Topic: urban issues
On and on goes the moralistic crusade against former Congressmember Mark Foley, who admittedly abused his position of authority while pursuing some Congressional pages (young men, not children exactly). For Foley, it’s all over, and the case is stirring up yet more homophobia in Republican ranks. Probably a few more heads will roll. Unfortunately, some of those heads will belong to low-ranking gay staffers who've been quietly pursuing their careers, hoping against hope that the neocon, religio-fascist wave would break and recede.
True, a greater good may come of this: The crusade might contribute to Republican electoral losses in key districts, notably including that of Tom Reynolds, Western New York’s Bushie Supreme. The Republicans could even lose control of Congress altogether. But the bipartisan pontificating and posing still stink. How many Reps and Senators are in high dudgeon about mass murders by the US military on their watch – and essentially on their orders?
Then there’s a crusade that’s keeping the home fires burning. Friday’s D&C carried another installment about the hapless former head of the Greece Chamber of Commerce, Skip Beaver. He and another middle-aged man were arrested last month in Genesee Valley Park for alleged lewd behavior, an encounter at sundown behind a public bathroom. Beaver, who’s full name has predictably inspired sophomoric comments about sexual orientation, left his position with the Chamber shortly after the arrest. We can wonder whether his straight-laced bosses dumped him, or he left freely, but the fact is he lost his job while still legally presumed innocent. Worse, his name has been splashed all over the front pages. And for what? Fooling around with a 61-year-old in the shadows? There has been no hint that this was anything but consensual. Nor have there been reports of park users harmed, outraged, or even inconvenienced by what went on. Exactly what real offense was committed?
Sounds like another chapter of cops gone wild. A few years ago I spoke to a man who was arrested in GV Park, which has long been known as a gay cruising area. This man had to struggle with the system for months; finally the charges were dropped on a technicality that the higher-ups, at least, must have known about: the two men were playing in a private vehicle and thus not guilty of “public lewdness.” So why did John Law go after them? For the same reason that, time after time, he’s gone after men at Durand Eastman, Genesee Valley, Highland Park, and other locations: the poor dear, defender of a sham morality, is suffering from a horrible persecution complex - in this instance, a complex mixture of psychological flaws that causes him to hound innocent people. He can’t help himself.
And JL’s got lots of company – lots of big pricks on public display throughout the hierarchy. Nor should we fail to note the smaller pricks in the mass media, who ruin lives while pretending to satisfy our right to know.