Editorials

Our View – Foley example of Republican hypocrisy

Until recently, Mark Foley was the former Republican member of the House of Representatives, hailing from the 16th District of Florida. Foley, ironically, also happened to be the co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

But last Friday, Sept. 29, for good reason, Foley resigned his seat after “ABC News” reported that he had repeatedly engaged in sexually explicit instant messaging with a 16-year-old boy.

Since then, the House representatives have been under severe pressure to explain Foley’s erratic and ridiculously hypocritical behavior. Most acknowledge they had known for some time about Foley’s “over-friendly” e-mails and IMs to a Louisiana boy, but they did not know about the sexually explicit messages until last week.

During the fall of 2005, the 16-year-old boy was completing a term as a congressional page, sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander of Louisiana. The boy complained to a staffer after receiving a series of e-mails from Foley, in which the ultra-conservative Republican asked for a photo and spoke of another teenage boy being “in great shape.” According to “ABC News’, the former page forwarded the message to several congressional staffers with the following comments: “Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out. It’s sick.”

Even with such blatant concerns from the child at hand, no formal action was taken. According to the New York Times, top House Republicans knew for months about the e-mails between Foley and a former teenage page, but they kept the matter secret and allowed Foley to remain head of a congressional caucus on children’s issues.

What does this mean for Foley? Well, he’s already resigned from the House, and according to former FBI agent and ABC consultant Brad Garrett, Foley’s actions could “add up to soliciting underage children for sex, and what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years.” Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley’s prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

And now for the icing on the oh-so-scandalous cake: According to Foley’s lawyer, the disgraced congressman has begun seeking treatment at a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism. Perhaps it was the stress of the past few weeks that got to him.

Maybe he’s been an alcoholic all of his life. Whatever the reason may be, it’s about time this man got some help.

This entire scandal should be a beacon of light for Americans to realize that what many politicians do is lie. When all those self-righteous Republicans preach about family values and core beliefs, of devout religious faith and all American traditions, is this what comes to mind?

A 52-year-old man, sitting alone at his computer, engaging in deeply disturbing conversations about sexual organs and masturbation techniques, with a16-year-old boy? Is this the type of man you want protecting your children? By all means, no. Should this kind of behavior continue in our country?

Absolutely not, and it is infuriating to think it’s gone on for so long. Let’s hope that in the future, these types of criminals are caught sooner rather than later because the safety of our children is, literally, in their hands.

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