Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla) has been brought low by hubris and his alleged interest, professed via the internet, in a 16 year old penis, in particular the 7.5 inch one belonging to a congressional page from Louisiana.
Schadenfreude: The perverse delight in viewing the misfortunes of others from a distance.
Foley is a Republican and by extension a family values man and a paragon of morality. As everyone knows, Repuglicans have embraced the radical Christian Right and promised to use the awesome power of the government to advance their agenda--especially their desire to limit abortion and gay rights.
Point of Irony No. 1: Until very recently, sexual relations between people of the same gender was illegal in the District of Columbia and in Foley's home state of Florida. Lawrence v. Texas invalidated Florida law making it not technically illegal for Foley to allegedly pursue his 16 year old page. The Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws over the strenuous objections of Republicans.
Point of Irony No. 2: Very, very recently, between the finding in Lawrence v. Texas and the passage of Adam Walsh's law this year, sexual relations between people of the same gender was legal, even if one of them was 16 years old. But the Republicans this year signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection Statute which essentially raised the minimum for age of consent in the United States to 18 years.
Point of Irony No. 3: Mark Foley stood behind President Bush as Adam Walsh's law was signed (without one of President Bush's famous signing statements that allowed him to ignore it if he so chose.)
Point of Irony No. 4: Even if Foley hasn't technically violated Adam Walsh's law (he didn't have sex with the boy--he merely communicated lewdly about the measurements of his penis by instant message) he may be in violation of a law that he himself helped draft, which criminalizes immoral communication with a minor over the internet.
It doesn't get more Sophoclean than that!
So what are we left with? Here we have Foley--let's assume for the sake of argument, that the allegations are true. He may or may not have broken a law. Is he gay? No. Though Foley is unmarried, being gay is a political statement which Republicans are in large part incapable of--the miniscule exceptions to the rule are theLog Cabin Republicans who boldly defy their party's prejudice and continue to be a presence inside their "big tent" to the consternation of nearly everyone else.
If the allegations are true, Foley is what used to be called a pederast, a middle aged man with an attraction to teenaged boys. This is quite different than an attraction to a prepubescent boy. Although both may be pathological, one is certainly depraved and sick on its face (pedophilia). The other (pederasty) has some room for debate--as is evident from congressional action on Adam Walsh's law earlier referred to. The technical term is Hebephile, though that can mean an adult who is sexually attracted to or molests postpubescent adolescents of either gender. Pederasty, by contrast is only a man/boy issue.
Oh, it is so wonderful to see Republicans stumble and fall. This is the kind of hubris that occurs from unchecked power coupled with religiosity--whether it be a catholic priest, or a member of God's Own Party.