The Honorable Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Personal Integrity

Former Republican U. S. Representative Mark Foley

U. S. Congressman Mark Foley Abruptly Resigned in Disgrace

As reported by National Public Radio: United States Rep. Mark Foley has resigned, effective immediately, in the face of questions about e-mails he wrote to a former male page. Before news of the e-mails surfaced, the Florida Republican had been predicted as an easy winner over Democrat Tim Mahoney. But now Foley’s run of six terms has ended amid questions from the media and his challenger about why the congressman, 52, wrote several e-mails to the former page, who was 16 at the time of the unusually personal exchange earlier this year. Coming 39 days before the election, Foley’s resignation took the shape of just two sentences, in which he announced his decision and apologized to his constituents for “letting down my family and the people of Florida.”

Questions about Foley’s sexuality are not new; when he considered running for the Senate in 2004, it became an issue. But Foley, who is single, cited his right to privacy. In Congress, Foley has been known as a reliable Republican vote — conservative but not dogmatic. He represented the wealthy South Central Florida district that includes Palm Beach. In a region bedeviled by hurricanes, Foley was instrumental in getting money for the district. He was also the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus.

Honorable Quote of the Day: A Dignified Response from Andrew Sullivan

Today, Andrew Sullivan published this note on The Daily Dish, his blog written for Time Magazine:

“For almost my entire adult life, I’ve been openly gay. Why? It was too humiliating and psychologically destructive to lie. I don’t think of this as a virtue, really. In some ways, I think it was my pride that forced me to be honest with myself and others; and a deep sense that obviously this was how God made me, and it behooved me to deal with it forthrightly. It was alo fueled by a conviction, as the 1980s darkened for so many gay men, that I had an actual responsibility to be out, and to advance the dignity of so many fighting literally for their lives. It was like being black in the 1950s. My own HIV diagnosis convinced me to fight harder, because I truly believed it might not be for much longer. And in those years and beyond, others chose to sit it out, to run for cover, even to distance themselves from who they were and from their fellows who so desperately needed their help.

Maybe we should feel anger at these people. I don’t. I feel sadness. Sadness at the compromises they made and the misery they fueled for themselves. In so far as someone like Jim McGreevey has, for whatever reason, overcome his shame, then I have no interest in judging him. I feel glad he has found some happiness at last, despite his past corruption, human flaws and past opposition to marriage equality. We are all human, and my own life has its own share of emotional and sexual mistakes. Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. But I have learned you cannot judge someone’s soul from outside. That I leave to them and their God, and some I count as good friends and good people.

What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I’ve read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty. While gays were fighting for thir basic equality, Foley voted for the “Defense of Marriage Act”. If his resignation means the end of the closet for him, and if there is no more to this than we now know, then it may even be for the good. Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.”–Andrew Sullivan, Author.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Resounding Speech Against Torture


An Extract from Senator Clinton’s Speech on September 28th to the U. S. Senate against President Bush’s Pro-Torture Legislation :

“The light of our ideals shone dimly in those early dark days [of the Revolutionary War], years from an end to the conflict, years before our improbable triumph and the birth of our democracy. General Washington wasn’t that far from where the Continental Congress had met and signed the Declaration of Independence. But it’s easy to imagine how far that must have seemed. General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners:

“Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.”

Therefore, George Washington, our commander-in-chief before he was our President, laid down the indelible marker of our nation’s values even as we were struggling as a nation – and his courageous act reminds us that America was born out of faith in certain basic principles. In fact, it is these principles that made and still make our country exceptional and allow us to serve as an example. We are not bound together as a nation by bloodlines. We are not bound by ancient history; our nation is a new nation. Above all, we are bound by our values. George Washington understood that how you treat enemy combatants could reverberate around the world. We must convict and punish the guilty in a way that reinforces their guilt before the world and does not undermine our constitutional values.

Now these values – George Washington’s values, the values of our founding – are at stake. We are debating far-reaching legislation that would fundamentally alter our nation’s conduct in the world and the rights of Americans here at home. And we are debating it too hastily in a debate too steeped in electoral politics.

The Senate, under the authority of the Republican Majority and with the blessing and encouragement of the Bush-Cheney Administration, is doing a great disservice to our history, our principles, our citizens, and our soldiers. The deliberative process is being broken under the pressure of partisanship and the policy that results is a travesty” – United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Andrew Sullivan responded to her speech with uncharacteristic enthusiasm: “Readers know my long-standing suspicion of all things Hillary. But her speech today is a speech that rings with the sound of an opposition finally -finally – finding its voice. It is a speech a future president might make. Maybe it just was.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Speech to the Senate

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