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 September, 2006


 Response the downfall of Representative Mark Foley

The Skillet Calling the Kettle…

By Al Owens
Back in 2003, a certain candidate for the United States Senate took a strong stand against a nudist beach populated by children in Florida. He called the beach a, “reprehensible exploitation of children”.
He angrily claimed it, “Subjects impressionable youths to denigrating and dangerous behavior and could expose them to pedophiles”.

That senatorial candidate now seems to have been a little too close to the subject matter. Yesterday, Mark Adam Foley (whose run for the US Senate sprung a leak) resigned from Congress, after serving since 1994. The House Ethics Committee is now looking into charges he’d sent suggestive (and that’s a mild word, considering the text of some of them) emails to a 16 year-old male Congressional page. A charge that he had attempted to engage in the, “reprehensible exploitation of children”, himself!

If the claims are proven to be true, they’re bad enough. But what’s worse is Foley, a devout conservative, has launched or been part of, numerous campaigns against pedophiles and their activities.

Consider this! The charges center around email messages sent on the internet between him and a child. September, 18th, 2002: “We should warn our children not to be engaged in conversations with adults on the internet, and certainly warn them never to meet a parent or (an) adult out in a public setting after a chat on the internet”. That’s how the former congressman urged support for a measure that would curtail the practice of web site owners making use of nude pictures of children. I’m surprised that none of his fellow congressmen asked, “How would you know?”

Foley had been fielding questions about his own sexual orientation for quite some time. But that didn’t stop him from voting for the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. It was the first law that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman – but from a federal perspective. Of course, he’d somehow seen the light by the time they tried to enact The Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. He voted against it.

All of this seems like the gross hypocrisy of one man. A man who’d once claimed the US Supreme Court had engaged in, “siding with pedophiles over children”, but one who may have been a pedophile himself! So on the morning following Foley’s resignation, the cable news shows pushed Iraq aside to go all-Foley-all-the time! Pundits not only pondered the fate of Foley’s now empty congressional seat, they couldn’t help but examine the broader political fallout.

Mark Foley, you must understand, put his fellow Republicans in a fix. Since the departure of Bill Clinton, they’d never hesitated to use morality as their trump card. Family Values their battle cry. “We Are Fam-i-ly” their theme song! Foley’s folly has sent them scurrying for cover.

I’m popping some corn, pulling up an easy chair and waiting. I’m waiting for the first Republican to appear on camera and claim Mark Foley was really a Democrat! Or that that 16 year-old is a Democratic mole.

But the story continues to unfold. The Republicans are now facing even more scrutiny. There are reports that the Republican leadership had known about Foley’s rather unsavory inclinations for over a year, but that nothing had been done about them. Not even after he’d stood on the floor of the house on March 2nd of this year and announced that, “Over the past few years we have lost too many children to the hands of these pedophiles”.

A matter of which he’d apparently been too close!