So many sad and terrible things are being revealed about men in public life sexually assaulting women. And with that, of course, questions about our lives writ large.
The reality is that this has been going on for, well, probably pretty much forever. But less publicly, and more commonly privately. And never discussed. Just wasn’t done. But, finally, finally, something has happened. A dam has broken open, and a flood of allegations have overtaken us.
I want to pause here and note just because an allegation has been made doesn’t mean something has in fact happened. What the precise metric for judging truth or falsehood should be, I don’t know. But, I think we need to start by assuming that when people, in this situation, mostly women say they’ve been assaulted, we should generally assume they’re speaking the truth. And. But. There also needs to be some caution. What that marker should be isn’t clear. One incident, okay, something to note. But, action, maybe, maybe not. How about a dozen? Well, something is pretty obviously going on. And some sort of action seems to be called for. We need to attend. We need to notice. And we need to do things. There must be consequences. Once we’re clear something has been going on, there must be consequences.
This moment seems to begin with the litany of accusations about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. A nasty thing, but for whatever reason a beginning that is vastly overdue. And, just an aside to remind people Harvey Fierstein the brilliant writer and comedian, and incidentally who is gay, but has been experiencing some grief is not Harvey Weinstein. This opens some ugly questions about a lot of things, including a casual anti-semitism. But, it really is Weinstein who started all, who has been revealed for decades of unwanted and persistent abuse of his power to sexually use women.
And with that, the broken dam…
Then we learned publicly that Kevin Spacey appears to have used his position to indulge himself sexually with a variety of young men. Then former president George H.W. Bush and those heartbreaking allegations of his groping of so many young women. And then one of my favorite political commentators Mark Halperin was accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment. Next Senator Al Franken, frankly, one of my heroes with at least one allegation. And, with that one allegation, a reminder we need to be careful, very careful.
After that, or, maybe a bit earlier, there are so many I’ve lost the order, the comedian Lous C.K., and, then, most notably, of course, of course, Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who has long proclaimed the Bible takes precedent over the Constitution even in deciding court cases who is currently basking in the harsh light for his apparent taste for teenagers, some right at the line of pedophilia. And, okay, the list goes on and on. And on. And on…And, yes, there is a lot of rehearsing of President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. Of course he was impeached for his misbehaviors. And, with him there are lingering questions of what are crimes, and what, even if distasteful, are not.
Of course the important point is there is a long, long list of revelations right now about men abusing their power for their sexual gratification.
Something terrible about us has been revealed.
That said, let’s not forget the sexual predator in chief.
Donald Trump, currently president of the United States, has a long long history of sexual misconduct. And it seems time to revisit this issue.
Donald Trump has openly bragged of voyerism, taking advantage of his position to gape at naked teenagers in a beauty contest he controlled. But there is much more. Much. More.
We can start with Donald Trump’s former wife Ivana, who accused him of rape during their 1989 divorce, although she subsequently has backtracked.
But that was not the beginning.
In the 1980s Jessica Leeds accused Donald Trump of sexual assualt. In the 1990s Kristin Anderson accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 1997 Jill Earth accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. In the same year Cathy Heller accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In the same year Temple Taggart McDowell accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 1998 Karena Virginia accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2003 Mindy McGillivray accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2005 Rachel Crooks accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2005 Natasha Stoynoff accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2006 Jessica Drake accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2006 Ninni Laaksonen accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2007 Summer Zervos, a contestant on his reality television show accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In 2013 Cassandra Searles accused Donald Trump of sexual assault.
These women have taken a terrible risk of stepping out and saying publicly the man who has become president of the United States is a sexual predator. All have been dragged through the mud by people determined to protect Mr Trump. And of course there are Mr Trump’s comments about these women.
There is something rotten in the country. And the head of that fish is the current president of the United States.
So, what do we chose to do about it?
A lot about who and what we are hangs in the balance…
In case you’ve forgotten:
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