Today, Florida Congressman Mark Foley resigned over a series of sexually suggestive emails to a fifteen year old page.
What is even more apalling about this story is that Foley is the co-chair of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. Foley had introduced legislation in July to protect children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. He also sponsored other legislation designed to protect minors from abuse and neglect.
And therein lies the rub.
I consider Foley's resignation to have been entirely appropriate. But I don't consider that Bill Clinton should have been impeached. Why is this? Is it because I'm a Democrat?
No, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with a number. The page was 15. Monica Lewinsky was 22.
15 < 18. 22 > 18.
It's that simple. I may not agree with what consenting adults do with each other, but in the end it really isn't our business. But when a child is exploited, it become everybody's business.
What this does do, aside from opening up a seat he should have hung unto easily just weeks ahead of the election, is reinforce the stereotype that all Congressmen are corrupt, crooks or otherwise sleazy. And I don't even think it is true-- I believe that many are but I'd still like to believe that at least a majority are still good people. But then they don't make headlines so we learn a lot more about the bad ones.