Young, drunk and proud
Congratulations are due to disgraced Republican congressman Mark Foley of Florida, who in 'coming out of the closet' (accidentally) has cemented in the minds of the unthinking masses that homosexual = pedophile. I was particularly struck by the news that Foley is gay due to his alcoholism (today's Washington Post: 'Foley Lawyer Cites Alcohol, Childhood Abuse'), which reminded me of U.K. Liberal Democrat politician Mark Oaten, who when outed in the press last spring, attributed his being gay to the onset of hair-loss: yes, that's right, he had sex with a male prostitute because he was going bald.
It is worth warning everyone that any kind of vague personal trauma can trigger homosexuality. Just last week a man in County Cavan came out of the closet because his tractor wouldn't start. And in April, two men in Belfast admitted being gay when they both woke up one morning to discover that they'd left the TV on all night.
I jest... In a society more at ease with itself (such as in some European countries) being gay should not be a bar to holding public office, as it is in the U.S. Here, not only is homosexuality still a taboo subject outside of large metropolitan areas, but in recent years the Republican Party has rallied its religious base with a deliberate policy of hating and vilifying gays. So when one of the faithful takes a fall, we should reach for the Schadenfreude.
People say there's not much difference between the two political parties in this country. The Republicans charge right-wards and the Democrats follow, or mewl in impotent self-pity. But there are still some differences. Compare Mark Foley's downfall with that of Democrat Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey, who came out and resigned at a press conference in 2004. McGreevey resigned, but generally people have been sympathetic, because he seems to have had a core of honesty in him (and his sexual orientation invled another man, not teenage boys, as with Foley). Foley is busted and ... right-wingers blame liberals, Democrats, the Internet, society's obsession with sex, but most of all they blame gays! Here's a sample of response to the Foley scandal:
The Wall Street Journal --— "Some of those liberals now shouting ... are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys."
Headline from the The Family Research Council web site --— "Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal"
James Dobson, Focus on the Family --— "This is yet another sad example of our society's oversexualization, especially as it affects the Internet, and the damage it does to all who get caught in its grasp."
Ben Stein -- "I hope it won't come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys."
Meanwhile, on Fox News yesterday afternoon, Foley (see image above) was given the inaccurate abbreviation 'D-Fl' -- Democrat of Florida. Probably a mistake, but...
Taking a very wide view, Foley simply confirms my growing opinion that any and all who enter politics, especially at a national level, in any country, are creepy weirdos, and in this prejudice I include politicians whose opinions and policies I would support. I mean, democracy is supposed to be about winnowing and whittling the demands and needs of large diverse societies down into smaller, more manageable chunks of representatives so that (ideally) everyone feels like their point of view is somehow given fair representation in some sort of national assembly. But I've never understood how anyone can take themselves so seriously as to think they're important enough, talented enough, to stand/run for election.
I called the matter the 'Foley scandal' above, and for those not following this story, it is a scandal, because now it appears that the gay-bashing Republican leadership in Congress knew not just that Foley was a closeted gay man, but also knew that he was recklessly engaging in explicit correspondence with teenage boys, for as long as two years. It's crap, eighth-rate politics-as-usual in the U.S. of A., no rules for the Republicans and Old Testament wrath for anyone else.