And another one bites the dust.
While ultra-conservative and ultra-slimy U.S. Senate Republican candidate from Alabama Roy Moore fights against the outcry from both liberals and conservatives and Democrats and many Republicans over accusations that seem to come out daily from women of his sexual harassment and proclivity to chase under-age girls, liberal Democratic senator and former comedian Al Franken of Minnesota has now not only been accused of sexual harassment but has apologized for it.
Since sexual harassment seems to cross political and ideological lines (it’s an equal opportunity bad behavior) it now seems hard to make political hay over it.
And that may be just as well because the behavior needs to be exposed (pardon the expression) irrespective of politics and needs to end.
After a New York Times story in October got the ball rolling, charges of sexual harassment have hit the entertainment industry, along with the news media, the art world, comedy, and politics. There is a whole movement of women gaining courage to come forward called #Me Too.
As sleazy as Moore is (I mean that is his reputation), he has a point, saying that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is hypocritical if he does not call on Franken to resign, because he has called on Moore to drop out of the race.
Now I am not sure whether I personally think either one of them should drop out. I mean this thing could get out of hand if every time someone or more than one makes an allegation — I mean people should have a right to defend themselves.
On the other hand, this is politics, this is public perception, this all goes to the integrity and trust (such as it is) of the political system.
This is not a criminal case against a private citizen where the defendant is supposed to have the protection of being considered (for legal purposes) innocent until and unless proven guilty (beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases and with a preponderance of evidence in civil cases).
But with a Republican candidate facing sexual misconduct charges and with the Democrats’ wish to regain the upper house majority (not to mention that of the lower house) is was looking good for them. But now some Democrats who continued to support Bill Clinton after his sexual shenanigans are having second thoughts.
A least one female senator who has had close ties to the Clintons suggested maybe he should have resigned the presidency over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
My own personal opinion at that time when the news of the, shall we say DNA-stained, blue dress came out was that Clinton should have resigned. Not because of his politics but because of what he was doing to the office of the presidency — who could have dreamt someone as crude and rude as Donald Trump would come along and win the presidency?
If Commander-in-Chief Clinton had resigned that would have put sexual predator enabler-in-chief Hillary out of commission for politics and for a disastrous run for the presidency, the result of which was we got someone who bragged on tape of being a sexual predator (whether it was locker room talk or not).
Kind of far-fetched thinking I know — but Hillary stuck with Bill through all of his “bimbo eruptions” as I think even she called them while he was in Arkansas politics and then stood beside her man on national TV to defend him against sexual misconduct in his run for the presidency.
But again, we do have to be careful about making hasty judgments in the face of allegations. Old man and former president H.W. Bush is facing more than one allegation of groping young women while bound to a wheelchair. I mean we have to admire his spirit but not his purported unseemly conduct. Of course he is not running for anything but I would hate to see his reputation ruined unfairly. And I would not want to face Barbara if I were him — makes me shudder.
But as problematic as all this is, it is a win for decent behavior. Maybe this all will pressure those who do or might consider engaging in disgusting behavior change their ways and for our society to change its permissive attitude toward ill-treatment of women.
It seems the pattern of powerful men preying upon women has been for the most part at least tacitly accepted through the decades in the U.S.
A woman whom I respected once told me: “powerful men do this”.
And what a burn this is: it has now been revealed that congress has been using your dollars to pay off some who have filed sexual harassment claims. There is a movement to change the law so that individuals have to pay for their own defense or settlement.
Also, for clarity about sexual harassment in general, I state the obvious: the victims can be male and the perpetrators can be female in any kind of combination.