Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Poisonous Closet

The proverbial closet is a very dangerous place, as most recently shown by GOP Rep. Mark Foley of Florida. Shaw's behavior toward pages was digusting. House pages are usually 16 years old when they serve, and for any congressman to make suggestive remarks or even physical moves toward these teenagers is nothing short of pedophilia. I do not care if 16 is the age of consent in many states. An adult in his 30s or 40s who propositions teenagers sexually has issues and should not be in positions of authority over children. Even if a page willingly participates in sexual innuendo or activities with a congressman, the power differential alone makes the relationship inappropriate and, by definition, sexual harassment. There is no way you can give valid consent when the power differential is that large.

The GOP, typically, is focusing on Foley's sexuality. That Foley was a closet case was well known, especially after his aborted run for the US Senate where he refused to discuss his sexuality. Newt Gingrich said over the weekend that one reason the GOP leadership didn't make a "big deal" about Foley's behavior (they've known about it for over a year) was that they didn't want to be accused of gay bashing.

EXCUSE ME?!? The GOP is concerned about looking anti-gay? Since when?!? The whole basis for the 2004 election was the GOP promise to middle america to protect them from the homos and their desire for marriage. They've tried repeatedly to amend the Constitution itself to ban recognition of gay relationships! This is not a party concerned about charges of gay bashing. The statement by Newt also indicates an assumption that pedophilic behavior is typical of a gay person. That alone speaks volumes about the GOP attitude toward gay people. They buy into the notion that gay people are perverts who want to molest children.

The Log Cabin apologists for the GOP have been silent so far about Foley and the scandal. They should at least be taking leadership to task for not intervening with Foley immediately, and for their insulting assumption that gay people are all pedophiles. My guess is that they will find a way to excuse the inaction by GOP leadership when they first discovered Foley was behaving badly with pages.

The GOP is also trying to throw Democratic pecodillos back in the limelight. I've heard several cries of "Monica Lewinsky" as a response to GOP inaction. First, Monica Lewinsky was no teenager. She was an adult when she and Clinton had their affair. That affair was wrong, and the power differential definitely smacked of sexual harassment, but pedophilia it was not. Another gem is bringing up the 1983 page scandal with Gerry Studds of Massachusetts as well as Barney Frank's affair with a male hustler that led to a prostitution ring being led out of his home in DC. Gerry Studds was censored for his affair with a male page (he defended it on the grounds that the boy was past the age of consent, an argument I reject) along with another GOP representative who had an affair with a female page. Studds was reelected to his seat until he retired in 1996, but as far as I know, there was no cover-up by Democratic leadership of Studds' affair, and he certainly was not put in charge (or left in charge) of a missing and exploited children caucus like Foley was. The illegal actions by Barney Frank's male hustler showed extremely poor judgement, but the voters of Massachusetts have forgiven him, and he was punished at the time of the scandal. Again, no real cover-up by the Democratic leadreship.

What all these men have in common is the closet. Until the scandals erupted, Frank, Studds, and Foley were all in the closet. The same is true of Gov. McGreevy of NJ who resigned over his appointment of his lover in a state job. All these men lived lives of shame and secrecy. They worked to cover up their identies as gay men to preserve political careers, but they couldn't reign in their desires. The closet made them feel and behave like perverts. Once Studds and Frank were outed, they didn't make the same mistakes. They had age-appropriate relationships, and I firmly believe it was because they no longer had to hide their secret. They could pursue romantic relationships in the open, so there was no temptation to find other closet cases or inappropriate people. Even McGreevy has now found himself a partner and is touring the country selling his book on how bad the closet was for him.

Maybe Mark Foley will find the same release. The irony of him being the point person for the GOP on missing and exploited children is the penultimate example of GOP hypocrisy on just one of many issues. It may be late in life, but hopefully Foley will accept the fact that he is a gay man and will make peace with that. And when he does, hopefully he will never look at another teenager with lustful intentions again.

1 comment:

Vito said...

Yes My Blog Friend,

You hit the nail on the head! The Re-pubs will bring up Clinton and Monica as some sort of what, a counter ballance? That's old news Re-pubs. It's come and gone and Bill paid dearly. At least they were adult and both concenting.

Now this Foley ass has come out of the closet...he's been molested by everybody but God...he was abused...who cares? It's all to try to make us what, feel sorry for the perve? Hang him! He is the epitome of what is wrong with the entire Christian Re-pub party...hypocracy, pure and out-rght. Great posting!