What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence,
Something there is that doesn't love a wall...
Robert Frost, "Mending Wall"
Dare we speak of ex-Congressman Mark Foley. Borrowing from a piece in this morning's Rocky Mountain News, by Vince Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, let me go on here for a bit.
Mr. Carroll provides (condensing his piece):
October 1: Foley declares, "I strongly believe that I'm an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems." He emphasizes, however, the he takes full responsibility for the sexually charged messages he sent to underage congressional pages.David and I will celebrate our twenty-fourth anniversary this November. And, as I look back over the years we've been together, I acknowledge that I've never been one to celebrate or expose or--as Good Christians often observe--flaunt my sexuality, my relationship with my partner, my friend, my love: David. Indeed--during my professional career--my private life, my castle, my heaven was not something I generally shared with my professional colleagues. My life away from the workplace was my refuge; an emotional, temporal and spiritual comfortable corner where life evolved as an ever expanding phantasmagoria of the possibilities of commitment, sharing, learning, growing, loving.
October 3: Foley's attorney announces that Foley was sexually abused by a clergyman as a teenager...but offers no excuse for his reprehensible conduct.
Carroll goes on to suggest possible future "excuses" from Foley for his disgusting behavior, with each "excuse" being qualified with a codicil that he takes full respresponsibility for his actions, that he makes no excuses, blah, blah, blah....
I've never sought an excuse for who I am.
If I were to recount the ups and downs, the joys and grief, the toil and trouble of these past twenty-four years, the litany would be as familiar and typical as that of Ward and June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver). Well, maybe not that familiar and typical.
We pay our taxes, we've owned two homes, we mow the lawn once a week, we shovel the walk, we wash the car, we shop for groceries, we help our neighbors, we bemoan the state of the world, we raise children (the four-legged variety), we care about our city, our parks, our neighborhood. We're happy. We're content with the lives we've made for ourselves.
With Mark Foley, the dark and dangerous consequences of closets is exposed; and, indeed, the message resounds: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall."