Pointing Fingers and Dancing on Ashes: Josh Duggar, Again

Pointing Fingers and Dancing on Ashes: Josh Duggar, Again August 21, 2015

The Josh Duggar stuff. First– we should stop acting surprised. We already knew he was not who he said he was.

Also, it’s important to clarify that molesting young girls and cheating on your wife are not the same thing. Cheating on your wife makes you a jerk (and any other number of names that your wife is welcome to call you and, I’m sure, has). Molesting young girls make you a deviant. Josh has revealed himself to be both, but I hope the world will remember that these two offenses are not, by a long shot, the same thing. While he may need a good attorney for both, one should be prosecuted by law; while the other remains between he and his wife. I hate hearing people talk about this latest “indiscretion,” as though the sexual crimes against his sisters are youthful “boys will be boys” kind of shenanigans. IT’S NOT. Don’t let the media blitz about ‘scandal’ distract from the real crime of sexual assault–in this case, and in so many others that go unreported and un-prosecuted.

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And listen– remember the wife. And keep it classy. All the gleeful gossipy ‘told-you-so’-ness of this whole thing is grossly unfair to a woman who did nothing wrong. Who has already been hurt by public scrutiny of her husband’s past (also not her fault), only to now have the intimate details of his unfaithfulness exposed to–and celebrated by–the world at large. While the crime against the sisters called for some public exposure–so that there might be, at least, private accountability–this new revelation should not be celebrated. Especially by people of faith who believe in grace, family, and the dignity of all human life. Give this woman some grace, and some dignity, without cramming a microphone in her face every time she steps out of the house. I hope that she will feel empowered to stay in, or leave her marriage as she chooses–in spite of the expectations of her fundamentalist religion, and in spite of ‘public’ opinion. Leave her be.

And finally –listen–for all that their marriage, itself, is nobody’s business, there’s a clear reason why this is news: because this is not just some dude on your street who cheated on his wife–this is a public figure who set himself up as an authority on “family values.” He used his celebrity, and his platform as a reality star, to raise money for conservative politicians who would “protect family values.” He has spoken out about what is, and is not a family. He has presumed to dictate and limit the rights of certain groups of people; he has publicly shamed those who do not conform. And he has done it all while holding up a picture of his own family and bragging about their righteousness. Gross.

It’s no wonder people want to dance all over the ashes of his marriage now.

All that dancing around is in poor taste. But it’s also understandable. It is just misdirected anger at how Josh, and people like him, control a social narrative in ways that are deeply harmful to many, many people.

So instead of dancing, let it serve as a lesson/reminder:

-That anyone who spends their time telling you how to run your family is probably not very focused on his/her own.

-That anyone who touts rigid gender roles as the foundation of a healthy marriage probably does not have one.

-That people who use their public platform, power, wealth or other kind of influence, to limit the rights of others rather than empower and uplift–will ultimately be exposed for a fraud. And those who misuse their voice in such a way, should not be surprised when the public celebrates their downfall.

I wish the public would class it up a little. I wish that there was not a heartbroken wife at the center of this media fiasco; I wish that his young children were not going to be plagued by this drama for years to come, in this digital age that forgets nothing. But I also wish/hope/pray that other people hollering about “family values” will think twice about using that as a framework for repressing and diminishing whole segments of society. Because when you do that–when you raise money and manipulate people’s fears and maneuver politics and abuse religion, to keep women silent and gay people on the fringes–then you can pretty much expect that somebody will celebrate, the very first time you show yourself to be imperfect.

Or, you know, a criminal. Cause they’re not the same thing.

Meanwhile, Ima be over here… waiting for him to announce his candidacy for President. Keep it classy, America.

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