Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foley and the Results of a Don't Ask, Don't Tell Environment

Here is a brilliant article about the Foley scandal from the Boston Globe:

"Being in the closet is hard to pull off without help, and for years Foley was eagerly abetted by his Republican brethren, whose willful blindness is at the heart of the current tragedy. Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, majority leader John Boehner, and others in the House leadership are still under the impression that the closet, like Tinkerbell, will continue to live as long as we all believe. And believe, they do -- against all the evidence.

But the number of people who believe in the closet is declining day by day and generation by generation. Hastert and the rest of his cronies are their own victims. The political turmoil they caused for themselves is only just."

You can read the whole article here.

Living in an environment of Don't Ask, Don't Tell sets up situations for moral failures for a variety of reasons. Reasons that we're going to be reading about in the days ahead. One reason that I believe is important is that when you have such an ideology of secrecy, you do not have a situation of accountability. If folks are allowed to be secretive, then they open themselves up to trouble in a way that can only bring disasterous consequences.

With Foley, we see an example where some people have little accountability when it comes to how they engage themselves in their professional lives regardless of their sexual orientation. While most open-minded folks are trying to let others do as they see fit, we forget that everyone needs some form of accountability. I guess it's like the old addage, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." Or, it might be like my new addage, "Power makes you think you can get away with anything."

In the White House, there is a lot of power and a lot of powerful people. In an environment with so much wattage going on, I makes me wonder if Foley was allowed to continue being pervy with all those kids because there are others who are doing similar immoral things. What if there are Senators and Congresspersons who are stealing, lying, cheating, and having sex with staffers, young and old? What if there is a whole collapse of morality in the White House and what we see with Foley is only one part of a much larger whole. That might explain why so many people knew what Foley was up to and did nothing. Heck, to condemn him would in effect, be condemning themselves- the pot can't call the kettle black, right?

What Foley has done highlights the reality that everyone needs accountability and allowing anyone to do as they please only creates opportunities for trouble. We had better set up a system whereby no one is unaccountable or we're going to see situations appear that pale in comparison to Foley's immorality.

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