After wagging their finger all year in America's face about the alleged dangers presented to society from gays who wish to marry, it has now become clear whom American families ought to fear. News reports have revealed that the GOP House leadership, including Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip John Boehner have known for months that fellow Republican Mark Foley had been sending explicit messages to boys who worked as Congressional pages, yet they did nothing about it. ABC News has reported that Congressional pages were being warned about Foley as early as five years ago. Yet Foley was not reported to authorities by the people in the know, nor was he even quietly pressured to leave his seat and "spend more time with his family." Instead he was set to stand for an easy re-election to his seventh Congressional term in just four weeks. Late this weekend, as the scrutiny intensified, Hastert sought to deflect criticism of his failure to act by asking Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for a full investigation. But the public should not be fooled--Hastert just days ago was denying he knew anything about the matter but had to revise his tune when the Republican in charge of Congress' Page Board revealed to reporters that he had told Hastert about Foley's actions many months ago. Thus Hastert asking for an investigation now about the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors is really just a fig leaf, because there was going to be one anyway , but asking for one makes him look like he was doing something other than sitting on his hands and covering things up, which is the reality, and has the added benefit of using the power of the government to find out who leaked the matter, which has become a favorite GOP media intimidation tactic.
A Remembrance of Scandals Past
We went down this road just a couple of years ago with the scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, in which the establishment tried to cover-up for its aberrant underlings. Once again, it is the hard right wing conservatives, this time in government and not the church, who have been preaching family values, but when it comes down to it are willing to forsake the interests of the children in their care simply so that they can retain their power and influence. This kind of behavior, which is at variance from the ethics of the rank and file in the Catholic Church or the Republican Party, stems from an attitude of arrogance on the part of the leadership that sees other people as "the problem" while seeing themselves as the indispensable solution without which the social order would collapse. They cannot tell on their own colleagues because then "the other side" would score an ideological, or in this case, political victory. These same people continuously rail at "postmodernism" and the philosophy of "moral relativism" in their opponents, even as the law and morality are subordinated to political gain in their own lives.
What You Can Do
Contact Dennis Hastert and John Boehner and tell them that you think that they should resign their positions. People who will not take responsibility for the protection of children do not belong in public life, no matter what their party affiliation, much less if they have made careers dispensing moral bromides as the alleged conscience of the nation. Decent Americans of all political and religious persuasions should find this whole affair repugnant and demand a higher standard of our national leaders.
It really bothers me that the Republican leadership was more concerned with political fallout than with protecting the young people involved. That is simply reprehensible. And the hypocrisy is just beyond belief.