US House Speaker Dennis Hastert will not resign his post amid the uproar over the former U.S. Representative Mark Foley scandal, despite pressure from Republicans who say he didn’t do enough to protect teenage congressional pages. Hastert instead has blamed Democrats for leaking sexually explicit instant messages sent by Foley to former pages. 

Not only are the Republicans blaming the Democrats somehow, it seems some want to punish the 16-year-old victim and other future pages.   Congressman Ray LaHood would like to see the page system tossed because there are lawmakers “taking advantage” of the teens.  It is not the page system that is at fault, it is the legislators using the services of those pages that need to be addressed.  If these adults do not know how to work in a professional manner, they do not deserve to be representing us.

It has also been claimed that Hastert knew about the e-mails and the scandal they were brewing last fall and did nothing to stop it. According to several sources, Foley’s actions were known as far back as 1995 and had been investigated by fellow Republicans. It was discovered nothing physical ever happened between Foley and the page in question and therefore there was no need for further action.

Predators of children do not need to act in a physical way to cause damage.  The fact that he was sending sexually explicit e-mails to a minor should have been enough to get him fired.  His peers may have thought that there was “no need for further action,” but the voters he represented would probably really have liked to know.  And the voters his peers represent may be interested in knowing who of them thought these activities were acceptable enough to not do anything about it.

Some of those in positions of power are using it irresponsibly to cover up the illegal actions of their peers. They need to be taught that they are not elected to these positions to help themselves, they are there to protect and work for the public. It is not their job to shield us from the truth but to expose it so that we can make informed decisions about the people representing us.

Furthermore, the page system should not be eradicated, but it should be re-evaluated and possibly restructured. The truth is that the youth in this country need every opportunity possible to become involved in politics.  Almost two-thirds of young Americans are detached completely from political and civic life. Few participate in determining the country’s future because only 25% regularly vote.  Eliminating this program would give even fewer kids the chance to become interested in the world around them. Blaming the teenagers in this case would not only complicate the program, but cause an even more disastrous scandal because the perpetrators of these crimes were adults who should have known better.

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