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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Foley’s behavior is almost criminal, but he’s not alone

By Aaron Zundel

Former Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley is a predator. There’s no doubt.

He sent sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages over the course of at least 10 years. Foley claims that he never had sexual relations with a minor, and this may be true, but two anonymous pages have told news sources that they had sexual encounters with Foley when they were 18 and 21, respectively. Even if it turns out that Foley only slept with pages that were within the legal age limit, Foley’s predatorial conduct is abhorrent and totally unacceptable for a congressman.

However, Foley’s conduct isn’t the only unacceptable thing about this scandal.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Republican leaders have, for some time, been aware of Foley’s inappropriate conduct. And yet, they covered it up or, at the very least, did nothing to stop it. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert looks especially guilty in this regard.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Republicans are the only ones guilty of cover-ups, though. Many politicians, journalists and analysts are skeptical of the timing of this debacle. With the way Washington works, it would have been nearly impossible for (at least a few) Democrats not to have been aware of Foley’s behavior. These politicians sat on what they knew until election time, and then released it when it could cause maximum damage to their opponents.

Both are bad, but which is worse: a lecherous old guy sending perverted messages to young men, or a nationwide cover-up by a whole group of people to advance and/or protect themselves at the expense of those young men?

Both parties are guilty of the same thing, just on different sides of the coin. In their efforts for ever-increasing political power, Democrats and Republicans have betrayed the congressional pages who were victimized, as well as the American public in general. For as much outrage as Foley’s behavior is generating, people ought to be even more outraged at the way politicians, on both sides of the aisle, have chosen to play politics with a sexual predator and his victims. Instead of standing up for what was right, politicians have chosen to do what was the most expedient for their respective political parties.

At the root of the problem lies not a perverted old congressman, but a total lack of ethics in American politics. We have become so polarized as a nation today that the “win-at-all-costs” mentality saturates our politics.

On Oct. 5, the House Ethics Committee appointed a subcommittee to look into the actions of anyone who may have withheld information in the Foley scandal. It remains to be seen, however, if it will be an effective body or just another political tool.

Anyone who took part in, knew about, covered up or otherwise used Foley’s behavior to his or her advantage ought to be expelled, and the subcommittee should go to great lengths to find these people. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter-when politicians forsake their duty to the American public, they don’t deserve to be elected representatives anymore.

Aaron Zundel

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