By Jennifer Morales Special to Published Oct 08, 2006 at 10:04 AM
Former Congressman Mark Foley resigned last week after it was revealed that he was carrying on over the Internet and in person with teenaged Congressional pages. This week he let the public know, through his lawyer, that he is a gay man and an alcoholic, and that he was molested by an unnamed clergyman as a teenager.

These revelations raise some immediate questions: Why now? Who’s he talking to? There’s been speculation that Foley was gay for over a decade but he’s always denied it. The clergy-abuse allegations were never reported, and even now Foley is declining to name the perpetrator, so he can’t be seeking belated justice for himself. That leaves only the unthinkable: He’s hoping these little pieces of information amount to an Excuse.

It’s pretty clever, given the anti-gay hysteria rife among his colleagues and his Florida Republican voter base. Since he’s gay, and since many of his colleagues and supporters believe all gay people are pedophiles, it will be clear to everybody that he can’t help himself. Throw in some alcoholism and a cleric with wandering hands, and he’s got himself an excuse big enough to back his supporters into a Stand-by-Your-Man corner.

But not all of his partisans are buying it. For one, that corner butts up, M.C. Escher-like, into the “But, wait, we’re against gays” corner in the Republican edifice. And two, so many people in Congress knew about the page situation and didn’t say anything that there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Why didn’t anyone say anything? The honest response should be, “We asked him to stop, but we didn’t want to push it because we needed his vote.” But some apologists have obviously had more time on their hands because they came up instead with this doozy: All the good, God-fearing Republicans in Congress who knew about this months or years ago never made it public because -- you guessed it! -- jack-booted liberals had created such a hostile environment of political correctness that no one wanted to say that their colleague was having phone sex with teenagers he’d lured with alcohol because … they were deathly afraid of being accused of being gay-bashers!

They’re afraid to turn in people who prey on children because someone will call them names? And these people are supposed to be setting policy that defends the free world? Give me a break.

But still, we’re asked to believe that when a self-righteous, hypocritical, conservative Republican exploits children, it’s really all the liberals’ fault. That’s a twinkie defense if I ever heard one.
Jennifer Morales Special to

Jennifer Morales is an elected member of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, the first person of Latino descent to hold that position. She was first elected in 2001 and was unopposed for re-election in 2005. In 2004, she ran for a seat in the Wisconsin state senate, earning 43% of the vote against a 12-year incumbent.

Previously, she served as the editorial assistant at the educational journal Rethinking Schools; as assistant director of two education policy research centers at UW-Milwaukee; and as the development director for 9to5, National Association of Working Women.

She became the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from Beloit College in 1991.

In addition to her work on the school board, she is a freelance editorial consultant and a mother.