October 03, 2006
Driven to Distraction
Pull up Memeorandum, any major news web site, or political blog this morning, and you'll see two stories prominently featured, one on the Amish school shooting that has claimed five lives so far in rural Pennsylvania, and the other one dealing with the fallout of disgraced Florida Congressman Mark Foley's sexually explicit computer communications with teenaged pages in the House of Representatives.
It is clear that Foley's conduct is disgusting, unethical, and possibly criminal. It is also clear that (barring another major news event) this will be the political hot-button topic for at least the remainder of the week, due in no small part to how badly the House Republican leadership has responded to this clearly inappropriate behavior.
Washington and those who cover it love a juicy scandal. and this certainly reaches a sustainable level of interest for political junkies.
By all accounts, Mark Foley carried out explicit conversations with teen boys. Investigations should be launched by the appropriate law enforcement agencies to see if Foley broke any laws. If he did, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent the criminal justice system can provide. We can hope that Foley's predatory behavior has been confined to the keyboard, and that he never had to opportunity to physically act out any desires he may have had.
We can also probably agree with perfect 20/20 hindsight that the House Leadership should have more thoroughly investigated Foley's conduct, even though the parents of the page asked them to keep the matter quiet, and we can certainly fault their absence of leadership since this story came to light.
We can even understand the Democratic plan to conflate this and grasp upon it as a major issue just five weeks out from a national election. If the Republicans were the minority party and had the chance to beat the Democratic Party over the head with this, they certainly would. All of that said, this story is not important when compared to the more pressing business facing the nation.
We have 140,000 soldiers in Iraq apparently unable to effectively reduce increasing sectarian violence, and no one in either party able to articulate a viable plan to bring safety and security to the 26 million citizens of Iraq.
We have a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan suffering crushing battlefield defeats, but we are unable to muster up the political will to go after their training camps in Pakistan, measurably improve Afghanistan's infrastructure, or destroy a poppy crop that fills the Taliban's coffers and our streets with drugs.
We have an apocalyptic religious sect ruling Iran that is so radical that Ayatollah Khomeini outlawed it while he was alive, that is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons and has already stated an intention to "wipe Israel off the map," with the apparent goal of spurring a massive retaliatory strike in the hopes that nuclear explosions over Tehran will usher forth the Twelfth Imam to bring forth the Apocalypse, not to mention North Korean threatening to detonate one of their nuclear warheads.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have major issues affecting millions of lives around the world facing us that will be determined in part by how we vote in just five short weeks.
It is perfectly understandable that Democrats would seize upon such a minor issue as Foleygate and inflate its importance if they can, because such a minor issue that is something of a scale on which they may be able to operate. But we have far more pressing concerns as a nation than the predatory emails of a degenerate Congressman affecting a handful of teen boys. We have issues that affect the very lives of tens of millions of people around the world that have suddenly been put on a backburner.
It's time we place Foleygate in its proper context as a sideshow and continue to press both political parties in America to deal with the very real and mortal threats facing other nations and our own.
Too many lives hang in the balance to do otherwise.