Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mark Foley Issue

Mark Foley is a Republican congressman, widely speculated to be gay. ABCNews has just posted a story publishing emails that the congressman made to a sixteen year old page. The allegation is that the congressman is hitting on the kid in the emails. The kid says he's freaked out by the emails, which he characterized as being "sick sick sick sick sick sick" etc. You can read the emails here . Here are the relevant things that the congressman sent the page:
  • glad your home safe and sound...we don't go back into session until Sept 5,,,,si it's a nice long break...I am back in Florida now...its nice here..been raining today...it sounds like you will have some fun over the next few weeks...how old are you now?
  • I just emailed will...hes such a nice guy...acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape....i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym....whats school like for you this year?
  • How are you weathering the hurricane...are you safe....send me a pic of you as well....
  • I am in North Carolina..and it was!00 in New Orleans...wow that's really hot...well do you missDC...Its raining here but 68 degrees so who can argue..did you have fun at your conference....what do you want for your birthday coming up...what stuff do you like to do
Foley's response is that he's just being friendly, and that he asked for the photo in particular so that he could remember the page for future recommendation purposes.

I read these, and I think two things. First, this is not a come on. This is like aa prelude to a come on. The stuff in these letters is not sexually explicit and is also consistent with Foley being a friendly guy. I would say there's probably some sexual heat in here somewhere, but Foley's not writing sexually explicit stuff. So I don't think it's really improper, and not sick sick sick sick sick sick, etc. Second, let's assume that the congressman's seeing if the kid's interested, that he's flirting a little. So what? The kid's 16 years old, not a child, and not in any situation where the adult congressman's got any power over the page. There's no potential sexual abuse, and since he's not working any longer, no potential sexual harassment.

What do you think?

6 comments:

Fishfrog said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. The text seems like he's testing the waters. There's nothing explicit, like you said, so it's hard to see how this would qualify as "sick sick sick ...." Seems like the kind of thing that a homosexual, surrounded by people with a severe hatred of homosexuals, has to do to meet available guys.

scarlet panda said...

I agree w/ you both.

By the way, one of my former students e-mailed me for a recommendation last year, and I asked her to send me a photo because I didn't know who she was. I wonder if she thought I was coming on to her.

Arfanser said...

I think I have to agree. If it was my kid I would be worried, but I dont see anything yet that would cause me to act other than warning my kid about what might happen. I do disagree with one thing though. The kid is 16, that is not the age that one can form a healthy love interest with a congressman. It is inherently unfair.

Fishfrog said...

The power disparity is definitely a problem. No congressman should be dating or trying to date an intern or aide.

steve said...

And now Fox News is branding him as a Democrat as well...

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3570

Jerome said...

Drop in for an open intellectual forum at intelligentsiaforum.blogspot.com and email me at freshknight@msn.com is you wish to become a member