Tuesday, October 3, 2006

When Spin is Just Wrong

There are times when "spin" is not a tactic. There are times when it's just plain wrong. Now, according to CNN, Mark Foley wants us all to know that he is (1) gay and (2) he was molested by a clergy person as a teen. He wants us to believe that he is making this announcement to the press because it serves some purpose in his treatment. Excuse me if I am skeptical. Speaking as a therapist for a minute, it would make sense in treatment to take steps to make amends to victims and to admit fault. But announcing your sexual orientation to the national media and then alleging a history of abuse seems a lot like a plea for sympathy, and I have very little for this guy. Plus, isn't it a bit ironic- his claim of abuse by clergy and the similarities in how the leadership of his party covered for him just as some leaders in the church covered for priests who abused children?

I have a hard time with Foley and with those who protected him. These are not naive people. He asked for a picture of a teen. Did no red flags run up the poll? Those who protected him by keeping this quiet may well have held the door open for more kids to be harmed. These are people of privilege, people of means and intellect with access to mental health care and other resources. There is no excuse for their behavior.

"Damage control," when it comes to a story like the scandal caused by Mark Foley, too often focuses on protecting the position and reputation of the one in power, or worse the party of the one in power, rather than protecting those they have hurt. And those they will hurt. And that's just plain wrong.


Tina said...

Seems to me as if the first step in making amends, or possibly even renouncing his aberrant behavior toward kids, is admitting his behavior was WRONG and admitting that he has very poor impulse control. He can be gay if he wants to...but mess with kids?..heck, no!

Fall Line Dem said...

Let me get this right: Mr. Foley is gay, was sexually abused as a child, and is an alcoholic. Yet, this information only appears when he is caught engaging in reprehensible and possible illegal behavior. Being a responsible adult means dealing with the your personal "baggage", not trotting it out when you get caught. Shame on Mr. Foley and those who allowed his behavior to continue.

Fall Line Dem said...

The other thing that really bothers me is the implicit linkage between being gay and inappropriate coduct with underage children. Since when were the two even related? This smells a whole lot like the republican spin doctors trying, yet again, to make something the fault of the gay community.