I have absolutely no problem with Rep. Foley's actions, specifically IMing and corresponding with 16- and 17-year-old boys in a sexual manner. I would have no problem if he induced them to send naked pictures of themselves to him. I would have no problem if he convinced them to meet him and have anal sex. The issue is his moral hypocrasy, not his actions. And to condemn his actions may betray one as a rank homophobe. I generally think that 16 is a reasonable age of consent. It is the age of consent in many states, so it seems to have widespread approval. Yet, the discourse about Foley has often been implicitly, and in some cases explicitly, about the age of the boys involved. I would hate to see the righteous indignation exhibited by many Dems find itself lost in a thicket of its own hypocrasy. Let's look at two declarations and see if there are any corollaries involved. 1. Heterosexual lust for teenage girls saturates our society for better or worse and most people do not get lathered up into a rage about it. 2. Homosexuals and heterosexuals should be treated equally in all substantive areas of the law and should furthermore have moral equivalence when one debates their actions. If you don't agree with both these postulates, then stop reading. But if you do, then the only natural conclusion that can be drawn is that the level of ire directed at Foley's actions should be the same level of ire directed at the sexualization of 16- and 17-year-old teenage girls or more specifically, the level of ire directed at an older man trying to seduce a 16-year-old girl. Girls that age are often sex objects and openly referred to as such both in private conversation and in the media. Many may find an older man lusting after a younger girl to be uncouth and possibly disgusting, but it is accepted enough that there is little public outrage when one encounters such a scenario. The dark undercurrent of the Foley affair is that people and the media seem to be implying that it is sick and wrong, to the point of it almost being criminal, for Foley to have sexual conversations with boys that young. Because this response is so divergent from the equivalent response to such heterosexual shenanigans, it implies a deeply-rooted homophobia saturating not only the media, but the pundits from both parties. The arguments centered around the use of public office or power to entice sex, the moral hypocrasy of speaking one way and acting another, or the covering up of worrisome practices by those in power are all possibly valid condemnations of Foley and the Republicans in general, but this subtlety is lacking in much of the discourse I have been seeing in both the MSM and the blogosphere. I hope that once the furor dies down, a more careful dissection of this scandal can be conducted, without the pall of homophobia infecting the conversation. ADDENDUM: Consider the story of Representative Dan Crane, who did more than possibly solicit sex with a 17-year-old page, he actually did have sex with the page! But she was a female and he was merely censured. But to be fair, the Studds debacle did not generate as much media heat, and that situation was more egregious than the Foley situation (minus the hypocrcasy). FURTHER ADDENDUM: Drudge Report is reporting that the Foley accuser was 18. Are we upset with Foley because he abused power, because he is a supposed pedophile, or because he is gay? The first is legitimate, the second is untrue, and the third is the dirty secret that fuels some people's outrage whether they realize it or not.