The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Friday, October 06, 2006

What can Congress learn from the Vatican?

Individual bad behavior condemned.

But Institutional bad behavior may be bigger scandal.


There is no need for the Iconoclast to rehash the sordid details concerning the grossly inappropriate behavior of former US Congressman Mark Foley of Florida. Those details are abundantly available in print, TV and Internet venues.

Besides, scandal in Washington DC is nothing new.

Money and sex are common themes for scandal in Washington going back to the earliest days.

The list of Washington politicians who have found themselves the center of attention in scandals of one description or another over the years is too long to recite here. But strikingly similar scandals involved former Congressmen Mel Reynolds of Illinois and Gerry Studds of Massachusetts both having been sexually involved with minors... one having gone down for the misconduct and the other surviving it.

We also have a long list of Washington politicians who are more into the power and money thing. Former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham comes to mind.

The Abramoff scandal still unfolds as we speak.

But now Washington a all "a twitter" over the most recent scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley. The investigation is just now beginning and will likely drag on well past the looming Election Day.

Having listened to the story unfold over the past week, it seems that the real story and scandal, yet untold, is less about the deplorable behavior of one obvious “bad-egg” on Capitol Hill, but rather about the political culture that seems to have covered up the bad behavior. Lots of people are talking and apparently Congressman Foley's behavior was not such a surprise to the Capitol Hill regulars.

While the Foley investigation is likely to drag on and produce vague and inconclusive results prior to November 7th (Election Day), it is likely to eventually reveal that too many individuals in positions of authority clearly knew or should have known of the explosive nature of the behavior long ago and turned a blind eye to the problem.

In the end the political apologists will explain the behavior in ways to diminish the perception of wrong doing. We are already hearing excuses that the story did not come out earlier because of the desire to protect the victim and his family. We will probably hear more lofty explanations that privacy rights of the Congressman Foley prevented earlier intervention. And of course, we will hear some who say that the leadership in Congress was focused more on the important issues of national and international concern.

However, in the end, this may turn out to be just one more example of an institutional cover-up motivated by self-interests of political preservation.

The more I hear about the story, the more it reminds me of the Catholic Church sex scandals that have surfaced over the past several years, involving misconduct by priests and high church officials who knew about the inappropriate behavior but still covered it up... in numerous cases and over many years.

Perhaps Church officials thought they were acting to protect the victims. Perhaps they didn’t want to ruin the "more important" work of the Church. I am sure that the high Church officials had what they thought were good reasons for inaction.

Do you see the similarities?

But in the end, it was nothing but a cover-up to avoid responsibility of the institution. And, in the end, the cover-up was by far the much bigger scandal.

Will Congress end up the same way?


NOTE: Photograph at top is the Vatican dome. Photograph at bottom is the US Capitol dome. A remarkable similarity in visual images. Are there other similarities?

5 Comments:

  • At 10/06/2006 6:23 PM, Anonymous fair and balanced said…

    The Foley scandal is not the biggest problem facing the nation at this time and probably not even close to the biggest scandal ever to rock Washington.

    On the other hand, it is not a trivial matter and it is definitely not a Democrat "dirty trick" concocted to divert attention away from the so called "real issues" as the right wing talking heads are now suggesting.

    Former Republican Congressman Foley created this issue, and those who haven't taken it seriously are going to make themselves part of the unfolding story like it or not.

     
  • At 10/06/2006 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i see that a few right-wing spinners (fox news, drudge report) are trying throw out a few weak "trail ballons" in defense of the of Foley and Hasert, but so far they can't get anything to stick...

    I agree with Nancy Pelosi, it does appear that the swamp will be drained in a little over a month...

     
  • At 10/07/2006 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We need to turn the page and forget about this Foley nonesense. The voters need to get back to focusing on real issues, that are important to the people, the issues that Republicans can provide strong leadership on. For example: FAMILY VALUES!

     
  • At 10/07/2006 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    surely, you're joking...hahaah...good one!

    GOP = Grand Old Pedophiles

    I think that horse has been rode into the ground.

    Saying that Republicans value "family values" is like saying the KKK promotes tolerance and understanding...

    T minus 30 days before the swamp is drained...

     
  • At 10/08/2006 3:09 PM, Anonymous Dr. Mindgames said…

    Of those who pursue political power, many lack the wisdom and/or strength of character to wield it for appropriate purposes. Yes, most are smart, some are very smart, often clever too. But there is just as often a character flaw just under the surface.

    Thus, we often we see that the thirst to hold on to power is so great for some that it over-rides all other considerations.

    An old story, repeated many times.

     

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