Okay...I guess I lied. There's a blog post today and will be one again tomorrow. Who am I kidding to ease back? There's too many interesting things going on.
According to recent reports on The Huffington Post and in The New York Times, Congressman Aaron Schock, who is the youngest member of Congress (born during the Reagan Administration), created a stir among staffers on Capitol Hill when the above photograph circulated. It shows the young Congressman at a White House picnic. Since he came to national attention after winning his first term in Congress in November 2008 (helped by voters of The Huffington Post, who named him the hottest Freshman in Congress), rumours quickly circulated around the blogosphere about his sexuality. I wrote a post about him last year (titled something along the lines of "Generation Y's First Member of Congress").
This latest photo probably does not help him very much in fending off those rumours. Seriously...its the turquoise blue belt that really stands out in an already pretty "loud" outfit. He also left the top two buttons on his shirt undone. Advertising much? In commenting about the "scandal" this photo has caused, Congressman Schock actually said that he wanted to dress "sporty" and probably overdid it with the belt. Ya think? He thinks this is "sporty"? The shirt looks like a standard table cloth for picnic tables and also conjures up Maryann from Gilligan's Island. He shares her "wholesome, Midwest farmer's kid" background (he represents the good folks of Peoria, Illinois) and comes from a religiously conservative family.
In The New York Times article that I read, he said something else that revealed quite a lot. He said that people approach him all the time, indicating that they have a daughter they'd like him to meet. He actually said that it was "embarrassing." Embarrassing? Really? Not flattering? This is something I don't understand, but I know that a lot of people have "hang-ups" about being introduced to someone of the opposite gender. I don't understand why people object. I honour all requests to meet people, because I have the natural ability to meet people with ZERO expectations for anything to happen. I actually enjoy meeting people and trying to find commonalities between us. Its far easier to be introduced than for me to initiate a conversation with a stranger. It takes an incredible amount of energy for me to work up the nerve to approach a lady I find physically attractive and initiate a conversation. As I reported earlier this year, the last time I tried, I was burned when the lady got bored with me after a couple of minutes and ended the conversation with the turn of her head. That's okay, though, because a week later, I met two ladies who seemed interested in my life experiences and had some remarkable international experiences to share as well.
I've had experiences where a friend wanted to introduce me to a lady he and his girlfriend knew, but she backed out at the last minute. It was weird. Its not like they expected us to fall in love and get married! I just don't understand people's resistance towards meeting people. For me, I see everyone as a potential teacher. Or we could learn that we have something in common. Even if there's no romantic spark, there might be a friendship spark or they might have a piece of information about a job lead or some interest I should pursue and vice versa. When people aren't open to meeting people, they have no idea what they might lose out on. I just don't understand close-minded people.
Having said that, my regular readers might wonder about why I avoid getting to know the ladies at work. Well, this is because I have a chance to observe them and I learn enough info about them through observation that I pretty much know how it will end. In a social setting, when its just an afternoon or an evening, having a conversation with someone I've never met is no big sacrifice or burden. I can find something interesting about the other person, even if there's no sense of a real connection for a friendship or something more. I truly wish other people were as open to going with the flow in being introduced to other people.
Anyhow, about this Congressman. I'm surprised that he finds it "embarrassing" that people want him to meet their daughters. John F. Kennedy, Jr. was a smoothy with the ladies and didn't seem to have a problem meeting women all the time. He actually had a good sense of humour about it. Thus why speculations probably abound about this Congressman's sexuality. He's known to work out in the gym seven days a week and is considered to be the most physically fit member of Congress. Its no secret that people who work out regularly usually have a pretty high sex drive, yet this guy has no girlfriend and isn't seen around town with some lady on his arm. He's strictly focused on his career. In case anyone wonders, though, he is on record for saying that he is not gay.
This denial could come back to haunt him if he's not telling the truth. As some speculate, he's a sex scandal waiting to happen. While its really no one's business what his sexual orientation is, nor does it even matter, the problem with him is that he is in the wrong political party. He has come out against gay marriages and against stiffer punishment in hate crimes legislation when the victim is homosexual. If he is hiding his true orientation from the public while voting against equal rights and status for people who share his orientation, this level of hypocrisy invites greater scrutiny into his private life by aggressive activists. How long can he keep his nose clean before he acts out?
I feel bad for him, because he seems like a likable, earnest guy, yet he's in a party that is one of the most deceitful organizations in our country. The kingmakers and powered elite in the party don't really have a problem with sexuality (as evidenced by their continued support of Congressman Mark Foley and Senator Larry Craig, whose desires weren't a well kept secret among party officials). However, they have to appear to be the morally righteous, family values party in order to maintain the level of support by the easily fooled evangelical and rightwing fundamentalist Christian voters who make up the bulk of the party membership (and who vote in droves, particularly during the primaries). If this idiot class of party members knew the truth about their elected officials, they would revolt. In fact, that's what a lot of them are doing now with the Teabagger movement. This puts the Republican Party in a terrible situation. They need more young, charismatic, and attractive candidates. If one happens to be gay, the party officials can look the other way, so long as he tows the party line on votes.
The bigger questions surrounding Congressman Schock is where he ultimately sees his career going. Does he want to be Senator, Governor, or even President? If his ambitions contradict his sexuality, its going to be a problem...especially with him being in the party that is so beholden to the religious right and their obsessions with believing literally in the Bible. Since Schock, himself, is from a religious home, he may feel this conflict between his beliefs and his sense of self. He could make life so much easier for himself if he just joined the more open-minded and tolerant party.
As I stated in the past post I had written about him, I really hope for his sake that he isn't gay because he'll be on a collision course towards a major scandal if he continues what he's doing (denying the rumours while voting against equal rights legislation). We've all seen the meltdowns when Republican politicians or Evangelical Christian ministers demonize homosexuality on one hand while getting caught in pathetic scandals (an airport men's room, a male escort in Denver, emails to underage male Congressional pages, and most recently, on a month long trip to Europe with a male escort helping to carry bags!). How will it come about for Congressman Schock?
Of course, everyone could be wrong about him. Perhaps the outfit he put together for the White House party was meant to show the world that he's merely a "metrosexual" (a term supposedly created to define the biggest sports celebrity on the planet: David Beckham, who is still married to the Poshest Spice Girl: Victoria Adams Beckham). Yeah, that's it. Congressman Schock deliberately dressed that provocatively to set the chattering class of Washington salons on the path of a red herring.
Whatever truth lies beneath his public face, I really hope he is telling the truth. He is someone I do not wish to see destroyed by the machinations of the political class in our nation's capital. I like that our generation and the younger one is now coming into power. Its time to flush out the Baby Boomers, who've made a mess of things in our country. Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, I want to support members of our generation and see politicians reach across the ideological divide in support of generational solidarity. Our generation has less sexual hangups than our parents generation, so whether someone like Congressman Schock is gay...or not, who cares? If he is, though, he really needs to vote consistently with who he is. Otherwise, the cynical and jaded bloggers and political staffers on Capitol Hill will be proven right. The last thing America needs is another exposed hypocrite.