento shortly before 2 a.m.
Had the senator had too much to drink while dining at the Old Spaghetti Factory? The hour suggests otherwise, since the restaurant in the old railroad depot next to the downtown train tracks is not a late-night establishment. Across the tracks, however, there is a popular hangout called Faces, a well-known gay bar just a few blocks from the capitol building.

Sen. Ashburn was apparently caught on the wrong side of the tracks.

He also had a male companion with him.

The Bee glossed over those details, but other sources are bubbling with the news. The rest of the story—as if you didn't already know it—is that Roy Ashburn is a conservative Republican state senator who can be relied upon to cast a vote against any gay rights measure that might appear on the legislative docket. He's a Central Valley man who styles himself a stalwart defender of wholesome family values (as defined by the Republican Party, of course).

As far as I'm concerned, the cherry on the sundae is this: He represents my parents' senatorial district, one of the “reddest” regions of the state. (My father will be somewhat less than delighted.) In an ironic twist, it was one of Ashburn's predecessors, a laissez-faire Republican named Howard Way, who cast the deciding vote in eliminating California's sodomy laws. Ashburn could have followed in his predecessor's libertarian footsteps, but apparently chose closeted libertinism instead.

12 comments:

AnyEdge said...

I just can't take such satisfaction in someone's so public humiliation. He's a hypocrite and a criminal. I don't relish that. I feel sorry for him. He clearly hates himself and lives in agony. He needs to be punished for his lawbreaking and then, hopefully, this experience will allow him to confront who he is and what he does.

I doubt there's anything intrinsic that means that homosexuals should support fiscal irresponsibility. There's no reason that a gay person shouldn't be in favor of border limitations or be predisposed toward state's rights.

This is a sad, strange, possibly alcoholic, probably closeted man. I pity him.

Ll said...

I'd feel sorry for him if he wasn't in a position of power, and abusing that power to try and take away rights from people in the same situation as he is. (Not that actually-straight homophobes in government get a pass either.)

In other words, it's not because he's conservative; it's because he's a bigoted hypocrite.

AnyEdge said...

Many gay activists (Dan Savage, for example, and Joe of Joe.My.God) think that gays in this man's situation should be outed and humiliated publicly. I think that outing is tantamount to psychic rape. It is viciously using someone's sexuality to do violence to them. Outing is a violent crime with sexual overtones, just like rape is.

I cannot hate him. I can only hate what he has done. I pity him for his obvious confliction. And I am saddened by his exteriorization of that conflict. But I don't take pleasure in his downfall. It's just sad for everyone.

Ll said...

Outing is so traumatic for people like him specifically because of people like him.

And at leat now that he's publically disgraced, it will hopefully be a little while before he can do any more damage to GLBT civil rights.

AnyEdge said...

It sounds as though you believe in "An eye for an eye." I believe that that is outdated dogma.

Should the punishment for rape be rape?

STrimmer said...

This is the first time I have heard this story from that angle. To be fair, there are several bars in the area of faces; however, most of them are gay establishments.

Ll said...

I don't believe in an eye for an eye, but i'm hesitant to shed tears when someone who deliberately digs potholes in the street gets his car trapped in one of them.

This is an own-petard hoist, not an eye for an eye.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I find it outrageous that you compare this self-destructive behavior to rape. Seriously. If the man didn't want to be outed, he shouldn't be driving drunk with a boyfriend/hooker.

I'm not entirely sure I agree that outing a completely closeted man who has never done a thing to damage the LBGT community is "psychic rape" but I would thoroughly disapprove of it. But a hypocrite who wields political power to destroy others' lives is not particularly deserving of pity when his hypocrisy is revealed by his own actions.

AnyEdge said...

I'm not comparing his behaviour to rape. I'm talking about those in the gay community (particularly Dan Savage) who lament that this man hadn't been previously outed. I compare the deliberate outing of a person because you disagree with his politics to emotional rape, and I do so unrepentantly.

I don't pity that this man has been outed by his own behaviour. I pity him because he is pitiable.

minus said...

Outing a "person" is one thing; but, outing a political figure who is grabbing votes by pretending to be anti-gay is a totally different colored horse.

AnyEdge said...

The very fact that you can put the word "person" in quotations like that makes me very sad. He is a person. A real live flesh and blood person, just like those he votes to oppress. Which I disdain and abhor.

He is a sad, disturbed man, who deserves pity and not hate. And certainly not violence.

minus said...

I put "person" in quotes, because we are not dealing with a person. When a person takes political office, he or she is no longer just a person but an instrument of power. We are dealing here with a reality that allows politicians to get and maintain power through promulgating hate.

I suppose you reserve some of your sympathy for that poor sad and disturbed Adolf Hitler.