Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fine, But Just This Once

Mark Foley, a republican congressman from Florida (or if you believe the Bill O'Reilly show, a democrat from Florida) who recently resigned his post after news broke about his attraction to and interaction with teenage boys. It's a big deal on every news program and just about every point has been made by someone already, so I wasn't going to do a post on it. But today I will give my thoughts on the subject and then be done with it.

I believe, like many Americans, that the focus of this scandal, is not where it should be. A man, political party affiliation aside, abused his authority and the respect of these kids. It should NOT matter whether he went for boys or girls, or whether he was abused by a priest when he was a kid, or whether or not he is gay. Who he would choose to form an adult relationship with most likely has nothing to do with what sex he preys upon. Most sex offenders are, by far, heterosexual men. It is easy to see a sexual behavior one feels is 'wrong' and then assume that person must engage in other behaviors seen as being equally 'wrong'. Gays have been linked to child abuse, beastiality, rape, etc for generations, with little to no evidence to support those links. It also should not matter that Rep. Foley was molested by a priest, if his claims are to be believed. Many people are victimized in some way in their lives and don't go on to repeat that abuse. If suffering abuse was a viable excuse for becoming an abuser, every person who had ever been mugged would be out stealing wallets. If prior molestation has formed an attraction for teenage boys in Mark Foley, it was still his choice to act upon it.

Also, the term "pedophilia" has been tossed about by just about everyone during this mess. But the fact of the matter is, Mark Foley has not been shown to exhibit any pedophilia. That's right, NONE. Pedophilia is a psychiatric term, not a legal one, and this situation doesn't fit the definition. Pedophilia is, literally, a sexual attraction to or romantic love for a pre-pubescent child. In other words, once the kid hits puberty, it is impossible for that child to become a victim of pedophiles. They simply wouldn't be a suitable victim; their body would be too adult to appeal to a pedophile. Pedophiles want baby-fat and hairlessness and a complete lack of all secondary sex characteristics. And just like those female teachers who have been in the news so much in the past few years, Mark Foley never went for kids young enough to classify him as a pedophile. These kids are at an age where they have developed sexual urges, where they were capable of consent. A sexual attraction to or romantic love for a post-pubescent adolescent is classified as ephebophilia. It is not a predatory behavior so much as it is symptomatic of stunted emotional growth. Ephebophiles, since the age of cultural pederasty, generally relate to their chosen partners as peers. Did you read the instant messages from Foley to the page? Those were not the speech patterns of an adult. Mark Foley views relationships and potential partners through the eyes of a teenager. He is not out to teach or control a child, he is out to find a partner on his own level. To him, a 52 year old man would be as inappropriate as it would be to the average teenager. (Which makes me wonder about the kids he was chatting with, if they weren't just blinded by Foley's congressional status.) In fact, the age of consent in Washington is reported to be sixteen, meaning that no crime may have even been committed. Mark Foley exercised incredibly poor judgment, and no doubt took advantage of his position of authority over these kids, but he should not be categorized as a sexual predator.

For the democrats to throw around terms like preying and pedophile is just ridiculous politicking. For republicans to throw around terms like homosexual is the same. Both are trying to make Foley the poster-child for the other side. "Foley is a republican, so republicans must have protected him." "Foley is gay and he hit on kids. More proof that gays are evil!" (The assumption there being that democrats are the gay-friendly ones.)

This whole thing is a mess, and has been beaten to death already. I just wanted to put out there the fact that not everyone is falling for all of the trash that's being put out there. Personally, as long as he's not persuading anyone to be with him, if he's not using status or authority to convince anyone to do anything they would not normally do, and as long as whoever he's with is of legal age, I don't care if Mark Foley moves to Massachusetts and marries the youngest guy he can. Obsession with youth is nothing new, especially not for men in their fifties.

No comments: