Saturday, December 09, 2006

Willfully Ignorant

The House Ethics Committee charged with investigating former Representative Foley's unethical relationship with underage House Pages, and if his colleagues and the House leadership who knew about said behavior had acted appropriately has returned their report.
That Foley's misconduct was known since 1999 to increasingly more and more representatives, staff members--including the Speaker of the House, Mr. Hassart. Yet, even though most people would consider Foley's actions inappropriate behavior--sexual harassment--this behavior remained closeted. Those who knew took no real action to curb this behavior.
The report while calling the members "willfully ignorant" do no find them in violation of the House Ethics rules. How high is the ethics bar set--that a member of congress can stalk someone underage, and engage in sexual banter, regardless of his/her sexuality is an abuse of their position; that other adults in power took little to no action to stop this behavior, to protect the powerless is unconscionable (and mind you, teens can be sexual creatures, but in this case the teen was NOT seeking this type of attention). This is sexual harassment...the congressperson should not be using their power to exploitative ends.
Once again, those in power are protecting their own, they are not be held to the standards of conduct that we, the public, are held to. [note: that while Congress passes labor laws for instance, they are not held to them themselves.]
It is time to hold all elected officials to the ethical and legal standards that we all recognize.

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