Kind of hard to criticize sexual misconduct when you are part of the problem…

November 17, 2017

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”.

They shouldn’t.

p.s.

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.

 

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Rancho Tehama shooting spree could have been worse if not for school, citizen, cop heroes but do we just throw up our hands about gun violence?

November 15, 2017

UPDATE (11-16-17): The latest official count is 14 wounded and six dead, including the gunman.


 

The Rancho Tehama shooting spree this week could have been far worse if it were not for the quick action by school authorities at a country elementary school who at the first sign of trouble got the children to take cover and bar the school doors to prevent a mad gunman from entering.

Also there was a report of one woman who was shot at along the road who raced back to the school and warned the people what was coming, and of a man who actually distracted the shooter while he was firing at the school building by asking “why don’t you shoot at me” — and he was injured by a flying bullet in the process.

And local law enforcement officers reportedly confronted the shooter on the roadway about a half hour or less after the first report of trouble and shot the gunman dead — thus bringing the violent episode to a close.

Initially the count for the shooting rampage was four people dead plus the gunman in the rampage that took place Tuesday morning (11-14-17) but by Wednesday another body was discovered, the shooter’s wife.

What troubled me and still troubles me about the incident is that some people seem so concerned about bad publicity for gun lovers and take the position that as bad as these mass shooting sprees are nothing can be done.

It was reported on Wednesday (I write this the evening of) that the shooter actually manufactured some of his own weapons. He was under a court order not to have any weapons due to his ongoing trouble with the law.

A report I read this evening said that he had a confrontation last January where he held some neighbors captive and stabbed one of them, was arrested, but immediately bailed out of jail.

I mean there’s got to be more to the story or what kind of law does Tehama County have? You basically try to murder someone and you just bail out of jail?

There’s more: the shooter had a history of mental illness. But of course he had guns.

But the right-wing dependable anti-gun control people jump on this and say, see? Making laws does not prevent anything. One, the guy just makes his own guns. Two, bad guys don’t follow laws — gun laws just deprive law abiding citizens of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms (Second Amendment).

I see all that. But do you just throw up your hands and say, oh well?

I have thought myself and heard the opinion of at least one commentator that until it hits home, until one of your own is a victim or even you, it is human nature to be complacent.

Have to admit, I don’t have a ready answer but I don’t feel comfortable in an environment where there are so many weapons floating around and where apparently a significant portion of the populace feels maybe the answer is just for everyone to arm themselves (even though I think most people are not going to do that).

Pretty hard to be at the ready 24/7. And I think the most likely scenario is for the bad guy to get the jump on you and worse yet for a youngster or toddler to get a hold of a deadly weapon.

Gun enthusiasts might do well to push for legislation to limit the free flow of weapons and the production and trade of essentially man-killing weapons (as opposed to hunting or sport accessories) on the open civilian market.

That won’t stop all mad gunmen but it seems prudent to me.

I do see the appeal to people of knowing one has a right to fight fire with fire if need be. But somehow I think we have done something to create a culture of violence without even realizing what we were doing.

I grew up watching those old western shoot’em-ups on TV. Good versus evil (usually). But they were exaggerated, and do we really want to live that way?

WHAT FOLLOWS IS MOST OF MY ORIGINAL POST ON THE RANCHO TEHAMA INCIDENT:

So here an almost mass shooting — four dead (now five), plus the gunman, at least 10 injured — in which a school full of children was threatened and some local or locals in the heart of rural gun country are quoted as saying something to the effect that they hope this does not become a “gun violence thing” (I guess the tone of coverage in the news) and that it is not even about mental health, just something that “happens”.

This took place Tuesday morning. (I used the term “almost mass shooting” because I imagine not everyone agrees on what constitutes a “mass shooting” and some of the recent incidents have been far worse.)

Someone who heard the gun shots was quoted as saying it did not seem out of place because people shoot guns around the area all the time.

So this something that “just happens” happened a little too close to home for me. It happened in a place called Rancho Tehama, a rural settlement of sorts in Tehama County in the Northern Sacramento Valley of California. I live not so far to the north, and many years ago now I worked for a newspaper and that was part of my news beat.

Some guy who had of trouble with the law — ongoing cases against him — somehow is able to have guns nonetheless, including — of course, a semi-automatic rifle, and handgun or guns. Gets in some kind of beef with neighbors and then goes wild going down the road shooting at people, crashes through a gate at a school and fires into the school, hitting at least one child and already or later another child riding with his mother to school is hit and so on. Authorities at last report said there might be more fatalities.

I don’t share the point of view of these people who seem to worry about that it does not turn into some kind of “gun violence thing”. It is a gun violence thing. One local was quoted as saying “everyone has guns out here”.

So what about that argument “if everyone had a gun this would not happen?”

p.s.

I am not anti individual gun ownership per se. But clearly the problem is too many guns and maybe too many hot heads and wackos and just plain criminals, and there is a direct threat to public safety. And you are telling me that all we can do is strap on our own guns and shoot it out? And if children get shot up in the process — “these things happen”?


A little bit of political correctness can be good…

November 12, 2017

Years ago I heard a comedian open with something like this: “You know drunk driving is just not as popular as it once was”. And then he proceeded to tell his drunk driving jokes. Even though he got laughs — I may have even thought some of the jokes were at least amusing — drunk driving is no laughing matter. But this is not about drunk driving.

I wonder if any comedian will open with a line like this:

“You know, sexual harassment is just not as popular as it once was”. And that’s not funny either.

I imagine about now some people might be thinking that this crusade against sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of political correctness — I mean while no decent person would condone or heaven forbid engage in outright or for that matter any form of actual sexual harassment, a co-worker or a boss might utter some compliment or observation that could be construed as such. “Wow you look good in that dress”. As in what is the implication there? A man sees the woman as a sex object? It is important for a woman in the work place to “look good” (more so than a man?). And for what purpose?

Actions speak louder than words, so if the recipient has not experienced any real harassment or not heard of any in the particular place then such a comment would seem harmless. But with the new emphasis on fighting sexual harassment those kind of comments may go by the wayside.

And then there is flirting. Flirting can be harmless (but I suppose often is not). It is human nature (men and women engage in it, often I think for entertainment, for lack of a better word right now). But with #Me Too probably a no-no now.

I wonder if women dressing sexy in the office is out or on its way out? Probably not because the thinking is women should not be blamed for unwanted or inappropriate attention simply for expressing their sexuality.

And I am not trying to be sarcastic here. I’m just saying.

Before someone reading this begins thinking I miss the pre-sexual harassment-is-ok days, I want to make it clear that I in no way condone such behavior.

As it happens, in my four decades plus in the workplace I don’t recall witnessing any sexual harassment, although I have certainly heard of it.

Once when I was a courthouse newspaper reporter I heard tales of wild parties when the county clerk (a man) took his all-female staff on business trips out of town. I took the term “wild parties” to mean that sexual antics were involved. Now if women voluntarily involve themselves in the sexual behavior then that might not seem to be harassment. But then I guess the thinking might be that they felt obligated to do so to keep their jobs or to keep in good favor with the boss. And the women who might have demurred might feel they were put at a disadvantage.

But like I say, I have no recollection of seeing any of this in the workplace, even though I know it exists — we all do.

What I have witnessed is racism, in the workplace and in society in general. Even in this I have not directly witnessed or experienced discrimination but I have heard disparaging remarks or stupid jokes (even if we all do catch ourselves laughing at them at times) about race. But this too is not as popular as it once was. And that is due to so-called political correctness.

These days you can lose your job if you get caught uttering racial slurs or put downs. Extreme yes, but probably a good thing, free speech concerns aside.

I heard a tale about a group of my fellow white truck drivers sitting next to a table of a black couple in a restaurant on Martin Luther King Day. These guys were supposedly making racist jokes and disparaging racial comments and loud enough for others to hear. Someone called the cops. The drivers ended up facing a court date. Apparently the state of Oregon (where they were at the time) has strict laws against such conduct. For some reason they never had to appear. But I imagine after that they were a lot more careful. So in the name of political correctness they may have changed their behavior for the better.

A little bit of political correctness can be good, too much, not so good.


Let’s honor combat veterans as opposed to guys like me who just served (I mean we are still proud of it though) …

November 11, 2017

So this is Veterans Day. Some people had Friday off and I guess some get Monday off. And some people do not get time off. But anyway the whole idea is to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of our military veterans. Now to be sure, for the most part people just take a day or days off to relax from the rigors of the work world and to have fun. Some people go to Veterans Day parades of ceremonies and actually do pay tribute to veterans.

But who are veterans? I think most people think of those who actually served in combat. I do. But technically the term refers to all who served in the military. And, technically I am a veteran but I do not see myself as a veteran. I served three years in the army. I not only served three years but I served it during the height of the Vietnam War, 1968 to 1971. And I was in one of three branches of the army called “combat arms”, armor. I was a crewman on a tank. But I WAS NOT in combat. I served in what was then called West Germany. I have mentioned that in my blog posts many times before (so my apologies to any regular readers). I’m not trying to brag about my military service, but I am proud that I and my brothers served our country — and in fact one brother is a Vietnam veteran (he seldom mentions it — he just answered the call after being drafted), and my other brother is a 20-year veteran of the Navy.

Now that I got that out of the way, I just want to say for my part although I am not attending any parades or ceremonies today I nonetheless want to give my thanks to all combat veterans and that would include anyone who served in country in a war zone, whether it be in the capacity of a clerk typist or an infantryman or a tank crewman or an artilleryman, a medic, a nurse, or doctor and so on. And this is irrespective of our nation’s war policies. As a service member you don’t get to decide where and when to fight. That is partly the fault of the rest of us.

And yes, I appreciate the service of all, even those like myself who served in uniform but were spared the bullets.

And then there are civilians too who served in combat zones, so thanks to them as well.

But I honor most those who faced the most. And I will always support providing those who survived whatever we can in the way of services and help, within reason of course.

So anyone who wants my vote for national office should be able to show that he or she has a strong record or platform when it comes to veterans’ services.

I have no respect for chicken hawks — those who talk war but avoided it when they had their chance to serve — and you know who you are.

Now some might argue, well in the case of Vietnam that was not a good cause. Well the problem was that the government directed by its popularly-elected representatives chose to fight the war and then called up thousands via the military draft and they were legally obligated to answer that call. Most did not have the opportunity to be choosy about it all — this is  a good war or this is a bad war.

Now if you defied the draft and served prison time or fled to Canada and then were perhaps given amnesty during the Carter administration I would have more respect. You paid a price. But please draft dodgers refrain from talking war now. You are just not credible.

Are you listening Mr. Trump?

p.s.

From the reports I see, being in the military now is perhaps more risky than ever before in that we have so many hot spots, primarily in the Middle East, at present, and our new all-volunteer troops are subjected to multiple deployments in combat zones. And the nature of war has changed drastically in that there are no battle lines. You are in effect always in the battle zone.


No, guns do kill people, but is the designation ‘assault weapon’ vague?”…

November 8, 2017

UPDATE  (11-10-17) :

It’s been several days since I posted this, so I wanted to update it. I don’t know the facts for sure but I heard and read reports that the good citizen who fired on the Texas church shooter, the citizen identified as Stephen Willeford, used the same type of assault rifle as the killer, an AR-15 I believe. I gleaned this out of one report:

He armed himself with an AR assault rifle and engaged the suspect. They engaged in gunfire here at the church. We know that the suspect was shot, when he dropped his assault rifle and jumped in his Ford Expedition and fled the scene.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453470/texas-hero-reportedly-used-his-own-ar-confront-sutherland-springs-shooter

Again, I am not sure of the facts here. But the point being stressed by some gun fans is that the designation “assault weapons” is rather vague. One person I heard on radio said “there is no such thing”. I had heretofore not given that much consideration. But I would just say any weapon along with corresponding add-ons, such as high-capacity ammunition magazines and bump stocks and other devices, that combine to make them primarily useful for killing large numbers of people is pretty much an assault weapon. Maybe I need to do more research on the subject but nevertheless I stick to basically what I have written below.



That old misleading slogan of the gun fans is that “guns don’t kill people, people do.”

But people kill other people with guns, so what is the point?

In a story I just read in the New York Times the author suggested that the inescapable reason we have so much gun violence and so many mass killings in the United States is that we have more guns per capita than anyone else.

Other factors, such as mental health, just don’t explain it.

In addition, I would suggest that the resistance to gun control offered by the Second Amendment to the Constitution certainly must play a role.

Citing statistics can be confusing and misleading. I mean yesterday I was listening to talk show host Tom Sullivan of Fox News on the radio, and he cited statistics that seem to show that the U.S. was not the leading nation in mass shootings — in fact it was rather far down. But today I see stories on the internet that suggest otherwise.

I’m sure it is the result of two things: one, it depends upon how you define  terms, that is to say what constitutes a mass murder? four or more, a dozen? And another factor is some of it could be just fake news.

But can we all agree on something? I mean there have been a lot of mass shootings over the past many months — worldwide, and right here in the U.S. Something bad is going on. Or is it all fake news? The Holocaust never happened and we never landed a man of the moon — it all took place in the New Mexico desert.

I am really beginning to wonder if the Second Amendment written in the 18th Century under far different circumstances is practical in this day and age.

For one thing, the history I have read on it suggests it was meant to deal more with the conflict between a citizens’ army and one controlled by the central government, which some people thought would be like the army of the King of England, than an individual right to have a gun. On the other hand, back in those days, rural people had their own guns to hunt for food and I suppose to protect themselves. And I think it is correct to say that not everyone agreed at that time on the subject of personal gun ownership, so the Second Amendment was somewhat vague in its wording and may have amounted to a compromise. I am not at all sure on that.

But let’s talk about today — the here and now. We have a problem in that both terrorists who are pushing some mad political and radical religious agenda and deranged people trying to strike back at the world or family can easily get their hands of weapons, and high-powered ones more suitable for the army than personal protection or hunting. And they do great harm with them.

One too-well known right-wing observer summed it all up by saying: “that is the price we pay for freedom”.

Well if worrying that someone will shoot up the church service or the mall or the movie theatre or night club or a concert or a school room because they had such easy access to high-powered weaponry is considered freedom, I don’t find that very enticing.

One right-wing talk show host I listen to because both my radio does not pick up much and maybe I just want to make my own blood boil says getting the government more involved in gun control — in other words stricter laws — is never the answer because, he says, government almost never does a good job in anything.

Well, to some extent he may have a point. I mean if you read about the latest mass shooting at a small Texas church, you will read that somehow the shooter was not supposed to be armed with his weapons according to the law but he was and he murdered at least 26 people and wounded 20 or more. While it is legal to have assault weapons in Texas, he had been denied a gun permit but somehow was allowed to purchase weapons, and the Air Force neglected to report that he had a bad conduct discharge.

But to the criticism that government is not the answer I ask what is the role of government then? Is it just to keep track of who owns what and maybe to provide a system to adjudicate disputes among property owners? That is the libertarian point of view.

But I think government obviously has an expanded role beyond that. It has something to do with civilization. Sure we can always argue over the reach of government into our personal lives or how big it should be. But without government we have chaos.

For starters, though, I think the first thing to do is implement laws that do away with allowing private ownership of assault weapons and the civilian trade in them. They are for the armed forces not for criminals or deranged people. Yes, yes, I know, simply making a law or laws does not keep them out of the hands of those who want them for evil purposes but you cannot tell me that if we made them awful hard to get we would not lessen the chances of these terrible mass murders.

Why is it that the right-wing is always in denial, whether it be on climate change or gun violence?

My position is neither right-wing nor left-wing. And that is because both extremes give us the same thing: a loss of freedom and dictatorships — Nazis (right) Communists (left). I am in the wise middle.

 

 

 

 

 


Owning killing machines okay in Texas, but sex in the parking lot not…

November 6, 2017

So it seems that it is perfectly legal for citizens to have military-style assault rifles, designed to kill lots of people rapidly, in Texas. On the other hand you can be arrested for having sex in the Peter Piper Pizza parking lot.

In light of the horrific incident at the First Baptist Church in the tiny rural community of Sutherland Springs, outside of San Antonio, what I just wrote may seem callous or in bad taste –perhaps. But what is worse? open sex in the parking lot insulting public decency or mass killings? Wake up people, this is what we get when we shrug our shoulders to the fact that this situation of having easy access to and a free flow of assault weapons in this nation is turning it into a shooting gallery. I’m not sure but I think we are the only so-called civilized nation on earth that allows this with such liberal (yeah I said liberal) ideas about gun ownership.

Meanwhile, while I was reading about the latest mass shooting I read in an on-line edition of a Texas newspaper that a couple had be arrested in the parking lot of Peter Piper Pizza in Laredo. As I understand it they were in a vehicle but a door may have been open and someone reported to police that a couple was engaged in sex in public view. Laredo can be assured their police are doing what they can to protect the public’s sensibilities.

Back to the important part of this: laws vary between states but as I understand it Texas is pretty wide open on guns.

With an as yet unknown motive (as of my writing), a 26-year old man who reportedly received a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force but was nonetheless issued some type of security permit by Texas authorities, killed as many as 26 people and wounded nearly that many more, spraying bullets with an assault rifle on Sunday.

News on Monday Morning now is that the killer did not have a license to carry weapons in Texas. But as we can see, licensing requirements do not prevent some deranged person from acting. And I realize simply banning weapons or certain types of weapons in and of itself would not prevent such tragedies, but there needs to be some attempt to control the free flow of weapons designed primarily to kill people.

The ages of the dead range from 18 months to 77, and at least one pregnant woman was among the dead, according to a report I read now on Monday morning (some of these statistics of course may change as the investigation proceeds, as they already have).

Now I am sure that supporters of an all but unlimited right to bear arms will point to the report that the gunman was shot and chased away from the church by a citizen with a rifle. The killer thereafter died when his car ran off the road — not for sure at this time whether from a bullet wound from the good citizen or self-inflicted or maybe from the accident itself.

Well I say hooray for the armed citizen. He, I believe it was a he, no doubt saved lives with his action and may have in effect or indirectly administered quick justice to the killer.

Yes, gun diehards it is good that our citizen was Johnny on the spot — I mean it. But now does that mean we all have to go around armed? And if we continue to allow private ownership of assault weapons then we also might find it necessary to arm ourselves at the same level. I mean the good citizen may have been lucky to be there at the right time with his own armament, but what if the killer fired back? Apparently the killer was a coward and ran. I read that our good citizen used a rifle but I do not know the type (hunting?). But if he faced return fire it might not have come out so well.

I actually think that the vast majority of citizens see no legitimate or safe or practical use for assault weapons in the hands of private citizens — and that would include hunters and target shooters. I realize some people like to fire assualt rifles for target practice. I see the billboards when I am heading into Las Vegas advertising the chance to shoot assault rifles for fun at commercially-operated firing ranges — and isn’t that cruelly ironic in light of the recent mass shooting there?

I do not know why there is not more public outcry on the issue in light of the spate of mass shootings over the past many years, including a class full of school children. It may be that people just think that as bad as it is their chances of being caught up in such a thing are still remote — probably as dangerous or more so to commute to and from work on the freeway. And besides most of us are not in the habit of having regular contact with our elected representatives in the halls of power and in reality most of them do not want to hear from us unless we have cash for their re-election. And don’t we put them in there to take care of things anyway?

But without public pressure few lawmakers are brave enough to face the wrath of the gun lobby (which by the way I think represents commercial gun interests more than that of the common citizen).

Personally I am in favor of banning all private ownership of assault weapons. If it is so bad that we have to arm ourselves individually for protection of ourselves and our families we really do have a problem with the break down of society.

If you agree with me then you should write all of your elected representatives calling for legislation banning private ownership of assault weapons and the trade in them.

I know, if you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have them. But that bit of word play trickery makes little more sense than to say that if you outlaw murder then only murderers will murder.

What we need to do is to make such mass shootings less likely, knowing that we cannot necessarily prevent them from happening ever.

p.s.

Social media plays a role here too. The gunman was said to have posted photos of himself and his assault rifle online. And there is a weird and frightful culture of violence out there that I do not begin to know what to say about or to be able to understand. It seems that in the name of profit — entertainment media, advertising — we have nearly lost all sense of moral responsibility and civilized behavior. Our leaders at the top seem almost more interested in personal power than the public good. And then we all need to look inward.

 

 


Women overcome the evangelical edict of being submissive and even the enabling by other women of sexual harassment…

November 4, 2017

In ironies of ironies in a time when an admitted sexual harasser has been elected president of the United States and the first female candidate was defeated (albeit by a quirk in our voting system — the Electoral College), woman power has come to the forefront and taken on sexual harassment head on.

I have to wonder where this voice was all these years. I actually think some of the worst enemies of female power and the right not to be sexually harassed were women (some women). I say this because I have heard the reaction of some women to charges of sexual harassment by men and they will say things like: she’s just trying to use that charge to get her way or she is just jumping on the bandwagon. While things like that certainly can happen, that automatic reaction has not helped women fight off sexual predators. In effect, women sometimes are the enablers of the misery of their own sisters.

And I have to note right here that victims of sexual harassment can be men too, and the perpetrators could be women or men. There is an issue in the news right now with a famous male actor who some say sexually attacked or molested young men (and women? I don’t know the details).

It is amazing how this thing has caught on like wildfire. All of the sudden women are coming forward with accusations of sexual harassment or unwanted advances. I mean even ex-president George H.W. Bush in his wheelchair is accused of copping a feel (I know a crude male expression, but it seemed appropriate for purposes of description).

And sexual harassment does not seem to be ideological, that is I was not surprised when I heard that some conservatives were accused, because that makes sense. I mean the old ways are to treat women as second-class citizens and objects put on earth for no other reason than for a man’s personal benefit. It’s biblical you know. Adam needed some company so God created Eve. I will always remember some bible-toting evangelicals that came to our house to try to convert us (especially me since I was brought up in a non-religious household). In a slightly gleeful and, dare I say, almost devilish manner, in an aside the man said: “and you should like this part Tony, God says that the woman should be submissive to the man.”

So it all made sense when sexual harassment accusations came out involving Fox News. But following that we have had them at CNN, NPR (NPR? say it ain’t so), the New Republic (a liberal magazine), and even Mother Jones. And I am not going to print a list here of all the people or entities caught in the net.

It seems to me the ball really got to rolling when a comedian made a comment (a joke?) about something maybe a lot of people unofficially knew about, black comedian Bill Cosby’s propensity to sexually attack women, using his star power. Here was Cosby who portrayed that wholesome image of black middle class family man on TV. In real life, an admitted predator. I mean he admitted in a legal deposition that he drugged young ladies  (to relax them for his purposes).

And then a long list of women came forward with their stories.

And of course there are the more recent cases of Hollywood entertainment directors and producers accused of attacking starlets. That one confuses me. I mean ever since I can remember there has been the story of the “casting couch”. An open secret I suppose.

After these more recent allegations, many, many more men in prominent places were subject to women accusers coming forward with stories that often dated back decades. Defenders or defendants often said they were just jumping on the bandwagon for financial purposes (in civil cases). But when there are so many that argument is hard to support.

So, now the zinger: I mean so far what I have written sounds positive, an advancement for civil rights. Well it is a good thing that women are exerting their right to be free of sexual harassment. But there is also a danger or at least a slight downside. That is using false accusations of sexual harassment or discrimination as a tool for advancement or getting out of doing things.

What I mean is that in the past I personally witnessed the phenomenon of people using the charge of discrimination (not sexual, and not involving women) either in an outright or implied way to get out of doing their duty or advancing in their career. This was in the United States Army (a long time ago).

However, looking at the big picture, this thing of women finding their voice is a great thing for our society, along with all civil rights causes. Reasonable and judicious authorities will be able to see through the stories of the false accusers and the actions of those wrongly using the charge of sexual harassment or discrimination.

p.s.

I wrote that the president is an admitted sexual harasser. I of course was referring to the infamous tape in which he claimed to have a habit of grabbing women who submitted to his star power.