10 October 2006

Mr. Rogers, Congress, staff and the lifeless neighborhood of authoritarianism

Apparently this most recent scandal about Rep. Mark Foley being gay and 'outed' was done by Mike Rogers to point out the 'hypocrisy' of being gay and closeted and *not* following along the Left gay political agenda. You see this agenda is so good, so freeing that individuals should be *forced* to follow it and should have *no* privacy whatsoever in their personal lives and, in general, behave like nice little activists to support the Left gay agenda.

Over at Sweetness & Light this was covered and it seems that Mr. Rogers is so 'open' to conversation that he deletes anything that even hints of his having a political agenda in this. The problem in claiming that one does not have a political agenda and then deleting outside commentary on the political aspects of ones work points either to hypocrisy or moral blindness. In any case it is unethical as it does not respect an individual's right to privacy to conduct their personal affairs without interference from other individuals trying to *dictate* what they should or should not be doing politically. And much thanks for pointing out this linkage between the 'outing' and the agenda being pushed as represented by this Washington Blade article from 2004 (and for outsiders, the Blade is a gay newspaper available in the DC area). This started with the 'outing' of a Senate staff member for the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Mr. Jonathan Tolman who was a senior aide to the committee in question. He was targeted by Mike Rogers because the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. James Inhofe will not hire openly gay staff members. Of course Mr. Tolman works for the Senate Committee as a *whole* and not Sen. Inhofe. And Mr. Tolman came to regret a minor bio piece done on him three years previously which, apparently, came to the attention of Mr. Rogers. About the politics behind this, Mr. Tolman had this to say:

“The agenda behind this outing seems to be kind of fascist. It says to me: Because you don’t subscribe to our personal idea, because you don’t choose to push sexual politics over environmental, we’re going to punish you.

“The senator knows I’m gay and it’s not changing his position and he’s not firing me. So my question to them is: Are you going to let it drop?”
A fair and reasonable question, isn't it? In doing the previous bio piece, Mr. Tolman stepped into a region of not being fully closeted nor fully 'out' and 'active'. This is a realm that should, in actuality, be *respected* as that individual is saying that, they have a sexual orientation but it does *not* interfere with their political outlook nor beliefs nor their ability to perform work for the Senate. Further, by taking up a job for the Senate, Mr. Tolman was doing something wholly patriotic in *supporting* the work of that body as a whole. Senators, as individuals, actually *can* discriminate in who they hire and fire, but the Senate for generic staff positions may NOT.

Now here it is time to dispose of a Leftist criticism that the military may discriminate and the Federal Government as a whole may *not* in this sort of thing. I do agree that *ability* should be the sole and deciding factor and sexual orientation given NO weight whatsoever. As long as the individual acts with respect to the rights of others in an ethical manner, what they do and how well they do it should be the litmus test: it is a demonstration of character to be able to control one's sexual inclinations, find partners that are cooperative and should not be coerced into sexual activity, and that this be a consenting activity between adults. Note that in no case are ANY of these involved with the work of Mr. Tolman. He is being judged by Mr. Rogers *solely* on his sexual orientation which Mr. Tolman preferred to not make a major part of his life. It could be known but HE did not put emphasis upon it. Mr. Rogers was *not* judging Mr. Tolman by his ABILITY to do his work, but by the fact that the Chairman of that Committee was not open to hiring those individuals that were *not* straight. Thus, Mr. Rogers can *not* be protected by the 'judge by ability' argument: it is an invalid one on its face.

Now, when starting a campaign to 'out' members of Congress and, apparently, staff for the Congress as a whole, Mr. Rogers sees it as perfectly valid that an individual's *choice* on what they do or do not put forth as their sexual orientation is fair game. To him, they have NO right to privacy and must be 'outed' for their 'hypocrisy' of NOT following the Leftist agenda of gay activists. And the cause of the day then was the Federal Marriage Amendment that would prohibit gay and lesbian and, generally, non-straight marriages. And the complaint by the gay activists on this is *not* the wholly valid argument that this is a State's Rights matter: the Federal Government has ZERO role to play in this for the States and *must* abide by the judgment of EACH State in this matter. That is the wholly valid line of attack upon that legislation: it is unconstitutional on its face.

Mr. Rogers then went on with John Aravosis to threaten 'outings' of two other Senators:
In addition to Tolman, Rogers and Aravosis, working in tandem but not together, claimed in the last week to have outed via the Web Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Republican Congressman Mark Foley of Florida.
Now, each of these Senators as they are NOT making their sexual orientation a matter of public record are accorded the respect of having a *private* life. So long as they do nothing illegal and nothing that puts themselves or the Nation at peril in their pursuit of a private sexual life, there is NO reason to 'out' these individuals. And here is how Mr. Aravosis saw this:
Aravosis continued to defend the outing campaign.

“An acquaintance of mine, a Southern Republican, worked for a member who was not anti-gay personally, but he signed on to the amendment [banning gay marriage],” Aravosis said. “My friend quit. I’m basically saying, ‘You know what, you have a choice. It’s 2004. You can work for pro-gay Democrats, and now you can work for pro-gay Republicans.’”
Ah, so when one becomes gay they support all things that are the Leftist agenda, such as gay marriage? An individual does *not* get freedom of choice to decide what their private and public lives have in a way of concordance? An individual may not say: 'In my private life I have a sexual orientation that is gay, but I respect the institution of marriage for straight individuals and see no need to support it for gay individuals'. According to Mr. Rogers this is exactly the case, and that sexual orientation *must* decide political outlook! And this is directly from Mr. Rogers, himself in a recent posting at his site:
I am very concerned what these CLOSETED high level staffers have done. This site first reported on the danger Kirk Fordham was to gays OVER TWO YEARS AGO. Before anyone gets out the violins for poor Kirk, remember he was the money chief for US Senator Mel Martinez's campaign. You know Mel, he's the one who equaled marriage equality with living under "totalitarian rule in Cuba."

It's not that Kirk is gay that got him in trouble. It's that he was hiding in a closet and facilitating Mark Foley's actions.
Note that all html is stripped on this so that the words may speak for themselves and I will not use my usual styling techniques on it, so it will be in plain black and white. Here the criticism is that Mr. Fordham worked as a financial manager for a Senator that did not follow the gay agenda. And also note that Mr. Rogers is using Senator Martinez's words and putting them in context that Mr. Fordham has not put them into. Mr. Fordham, perhaps, does not view his sexual orientation as a deciding factor on who he will support by working for them. He may consider it such a *minor* consideration that it is not worth actually considering in his political life. And by Mr. Roger's using the Cuba snippet, he is, in point of fact, putting forth a viewpoint that is common in totalitarian regimes: one MUST follow the 'official' line and not deviate from it. Not according Mr. Fordham the right to weigh things with his own reasoning and conscience and then indicating that the final choice is hypocritical tells me much about Mr. Fordham. And the vituperation *against* Mr. Fordham by Mr. Rogers also tells me of the fascistic outlook he is bringing to his campaign which is to *stifle* freedom of thought, freedom of decisions and respect for personal privacy.

Now, Mr. Rogers then links to a piece in another post by Palm Beach Post (07 OCT 2006), and I will not dignify his view that as a party switcher there is blame in *both* parties for this, but will look at what Mr. Foley had to say on the gay marriage concept:
During his dozen years in Congress, Foley championed gay rights, with one notable exception.

In 1996, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defined marriage as between two people of opposite sex and that said states did not have to recognize gay marriages from other states.

The gay community was outraged, and many within the community called for Foley to be outed in the media.

"Most of the anger from gay people who know Mark came when he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act," said Eric Johnson, the openly gay chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach. "They said, 'You're a huge hypocrite.' "

Foley defended his vote as one for states' rights, not against gays.

Former Foley staffers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Roman Catholic-raised Foley believed marriage was a religious institution involving a man and a woman.

"In Mark's mind, the way it was explained was marriage is a religious institution more than it was a legal definition," one former staffer said. "He never wanted to meddle in religious institutions."

Foley also believed marriage laws were a state responsibility and that federal legislation should not supersede the right of states to determine which marriages they would recognize, the aides said.

"You tell me if Bill Clinton is anti-gay. If he is, how could he sign it?" a former Foley aide said, referring to the Defense of Marriage Act. Clinton signed the measure into law in September 1996.
What? Mr. Foley sees marriage as a *religious* institution and something the States should be deciding? You mean that he did not kowtow to the Leftist gay agenda on this and found that it was something that would interfere with the operation of the separation of powers between the States and the Federal Government and that it was *also* stepping on the toes of religious institutions to mandate what they can and cannot do with regards to marriage? And this is 'hypocrisy'? Mr. Foley may have done things of questionable *ethics* and abuse of his position, but the actual *legality* of these things has yet to proven or disproven.

Now the Washington Post puts forth a Democratic staffer who *is* gay and who *opposes* the Federalized recognition of same sex marriages:
Victor Castillo, a Democrat, has worked on the Hill for 11 years, first for a congressman from San Diego and now as a senior legislative assistant for Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.). Castillo is on the executive committee of the Lesbian and Gay Congressional Staff Association. He opposes both the marriage amendment and Rogers's campaign. "What purpose does it serve? It's misdirected. If anything, his campaign pushes people further into the closet."
What about HIM Mr. Rogers? He is *not* following your line, openly opposes the FMA and is 'out'? Isn't that hypocrisy of the rankest sort, according to your standard? Where is the moral clarity in 'outing' someone who opposes the Leftist gay agenda for same sex marriage who is not 'out' and THEN giving a *free pass* to someone who is already 'out' and OPPOSES it? If you go after THOSE individuals with as much vigor and vituperation as those that do not make a case one way or another about their sexual proclivities, and just wish to have a *private* life, then you might be on to something. Also expect that if you do *that* you will start being attacked vigorously by those you are moving against as they are already 'out' and have made up their minds in a way you do not like.

And as for these individuals being 'high visibility' and 'in the limelight', this is true of Senators and Representatives, but is so very ever rarely true of Congressional staff, both personal and those serving the Republic, that I am hard pressed to NAME one that has EVER caught my attention on *anything*. Most appear to be going about their jobs and getting satisfaction in their own way for their lives, and leading them as best as possible. You are apparently unaware of such things, Mr. Rogers: people leading private lives and still being able to think and balance their own needs. You wish to take that away from those you target.

It is hypocritical to point to the wonders of your position and then have to invade the private lives of individuals who make no real large concern about their sexual orientation and then lambaste them for their decision NOT to think and act like you want them to. There is a hard and fast description for treating others based on their activities not conforming to your expectations and then harshly demeaning and criticizing them in an attempt to discredit them and push your agenda forward: Authoritarian.

It is also Elitist to think that just because *you* think the private IS the political that EVERYONE should think so.

If someone does something *illegal* I want them *punished* for the crime itself. That is holding someone accountable for harm done to others via ACTIONS. That is what *counts* in the Republic.

I am bothered by the individuals in Congress not following the rules on Ethics to which they hold themselves accountable to. I, however, do NOT stop at the gay question but want ALL unethical activities brought forth for examination as I truly do believe that such is not only a disservice to Congress but to the Republic. Unlike you this agenda looks at ALL unethical behavior without regard to sexual orientation, gender, race, creed, religion, or carbonated beverage of choice. I find trying to single out any one section or small group for such scrutiny to be not only reprehensible, but to be anti-democratic and against the greater needs of the Republic for honest government. By singling out a small sub-section the entire Union is divided *further* and this in a time when it is already so heavily divided that we are nearing a chasm of total disorder because of such polarizing divisions.

I look for common ground so that the Union may become stronger in joining disparate parts of it together so that polarization may *end* and we give leeway to individuals to lead lives on their own. Those who point out problems and then seek to enforce a singular political worldview on individuals is doing the exact opposite of Building the Republic. They have decided to not follow their responsibilities that are laid out for them in that first sentence of the Constitution which tells you the FIRST things you need to address in life as a Citizen of the Republic. Somehow sexual orientation that is practiced privately, not made public and reconciled by individual's own conscience with their public stands are pretty damn far down the list of things the Republic needs to worry about. In point of fact it is up to the STATES to worry about it as it is NOT a Federal matter. And trying to make it a Federal issue on "either side" of this issue is something that also gains a name by that activity: Grandstanding.

I would not like to be in Mr. Roger's neighborhood of Authoritarian Elitist Grandstanders.

It sounds like an empty place devoid of light and life.

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