It’s more than a sad commentary on the current mores of our society to open up a newspaper or turn on a newscast on any given day and see yet another public official or person in a position of power accused of taking advantage of underlings.
The Hollywood revelations are somewhat akin to the old adage of the piano player in the lobby of a house of ill repute saying he didn’t have a clue what was going on upstairs. The casting couch has long been rumored to be a stepping stone to a young starlet’s road to fame and fortune on the Big Screen. Frankly (and sadly), the reported Harvey Weinstein-type shenanigans just weren’t a big surprise, even to those not intimately familiar with Tinseltown inner-workings.
Puffed-up politicians using the prestige of their offices to procure favors from subordinates falls into the same category. Historians are finding out more and more of the plethora of personal peccadillos of past U.S. presidents, and few are escaping unscathed in the monkey-business department.
That’s not to say the intense scrutiny of all office-holders, men most especially, shouldn’t continue apace. The word “No” is quite unambiguous in meaning. “Stop” falls into the same category. Ditto “Get your hands off me,” and “I don’t want to do this.” Those words and phrases are not just implying something vague. They’re crystal clear and denote exactly what they say.
Chances are pretty darn good that movie producers and politicos aren’t the only bad fish in the barrel either. In a recent interview, Carly Fiorina, a 2016 presidential candidate and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, talked about the types of things she and many of her cohorts had to put up with as they climbed the corporate ladder. Since it’s doubtful those were isolated incidents, one has to wonder if titans of industry aren’t the next group to be outed.
One other crowd that might want to watch its collective back is academicians. How many college coeds have been told by professors over the years that there was only one sure way to make certain they got an “A” in class? And it didn’t involve extra hours at the library.
Although there are undoubtedly females abusing their positions of power as well, another band of brothers that could see the name of a member or two splashed across the front page is the military. Fraternization is officially frowned upon. But by its very nature, the armed forces as a whole abound with superiors and inferiors, and soldiers and sailors are taught from day one to obey the orders of those sporting greater rank insignias, aren’t they?
Those now coming forward in droves to name names are to be applauded. And proof rules. If accusations are true, by all means the perpetrators should get what they deserve. Let’s hope indictments don’t become weapons, however. The facts are bad enough. Keep embellishments out of the equation, and justice will be served more easily.
Now, there has been a cynical point of view expressed about all this: Some believe the recent spate of allegations are being used as giant cover-ups. Think about it. Much of the movie-going public has long lamented that cinema offerings just aren’t what they used to be. While Harvey Weinstein’s case seems pretty open and shut, perhaps his peers decided en masse to throw him under the bus to avoid having to defend the ever-worsening product they’re putting out.
Following that train of thought, it’s easy to translate that thinking into the political realm. Approval ratings for Congress rank somewhere below corner lot used car dealers and, well, probably Harvey Weinstein. Even the new tax proposal glosses over the fact that another trillion dollars or so would be added to the ever-burgeoning national debt. Would it really come as a surprise to find out the Republicans and Democrats actually got together and decided to sacrifice Al Franken, John Conyers, and Roy Moore so as to take the white-hot spotlight off the fact Washington can’t get anything done without spending even bigger piles of our money?
Alas, more and more similar reports will undoubtedly surface – e.g. Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor – which they should. But as the “Me Too” campaign picks up justifiable speed, does it seem to anybody else that, given the spate of sexual harassment claims of late, it would be simpler and quicker to publish the names of those in positions of power who DIDN’T engage in such activities? That might actually save a whole lot of time and allow those who have played by the rules and have honestly engendered respect to rise to the top. What a pleasant change that would be.
©MMXII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer in Atlanta