In Praise of Foley

Well, not really. While I might take pleasure in the problems this causes for the Republican party, I still feel sorry for this poor man and the publicization of his private life in this way. This is not to approve of what he did, but simply to have some compassion for a man who allegedly did something very wrong, and was aided by friends and colleagues to keep doing it.

David Link of the "Independent Gay Forum" has an op-ed in today's Globe comparing the Republican leadership's treatment of this to that in the Catholic church. He writes:

If this has a familiar ring, look in the Catholic Church for the bell. Republican leadership was acting like the Catholic hierarchy, which played shell games with men accused of sexually abusing children. And there's a good reason for the similarity. The inability to deal straightforwardly with gay people leads to other kinds of truth-avoidance when things go south. But that's what comes from not wanting to know something, and going out of your way to remain ignorant.
Brian McGrory, who usually annoys me, made a similar point on Tuesday in a column entitled "Back at you, Santorum", reminding us that back during the height of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, Rick Santorum suggested that it was we Massachusetters' liberal attitudes that created the climate for the abuse of minors. Apparently the House Republicans had the same problem.

But for my money the best commentary on how this isn't a gay issue so much as a gay-man-not-dealing-with-his-sexuality issue is from a letter in today's Globe by Christian Diaz of Boston. I've reproduced it in full:

AS A gay man living for more than two decades in Boston, I have known many gay men raised in strict Catholic homes, two of whom were molested by their priests. Not one of them grew up to be a closeted Republican who worked to criminalize his own behavior.

Foley should have sought professional help, as many of my friends did, long before he mixed alcohol, his own apparent homophobia, congressional pages, and the Internet, and brought himself to this ignominious place.

If he had taken personal responsibility for his mental health earlier, it would not be thrust upon him now by events he set in motion by his very failure to do so.

No comments: