Foley business and petard hoisting

First of all, I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to watch the Republican House chewing away at its own extremeties trying to free itself from the bear (elephant?) traps it’s found itself in since the weekend. Schadenfreude indeed.

But this story (here’s a bit of it, but pieces of it keep coming out and it’s everywhere) worries me too.

To some degree, the fact that Foley is gay is delicious irony that has short-circuited a huge piece of the Republican power to get people to the polls… although it’s arguable that their Gay-Scare tactics were starting to lose steam in the face of Iraq and other debacles. Still… even for lots of people who might quibble with the administration’s foreign policy and whatnot, if you just remind them that Democrats luuuuuv “the gays” and that being gay is essentially the same as being a pedophile and/or bestiality fan, it gets their people to the polls like nobody’s business. (I am, of course, parroting their bigotry, not agreeing with it … just to make that clear… it’s godawful ignorance at best but more likely just plain evil bigotry.)

The fact that Foley is gay, then, could just be used by his Republican bretheren as an excuse to excommunicate him and say they knew nothing of it and are ejecting a bad apple. But they can’t, because evidently tons of them knew about his antics. Because of their coverups, the GOP is in for a real sh**storm and probably a loss of power (unless Diebold can win the elections for the GOP again). Basically, they’re being hoist by their own petard — the petard, in this case, is their homophobia.

Great, right? But I wonder if all this press about Foley going after 16 yr old boys is only furthering popular misconceptions about homosexuality? You can hear it in the voices of the conservatives who are calling for his ouster — especially people like Bay Buchanan — who see this as nothing less than confirmation of their beliefs that homosexuals are out to “convert” and/or molest their perfect little churchgoing children. In fact, this backlash has already begun.

So I hope that the media makes a clear distinction between “gay” and “inappropriately stalking/wooing teenagers.” Not that the media are known for their grasp of logical nuance.

Still… my god the fireworks are fun to watch.

(Edited to add: I don’t want to sound like I getting sadistic pleasure from seeing individuals in personally wrenching, life-destroying situations. I don’t wish that on anyone … it’s the neo-puritanical hypocrisy being brought to light that I’m celebrating.)

Author: Andrew Hinton

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