For those expecting some snide, sarcastic commentary on Spokane Mayor Jim West’s bombshell of a scandal, don’t think I haven’t considered it. There is something irresistibly ironic about a gay bashing, conservative politician being caught with his pants down (metaphorically,) soliciting sex from young men.
I’ll leave such commentary to others. But I shall resist.
For Mayor West’s personal tragedy, is… well… tragic — not just for the alleged victims who now accuse him of molesting them as children nearly three decades ago — but also for West himself. To ridicule him as a hypocrite — and he most definitely is — might generate the easy laughs of a Leno monologue… but it would miss the point entirely. For the comic irony of his hypocrisy is much less compelling than the tragic irony of a closeted, gay politician trapped and tortured by the very same anti-gay attitudes he pandered to and perpetuated.
Jim West is the poster child for the tragic consequences of a society that condones discrimination against gays: a man so ashamed of who he was that he assumed the mantel of his persecutors… a man so embarrassed by his own sexuality that even after being forced to admit to soliciting sex from young men, he still denies that he is gay.
For those of us who are straight or openly gay, imagine for a moment not being able to express your love in public… unable to take your vows in front of friends and family… never knowing the simple, everyday joy of holding your beloved’s hand as you sit in a restaurant or walk down the street. That is the life that Jim West led… a life so twisted by fear and self-loathing that he felt he could only express his desires through anonymous encounters set up on internet chat rooms… or much, much worse.
No wonder West joined the right-wing moralists in their crusade against sex, for to him it must have always seemed loveless and dirty. What a sad life to live. What a sad lie. Too sad to warrant my usual sarcasm.