Friday, August 31, 2007

"Excuse Me; Did I Bump Your Shoe?": Restroom Etiquette 101

In the early part of June Senator Larry Craig, a 62 year-old Republican senator from Idaho was accused of engaging in lewd behavior in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport. Now two months later, the media as well as Republicans are coming down on Sen. Craig and pressuring him to resign for his actions.

Sen. Craig was arrested for moving his foot close to an officer’s foot in a nearby stall as he used the restroom, then rubbing the bottom on his neighbor's stall with his left hand. What has stirred the masses is Sen. Craig's recent denial of the act, and regret for a guilty plea he gave for the "solicitation" just two months ago.

“I sit down to go to the bathroom, and you said our feet bumped,” Craig told an officer. “I believe they did…because I reached down and scooted over and the next thing I knew, under the bathroom divider comes a card that says ‘police’.”

Sen. Craig claims he was in the bathroom to fulfill its intended purpose and nothing more. He suggests that he was entrapped by the arresting officer and told police he had “overreacted and made a poor decision” in pleading guilty to the misdemeanor. “I am not gay. I don’t do these kinds of things” stated Sen. Craig in his arrest interview. The Republicans and the people of Idaho have given Sen. Craig the cold shoulder though there was no evidence of any sexual contact.

Therefore, is Sen. Craig really guilty? And if so, for what? The solicitation, or being a gay republican?

I asked a few male friends for their opinion and all of them stated that they never experienced anything close to Sen. Craig’s situation. In fact, they made it clear that it was unlikely for a man to extend his legs that far when using the men’s restroom.

Indeed his foot bumped the person’s foot in the next stall, but maybe that was it. Say “excuse me” and keep it moving. So far, three key Republicans in Congress (including John McCain), the Idaho Statesman newspaper, and more than half of Idaho’s respondents is calling for Craig to resign. So are they mad at what he did, or the fact that what he did is progressing the eight year "humbling" of the nation's republican party?

“The voters of Idaho elected Sen. Craig to represent their state, and will decide his future in 2008 should he fail to resign,” the Michigan congressman said in a statement issued by his office. “However, he also represents the Republican Party, and I believe that he should step down, as his conduct throughout this matter has been inappropriate for a U.S. senator.”

Sen. Craig has repeatedly declined resignation and stands by his story.

Listen to Sen. Craig’s Interview:

~ Briana Henderson

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