The problem with the revelations involving former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL), and the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, is that it shows just how far out of touch Washington is with the rest of America.
If the average office worker, teacher, minister, doctor, in other words, anyone, sent sexually oriented and explicit e-mails to a teenager, their careers and lives would come to a crashing halt. First, they’d be convicted by public opinion. Then they’d be convicted in court.
And once they did the time for the crime, they’d be forced to register with the local police force. In addition, they’d be forced to place a sign outside their house or apartment, informing their neighbors about their past conviction.
Maybe it’s time to post such a sign – a damn big one! – on Capitol Hill.
Maybe all of us, especially the parents of these teenage Pages working in the House of Representatives, should know that their children are rubbing shoulders with child sexual predators.
Maybe it takes this kind of drastic action to get Congress to realize it’s not above the law.
And, ultimately, that’s the problem. Members of Congress think, their actions suggest, that because they make the laws, the laws don’t apply to them.
None of this started with Congressman Foley. This kind of behavior has been seen before.
And none of us, the voters, do enough to stop it. We’re upset for a week or two, or maybe the next time we’re at the polls, but, basically, we give these guys a pass. Not, perhaps, the congressman who’s charged with the crime but certainly the rest of them.
It’s time to start demanding accountability from these elected officials. Let’s start by voting out all of those whose hands touched this crime but didn’t do enough to stop Congressman Foley. Then let’s force Congress to unfurl a huge banner on their lawn – something that can be seen for miles – that says the Capitol houses child sexual predators.
Let’s do to Congress what they, through the legislation they’ve passed, would do to us if we were charged and convicted with the very same crime!