That Mark Foley had illicit conversations with a young man barely of age may arguably have been immoral. That he did so as an elected official with a young man working in his branch of government, taking advantage of his position of power and respect, was inarguably corrupt and a symptom of much broader, thoroughly bipartisan corruption. The conversations themselves, whether immoral or corrupt, were noncommercial speech and should enjoy the protection of the First Amendment. They also come much closer than documents outlining the taking of $100,000 in bribes and their placement in a freezer to being covered under the umbrella of “for any speech…in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.” But I’m not particularly interested in any of that.
There’s another corruption, another abuse, happening here, an abuse more dangerous to the Republic. The media and the demagogues – Republican, Democrat and, even, Libertarian are abusing and corrupting the English language for political gain. The Cincinnati Enquirer refers to “Foley’s interest in young boys”, Stuart Richards of the Hummer of Truth refers to Foley as “an alcoholic child molester” and the talking heads are repeatedly referring to the 17-year old ex-page as a “young child” and now even using similar language to describe a 21-year old intern.
If a 17-year old man is a young child, somebody needs to alert the Pentagon that the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force are recruiting young children. After a week of this crap it’s time somebody said it – if the guy was old enough to go die in Iraq then he was old enough to have a sex chat with a Congressman if he could find a Congressman willing. He was not a child, let alone a “young child.”
Feminists want to classify a pinch on the rear as sexual assault. Talking about an episode of Seinfeld or hanging a Snap-On Tool Calendar (from before 1995 when they were worth hanging) in an auto shop may be sexual harassment. Now politicians want to classify vulgar chat with a 17-year old man as child molestation. This is akin to calling a playground fistfight “attempted murder” or a seat belt violation “vehicular manslaughter.”
This corruption of the language by all parties in the name of a transparently phony moral posturing is so ridiculous I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. It’s well past time someone called them all on it.