Waldlaw Blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What We Can Learn From the Foley Scandal

When I read about the Foley scandal, my initial reaction was "finally the Rebuplicans are imploding!" It is ironic that an unnecessary war didn't do it.... The increasing chasm between rich and poor in our own country didn't do it.... Fears about global warming didn't do it.... Rising gas prices didn't do it.... Massive erosions of our civil liberties didn't do it.... Yup, welcome to America where it takes a sex scandal to impeach a President or bring down a political party. Then I saw that organizations with names like the "Family Research Council" and "Concerned Women for America" are saying "see, we told you that gay people are bad" and thought "oh no, here we go again!" In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, is quoted as saying: "Not all diversity should be accepted, and not all conduct or beliefs should be tolerated." I couldn't agree more. But the Family Research Council's allegation that House Speaker Dennis Hastert ignored warnings about Foley out of fear that a strong reaction would appear homophobic is patently ridiculous. Remember, folks, this is the Republican Party we're talking about -- the ones who want to amend the United States Constitution to make sure that stable, committed same-sex couples can't get married -- the ones who used fear of lesbian and gay families to win the 2004 presidential election. If they're afraid of appearing homophobic, then I'm afraid of appearing to care about the rights of contemporary families. At its core, the Foley scandal isn't about homosexuality. It's about sexual harassment -- the abuse by people in power of their access to people with less power -- and about pedophilia -- the sexual interest of adults in youth below the age of consent. These issues are not "gay" issues by any stretch of the imagination. NAMBLA aside (do they still exist??), the gay community neither embraces nor champions the type of conduct involved in this case. That said, it continues to sadden me that politicians remain so afraid to admit that they are gay -- in an open, honest, responsible way -- that they resort to lies and deceptions and engage in ugly, behind-the-scenes behavior such as this. IF Foley is gay (and I say if because I have no idea if he is or isn't), then the Republican Party should be held accountable not only for covering up the fact that he was sexually harassing under-age pages (which is the real issue here, regardless of sexual orientation), but also for having worked so hard to create a climate where he couldn't live his life in an open and honest way. So -- what we can learn from the Foley scandal? 1) Gay people need the support of our government for our committed adult relationships and families, to create a national environment where people can't use their (alleged) sexual orientation as an excuse for irresponsible (even reprehensible) conduct such as Foley's; and 2) What's an election season without a good sex scandal?!


  • Just happened upon your blog. Let me get this straight - it is ok for Gerry Studds to have sex with a 17 year old page - sex. Hell you even seem to dismiss it. But Foley - who did not have sex with a 17 year old page at all, nor did he have sex with any child - cause 17 is a child - is reprehensible? You seem like a sensible person, yet your argument simply fails to hold water. Alas, it seems the only difference is that Foley is a republican. So you can be a reprehensible man who has sex with teens if you are a democrat but you can't talk dirty to teens but abstain from sexing them up if you are a republican. Sorry. Doesn't hold water to me.

    By Blogger BillyGoatRambler, at 12:09 PM  

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