Friday, October 06, 2006

Hyman's Sexual and Poltical Double Standards

Hyman’s recent editorials have been fairly bland and pointless commentaries on the dangers of sexual predators. His takes on the specific cases he mentions are unremarkable, save a swipe at a teacher’s union for defending a science teacher who was fired for having used his school computer to view pornographic websites twice.

So I was simply going to respond by remarking on the interesting juxtaposition of Hyman’s sudden interest in sexual predators with the suddenly infamous case or Republican Representative Mark Foley.

But yesterday
Hyman addressed the Foley issue directly (well, sort of), and his take on it is worth a brief examination.

On the good side, Hyman says, “Anyone who knew of the sexually explicit messages that surfaced this week and did nothing should step down.”

Absolutely right. But Hyman hedges a bit by limiting his call for resignations to those who knew of the specific IM messages that were released this week. It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that House
Speaker Dennis Hastert knew of Foley’s “problem” with Congressional pages long ago. So did the Republican House member who helped oversee the page program, although he studiously avoided letting his Democratic counterpart know this.

It will be interesting to see if Hyman publicly calls for Dennis Hastert’s resignation (as many conservatives already have), or hides behind the fig leaf of Hastert’s possible ignorance of the specific emails in question as a way of defending him.

More interesting yet is the rest of Hyman’s editorial. Although the Foley affair is the inspiration for the editorial, Hyman spends twice as many words discussing previous sex scandals involving Democrat Barney Frank and Democrat Gerry Studds. Hyman titles his editorial “Congressional Sexcapades,” lumping the Foley matter in with previous sexual embarrassments involving Democrats.

A few things to keep in mind: The Barney Frank and Gerry Studds matters both involved partners of legal age. (Although Studds had an affair with a Congressional page in 1973, the young man was above the legal age of consent at the time.) Foley’s explicit emails were to a minor.

Moreover, there’s no evidence that Democrats tried to cover up either episode for fear of political embarrassment, and in so doing, put children at risk. This is exactly what appears to have happened with the current Republican leadership and Foley, an act all the more heinous given Foley’s position as chairman of the committee for missing and exploited children.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Hyman’s editorial, however, is his statement that, “For their part, Democrats must walk a fine line to avoid engaging in gay bashing.”


How is condemning Foley’s actions and aggressively investigating a cover-up of his tendency to sexually harass minors running the risk of gay bashing?

It’s not, at least if one recognizes that pedophilia and homosexuality are not linked any more closely than pedophilia and heterosexuality.

No one is saying that Foley’s actions are particularly reprehensible because he was engaging in explicit sexual talk with a boy rather than a girl. The issue is the age of the person involved, as well as the power relationship.

But by suggesting that condemning Foley’s actions could be construed as “gay bashing,” Hyman reveals the extent to which homosexuality and pedophilia are connected in his own fetid imagination.

To underscore this point, it’s no accident that while Hyman makes much of the Congressional rebuke Gerry Studds received in 1983 for his affair with a male page ten years earlier, he ignores the matter of Republican Dan Crane who was rebuked at the same time for an affair with a 17-year-old female Congressional page in 1980.

There are two double standards here: the one in which Democratic sexual scandals are somehow sleazier than Republican ones, and the one in which homosexual sexual affairs are more scandalous than heterosexual ones.

Sexual misconduct is an equal-opportunity sin. I don’t think Foley being a Republican has anything to do with his actions. There shouldn’t be anything partisan about it.

However, how political parties react to this conduct by their members does, by definition, involve partisan issues. Hyman make much of the fact that Frank and Studds were reelected to Congress several times after their affairs were made public (insinuating that somehow Democrats don’t really care about tawdry sexual behavior, while Republicans do).

But what are we to make of the revelations that Republican leaders knew about Foley’s predatory behavior toward children for a long time, yet did nothing about it and didn’t warn their Democratic colleagues about it, thereby putting more children at risk?

Abramoff, DeLay, Duke Cunningham, the Foley coverup . . . how can anyone who claims to care about morals and values support a party whose leaders whose corruption stinks to Heaven?

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.70


At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The answer to your query, "how can anyone who claims to care about morals and values support a party whose leaders whose corruption stinks to Heaven?" is:

1. By being increasingly more shrill, calling all political opponents America-haters.

2. By stretching logic past its breaking point by blaming the Democrats on the Republican's errors (pretty soon we'll be hearing how those hate-america-democrats are actively supporting insurgents....come to think of it, Bill O'Reilly already says that).

3. By appealing to the most base instincts of "me-over-you" survival that proves that, if Intelligent Design is real, then God hates America.

4. Etc, etc.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.