Saturday, September 30, 2006

Countering a dangerous meme about Foley

In case you haven't heard, Florida Representative Mark Foley resigned from the house, due to improper exchanges between himself and a teenaged boy who'd been a Congressional page.

I've seen some people make a very dangerous statement, and it's one that needs to be nipped in the bud. Because the boy's parents didn't want the matter to go any further, the meme says, it couldn't have been a big deal.

That's absolutely false. What 16 year old boy wants to be in the news under those circumstances? That his parents wanted the entire incident to go away just means that they felt pursuing the matter would do more harm than good.

Sure, one reason to feel that way is that it's a minor issue, one not worth pursuing. But it's also possible that it was a major issue, and they felt that pursuing a major issue like that would cause proportionately more harm.

In the meantime, the Republican leadership, who kept the entire matter hushed up, are now insisting that they were betrayed by Foley's dishonesty. Maybe they were...

But I hope they made sure that every single page knew about the possibilities of sexual harassment, and knew there was a safe person to talk to if anything inappropriate happened. If they didn't, I'm not all that impressed by their outrage today.

If you see smoke, you look and see if there's a fire. And if you walk away from the smoke, and it turns out there's a blazing fire, you've got to own the responsibility for not trying to take responsibility when you could.

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