Busted Halo
feature : word on ths street
October 25th, 2006
Word on the Street : Public vs Private

In recent weeks, Congressman Mark Foley was forced to resign after reports surfaced about sexually explicit messages he sent to under-age Capitol Hill pages over the internet. How do you feel about the Congressman’s actions and should a person’s public self and private self match up? Do you feel that your own public self is integrated with your private self?

Borys, 21
"He is fake. It shows he was acting in congress more for his career and not to help society or to help children and minors. It happens very often with statesmen. They only care about their career. At the very least, you shouldn't be fake…I think, honestly, sometimes I'm fake too when I'm trying to get ahead in my career. I think that is a problem of every human being. It's really hard to be honest."
Yerain, 16
"I really don't think there is anyone who has their public and private selves match up. I'm an example. My public life with the guys and my private life with my mom would be a lot different. I think the whole Foley thing is blown out of proportion. Sure, he sent some internet messages but, as messed up as it sounds, that's his private life. No one really needs to know that for him to be good at what he does."
Hamza, 20
"I think he should have first corrected himself and then ran for office. Everybody has their own private and public self but, being in a responsible position, you cannot afford to do stuff like this. I think he should be more responsible. He was telling other people not to do some things that he was doing himself. At some point or another you get caught showing a dual image of yourself…I'm a pretty reserved person. I don't think my public and private self are exactly the same but my opinions are affected by my actions and what I do in my private life. I mean, I smoke. So I don't tell other people not to smoke."
Junior, 21
"I think we have the right to a private life. Secondly, I don't even know if these reports [about Congressman Foley] are true. I think you have the right to your privacy but, if you are not doing the right thing, other people also have the right to know what you are doing. I don't think my public life matches up to my private life. I have my private life and there is nothing that I have to worry about or other people have to worry about. I'm just like a normal person."
Dave, 33
"I think, in this case, he was the leader of a committee regarding missing and exploited children and here he was exploiting children and was in fact committing a crime. However, I think that something like President Clinton's affair is something that I had less concern with. I think that [Congressman Foley] violating the law makes it a different issue than just public and private life being different…Right now I don't have that much of a public life where it really matters. In the past, I have worked with children in the social services industry. But I am also someone who enjoys going out to a bar and drinking till the wee hours. I wouldn't want to run into someone that I serve as a client in that situation because I think there are expectations of people that you know in one context and you need to maintain that consistency. But I don't feel any worse about myself for being able to present two sides and having multiple aspects to my personality."
Fran, 17
"If that is the case with the congressman, that is important to know. So long as it doesn't interfere with work, I guess a difference between your public and private self is O.K. But if you are going to portray yourself as someone who cares about the community and yet you are sending these messages to minors, I think that's where you can draw the line. If you are going to be in a position [like Foley's], you have to integrate your public and private life because people are looking up to you as a role model. But in other jobs, it's not as important. I think my personal and public life match up. I'm a student so there's really not much of a difference."
Evan, 21
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous what happened. He was a proponent of a bill to move against internet sex offenders and he is one. He is a total hypocrite, trying to overcompensate for his own problems…I come from a suburban community and it's very conservative and preppy. I am very much the antithesis of that but I think that in daily life I project myself to be a reflection of where I come from. That's more just to fit in."
Carlton, 22
"I think it is something that we will never figure out. Of course my private life doesn't match up with my public life. I think most people's lives don't. I mean you have to put on a face. Most young people my age, we go party. But when you come to work, you have to put on the professional face. Not that there is anything wrong with going out to a bar but you don't want to come to work drinking. There's a certain image that has to be held up but, at the same time, you have to keep it separate. I think that is where the problem comes in with politics. A lot of political candidates don't know how to keep it separate."

Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
powered by the Paulists