Monday, December 11, 2006

Foleygate - No Crime, No Problem

The Foley report is complete, and none of the republican leadership will be disciplined, nor will any of the republican and democrat staff members who were aware of Foley's sexually-oriented internet contacts with congressional pages. And all these guys were re-elected. There is no shame in congress, nor in the electorate either, it seems. The double standard is alive and well.

This issue has nothing to do with Foley being gay. It has everything to do with his inappropriate conduct, and with the inappropriate conduct of those who knew about his contacts with the pages. Both Foley and those superiors and peers in congress crossed the line, but his resignation seems to be the end of it - nobody broke any rules, so they all get a little criticism and it's over. But it's not over with me.

I serve on the boards of three non-profits who deal with youth in one way or another. These organizations must have written policies regarding sexual harassment and very special rules with respect to conduct with minors. Sunday School rooms are retrofitted with glass panels to ensure visual oversight of teachers, and all youth activities will have two adults present at all times. Needless to say, if any adult in these organizations was found to be emailing a high school age person with sexually-oriented content, there would be hell to pay. The scandal would hit the local papers, would prompt visits from other interested governing bodies, would result in the dismissal of anyone who was aware of it and did not report it, and would severely or mortally wound the organization itself. Yet such conduct by members of Congress, in the end, generated only sound and fury. There were no consequences beyond those paid by the pitiful Foley.

I feel for those administrators who go to bed every night hoping that none of their people put as much as a toe across the line that day. For those conscientious people who run group homes, churches, schools, YMCA's, scouting programs, athletic teams and all the other organizations that deal with youth. They know that one person's lack of discretion, or even an innocent but suspect gesture, can cost them their job and the organization its place in the community. Unfortunately for them, they don't work under the same rules as Congress.

In the idealist's world, those with more power and responsibility are held to higher standards. In the real world, those with power and responsibility ensure they cannot be disciplined for anything less than blatant law-breaking. We let them have their investigations and white-washes, and life for them goes on as usual. What are we, nuts? I guess so.


Anonymous said...

The report came to two conclusions: 1) something bad happened, 2) nobody did it.

An elementary school student would fail if he turned in a report like that. Is anyone grading their papers?

1138 said...

Do they still wonder why they were tossed out of office?
This is going to haunt them when they run for re-election in 08.