Friday, September 29, 2006

Republican leadership hits a new low

Pedophile priests are low, but I always considered the Catholic administrators who covered up their existence lower. A pedophile clearly has something wrong with him - some brain imbalance or trauma or something causes him to be sexually attracted to children. But the administrators have no such excuse. Rather than allow the existence of pedophile priests to tarnish the image of the church, they paid off the families of molested children to keep quiet, and failed to remove the priests from contact with children. This is bad not only for the children, but also for the priest - you're not doing him any favors by hiding the issue rather than getting him counseling or medication, or allowing him to continue assaulting children until he does end up in jail. (And no, prayer is not a cure for pedophilia.)

Now we discover something very similar going on within the Republican leadership. Congressman Foley has resigned because it has come to light that he was propositioning the teenage pages via IM and email.

This is bad enough, of course, but you can't really extrapolate the behavior of one Republican to the group. His actions were the actions of an individual that could just as easily have been a Democrat. It says nothing about either party.

However, the Republican leadership learned that he was propositioning people's children and covered it up. They apparently didn't even take steps to separate him from the pages or make him go get some help, let alone bring it to the attention of the authorities. Check out this stunning quote:

Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who sponsored the page from his district, told reporters that he learned of the e-mails from a reporter some months ago and passed on the information to Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Republican campaign organization.

Alexander said he did not pursue the matter further because "his parents said they didn't want me to do anything."

I'm sorry, but that's hardly an excuse for allowing a pedophile to continue to have access to children, or to excuse his behavior. What if the next set of parents don't want their kids propositioned? Or worse, what if the next time, the proposition doesn't stop at email and IM?

You know, I never really understood why the Catholic administrators who allowed pedophile priests to assault on in obscurity were never brought up on charges. They deserve to be in jail, doing hard time. Hell, they should at least have been excommunicated. But religion is a funny thing. People will excuse practically anything, apparently, for the sake of faith.

But when it happens in politics, too, the common denominator becomes crystal clear. It's not about protecting the faith. It's about holding on to the power. Both the Catholic administrators and the Republican leadership build their power on the (false) premise that they are a moral center. "Embarrassments" like this threaten that power, forcing them to choose between a potential loss of power or another child being sexually assaulted.

And they chose wrong. To my mind, that more surely strips them of any moral authority than the mere fact that there was a pedophile in their organization. A responsible man would have set aside his personal desire for power and taken steps to protect the children under his protection.

"Yeah, he's propositioning teenagers, but we might lose a Congressional seat! If we can just keep it quiet until after the election..."

No comments: