Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Importance of Being Foley

U.S Representative Mark Foley, as everyone must know by now, is gay. His sexual orientation makes any discussion of his fall from grace treacherous. If you are pro-gay, very likely you will argue that Foley’s disgrace was not related to his gaiety. The seduction of young female pages would have been equally repulsive. Foley was charged, as teachers are, with authority over young people, and he betrayed that trust. If you are anti-gay, you will take a quiet pleasure in his undoing and may hint that his sexual orientation, as well as his alcoholism, is primarily responsible for his precipitous fall. If you are an amateur psychologist – and who isn’t? – you might adopt the view that his frequent denials of his homosexuality forced him to wear a social mask that that could only lead to disaster. Had Foley been out of the closet, he might have been a little more circumspect and less self destructive. In fact, the amateur psychologist might reason, Foley’s e-mails, were a tearing away of the mask – an unmasking of his true self.

There is some truth in all of this. It does not help that Foley’s disgrace very soon will become a partisan political football. If you are a Republican, you may want to purchase a suit of body armor. Foley was a Republican, and it seems likely that some Republicans knew that young male pages occasionally felt uncomfortable with his flirtations. If you are a Democrat, you will take a quiet pleasure in the discomfort of Republicans. There can never be too many nails in Republican coffins around election time.

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