Cad of the Legislature
by Ari Armstrong, February 23, 2005
The Rocky Mountain News published a most extraordinary article today. Bill Scanlon writes, "A dispute between two state representatives over a military license-plate bill escalated into a foul-mouthed threat of bodily injury on the House floor Tuesday. 'If you try that again, I'll ram my fist up your ass,' Republican Bill Cadman told his Democratic colleague, Val Vigil, at Vigil's desk during the morning session."
What an idiot. It's sort of hard to run a "family values" party when you're talking about ramming a fist up another legislator's ass. I mean, huh? I doubt Cadman ever quite lives that down.
Honestly, I wasn't immediately sure whether to burst out laughing or scowl in anger. Obviously somebody at the News decided to have a little fun with it by attaching the headline, "Bottom line: A crack in decorum; Rumpus on floor of Colorado House comes to a bitter end."
At one level, it's pretty damn funny. An elected official, somebody who, like, actually passes laws and stuff, told another legislator he'd ram his fist up his ass! It's so ridiculous it wouldn't even make good parody.
Why didn't Cadman simply threaten to, say, "beat the shit out of" Vigil? Or kick his ass? Or deliver a butt-stomping? Those are all very manly threats, though still a little silly on the legislative floor.
At least Dick Cheney merely suggested that a Senator engage in a little pleasant masturbation.
But there is an obvious darkness to the threat that quickly dampens any comic treatment. Nobody seriously believes that Cadman would, at any time, actually ram his fist up the ass of another man. Yet that's a pretty vile threat, even if it's not intended literally.
I can already picture the campaign literature. This is fair game, though. Do we really want a legislator who makes those kinds of statements while on the job? The Republicans are all in a huff (and rightfully so) over Ward Churchill's vile writings, and, while Cadman's statement isn't nearly as bad, it is still a reference to violent rape. And his job is tax-funded, just like Churchill's is. Will Owens stand up and demand that Cadman quit or be recalled? Cadman's offense really is less offensive than Churchill's offense, yet the left will surely invoke the comparison, and not totally without reason.
By Cadman's own standards, he should give up his tax-funded salary. According to 7News, Cadman said about Churchill, "Maybe if his funding goes away, he will as well." So the idea is that people on the government dole who say outrageous things should no longer accept tax dollars. Well, a threat of violent ass rape is pretty outrageous.
Cadman's crude remarks also don't play well into his opposition to hate-crime laws. This is unfortunate, because there are some very good reasons to oppose the designation of "hate" crimes, and these reasons are compatible with (and, I would argue, ultimately essential to) a gay-friendly perspective.
I don't want to psychologize here. What is obviously true is that Cadman said something really stupid on the legislative floor, and it's likely to come back to, uh, bite him in the ass. What's not obvious is why Cadman used that particular language, so I won't try to guess.
However, there are some things that can be said about such language generally. Note that many Republicans believe homosexuality is inherently sinful. Well, it's no wonder if the sort of violent rape Cadman described is the right's stereotype of homosexuality. Some right-wingers seem to think of homosexuality on the level of prison rape, in which sex is control.
"I'll ram my fist up your ass."
Remember that this is one of the guys who tells the rest of us what to do.