Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Still Doesn't Get It

I don't know if you've been following the story of the so-called "Gay Chat" Mayor, but here's a quick recap. Closeted Spokane Mayor James West apparently had been using his office computer to cruise for guys on and had offered city jobs to guys if they would go out on dates with him. This information came out in a series of newspaper articles. West, of course, initially denied the charges and has complained bitterly about being outed. An investigation, however, supported the charges against him. Despite calls to resign, West refused. Not surprisingly, the people of Spokane were not amused. A recall drive resulted in yesterday's recall election, which West lost by a 30% margin.

Now there are many interesting aspects to this story - West's opposition to gay rights, HIV education, and support of the Defense of Marriage Act... at the same time, the man was a deeply closeted Republican, so this isn't exactly earth shattering. (Note: For the record, I acknowledge the existance of gay Republicans who can work for equality while pursuing otherwise conservative goals.)

What I really found fascinating was that with a week to go before the election, he pleaded for a second chance with the electorate, stating that he acknowledged making mistakes in his personal life but that he deserves a second chance because he no longer visits chat rooms or engages gay sex. I don't know how you can feel anything but pity for this man because he still doesn't get it -- I doubt people would have cared too much if the story was simply that he was gay. Sure, that would make him a hypocrite, but he's a politician, so he has plenty of company there. The big mistake was that he abused his office - you don't use the computer at work to cruise for sex and you don't offer city jobs for dates and sex. Its a very simple principle that would result in the same outcome if he had been propositioning busty young co-eds. You've got to have a seriously messed up mindset not to be able to see that... and that's just sad.


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