Remeber Jim West, the mayor of Spokane who spent much of his political career campaigning against gay rights before being outed in May by the Spokesman-Review newspaper? Well, eight months and a parade of creepy revelations later, West seems likely to recalled by Spokane voters next Tuesday in a special election.
Just in time for the recall vote, The Seattle Times’ David Postman this Sunday produced a lengthy portrait of West in all his mixed-up glory. One of my favorite parts is when Postman finds West turning to a black church in Spokane for spiritual redemption. As if the last eight months haven’t been hell enough for West, he now spends each Sunday getting lectured on his “sinning” ways. If he’s recalled, will West spend one more minute in Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church? That may be the best indicator of whether he’s “repented” and given up his secret gay life for real, or just as a shameless attempt at political rehabilitation. It also may help clear up whether West’s personality is actually as bifurcated as he makes it sound in his painful-to-read quotes to The Seattle Times, or whether that’s just another act.
“I have no opponent other than the person [my opponents] created who is supposedly me,” West said.
But, the Times notes:
The mayor created his own “imaginary person” through which he lived a vast and secret online life. But he says it would also be unfair for voters to judge him as that character. “What it really allows me to do is be somebody I’m not,” West said.
But even he has difficulty sorting out the real from the make-believe.
“And this is weird. This is incredibly weird for me. This is an imaginary person and this is a real person,” he said, pointing with a finger on each hand. “And there are points in time where they cross over a little bit. But few and far between.”