Foley, Sex, Scandal, Pages, Morals & Leave it to Beaver

The Mark Foley sex scandal wearies me. How come I hear non-stop blather about this one sex scandal, yet in a week’s time we had THREE school shooting incidents, and I barely hear a word about them other than to see scores of photos of mourning Amish people who do not even want their photos taken? What about gun control and homeland security from our own crazed fellow citizens?

In the political arena, the Rebulicans have fashioned themselves as the party of family values. In the advertising world that is known as a marketing tool, one that has worked successfully for years.

The dream of the traditional family has been the draw for many white men who have enrolled in ex-gay programs (which mostly consists of white male leaders and participants).

Growing up in NY during the Reagan years as a gay kid in a working class Italian-American Catholic family, I would see an image of the perfect family (like the picture I photographed today while rummaging a junk store with my dad), and feel the lure of a better life–pure, wholesome, moral, American. That was the promise of the return to family values.

In his newspaper column today, Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald considers political parties and morals. Pitts writes,

For all its policy implications, though, ”family values” has always had a larger meaning. It was an implicit promise to white, non-ethnic, rural or suburban-dwelling, church-going Christian moms and dads that the party would — pun intended — always do the right thing.

It was an assurance to Ward and June Cleaver that GOP was the brand name of a certain fundamental decency. Unless, it turns out, Ward and June were foolish enough to let Wally and the Beav sign up as congressional pages. In that case, kiss decency goodbye.

Pitts crafts a thoughtful piece and raises questions that need to be answered. Reading it I realize once again that the battle cry to protect the family (from gay marriage, abortion, illegal immigrants, universal health care, etc) draws on the fears of a white middle class (and those who identify with it) while ignorning the fundamental needs of all citizens.

Other people writing about Foley and the Religious Right:
Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin
Steven Benen at Carpetbagger Report
sgo at Liberal Avenger

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Willie Hewes on October 9, 2006 at 11:44 am

    That picture is something special. I’d have bought it just for horror value. O.o

    I could easily write an essay about the American family ideal just based on that picture. Dad, the tallest, chin proudly raised, eyes firmly fixed on the Word Of God (as is Junior’s), mom momentarily distracted to dote over the cute ball of pink nestled into Dad’s protective arm, the chubby little rozy cheeks! Aaaagh! Somebody give me a pencil so I can horribly lampoon this picture!

    Do you get those a lot?

    On the whole ‘alternative lifestyle’ thing; so Trish is married to Trevor, they have two children and own a business together and they love each other. Yeah, that’s dead alternative, that is. Tch. Amateurs. 😉

  2. Peterson Toscano on October 9, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    Willie, what also fascinates me about the picture is the little girl in the row behind the family. What does she represent? Where is her family? What is she looking at?

    I want to stage this picture with real life actors and see what stories emerge. So much material!

  3. Willie Hewes on October 10, 2006 at 7:16 am

    Yeah, good point, what’s up with the girl scout? Is she there just so that they don’t look like they’re the only people in church? That doesn’t seem likely, she must be there for a reason.

    But what?

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