}

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Arthur Answers 2017, Part 5: About the nasty folks in DC

The Christmas festivities are now over, so time to get back into this year’s Ask Arthur series before the year runs out. Even though this is winding down, there’s still a window of opportunity to ask questions—just leave a comment to this post (or see the bottom of this post for more options).

Today, Roger Green asks about the bad folks in the Washington, DC.

Here’s Roger’s first question:

Do you think the election of the Pussygrabber in chief has led to the #MeToo? Would it have happened if HRC had won?

I don’t think there’s any causation there—but they’re not merely coincidental, either. It’s unlikely to have happened just because of the allegations against the then-Republican presidential candidate. No one—not the mainstream newsmedia, not the voting public, no one except those who were already opposed to him anyway—cared that the Republican presidential candidate had bragged about committing sexual assault and—in addtion—that there were credible allegations of sexual harassment and even assault. That certainly frustrated many people, but to suggest that it alone caused the entire thing seems a bit farfetched to me.

However, the Weinstein allegations are probably tangentally related: There’s been the constant suggestion, so far neither proven nor disproven, that the prominence given to those allegations was because he’d been a donor to the Democratic Party, and Republicans, their spokespeople on mainstream news shows and, obviously, their Fox propaganda channel, were desperate to deflect attention from the current occupant of the White House and the serious allegations against him.

There’s an absolute logic to that supposition, and it may even be—and definitely could be—true. However, the allegations against Weinstein were so salacious and grubby that there was no way any news outlet would NOT give the scandal saturation coverage. And they did. From there it was a short jump to a frenzy of allegations and recrimination and public shaming (especially on social media) of anyone who didn’t unquestioningly accept all allegations as equal and equally true.

So, if it was the salaciousness of the Weinstein allegations that brought the attention and encouraged the frenzy, then it could have happened regardless of who was in the White House. However, if it really was hyped as a plot to distract from the criminal allegations (Russian, financial, or salacious) against the current occupant of the White House, then that frenzy, and the “MeToo” movement it spawned, might not have happened if Hillary Clinton was president.

For me, the question comes down to whether the powerful elites who backed the Republican nominee and his party would’ve had the determination to hype the scandals if Hillary Clinton was president. Certainly the allies of the guy installed as president would have siezed on ANY opportunity to embarrass Democrats, because they always do, and they would have wanted alllegations of sexual assault in the news because that’s been one of their constant lines of partisan attack against Hillary, that somehow she’s responsible for the allegations against her husband.

Therefore, on balance, I think there’s a high probability that the frenzy would have been in the news regardless of who was president because strong partisan motivations by Republican allies would have ensured that it was ONLY allegations against Democrats, and not any against Republicans—including the Republican nominee—that got all the attention. Whether that taints any good that came from the “MeToo” frenzy is for others to judge.

In a related question, Roger asked:

Should Al Franken resign? Should John Conyers?

My short answer would be that since the current occupant of the White House wasn’t forced to resign after serious allegations were made against him, then, no, neither one of them should have resigned. However, the unpunished sins of one don’t excuse the admitted sins of others, so just because the current occupant of the White House is getting away with being a sexual predator is NOT a reason why others shouldn’t be held accountable.

One thing that does concern me is that for Democrats—and absolutely NOT Republicans—accusation means guilt means something to be punished with full fury and retribution. Actually, that was an unfair characterisation of Republicans, because they absolutely DO support punishing a politician accused of sexual harassment or assault with full fury and retribution IF—and only if—they’re Democrats. Republicans, as we’ve seen, can molest children and be within a whisker of being elected US Senator.

For Republicans, it’s all about partisan politics, and their own cognitive dissonance: They truly believe that any Republican—even a child molester—is preferable to ANY Democrat, so to reconcile their moral revulsion to enthusiastically supporting a child molester (for example—could be a “pussy grabber”, too), they go on the offensive (the best word in so many ways…), declaring the accusations are false, lies, smears, “fake news”, partisan attacks, all so they can live with themselves for choosing to vote for a child molester (or a “pussy grabber”).

For the Left in general, and many Democrats, it’s all about moral superiority: The Left feels smug and superior because they force out anyone who is accused of any sexually-related impropriety (against women…), no matter what, and they gang up on anyone who doesn’t share their particular view. On the plus side, they act the same way toward Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s probably a good thing.

However, where is the path to redemption? In the recent frenzy, some of the accused made jackasses of themselves, however, some of them made what seemed to be sincere acknowledgements and appologies, but they were never good enough. They were driven out of their professions, all based on allegations. Is that always the best solution? Is there no way an accused can ever redeem him or herself? Certainly the Left’s excess is better than the Republican approach of no consequences of any kind ever no matter what a Repubican is accused of, but there has to be a better way than utter and permanent destruction of the accused.

The problem is, first, not all allegations are equal, no matter what the Left says. There’s a HUGE difference between someone accused of rape (actual or attempted), child molesting (actual or attempted), and someone accused of making sexually-suggestive remarks/propositions. Yet at the height of the frenzy, they were all treated as if they all carried exactly the same seriousness and had to be punished equally seriously.

Which brings me back to Franken and Conyers. The allegations against Conyers were very serious, and his resignation seems like a good outcome. But unless there were more allegations against Franken that we weren’t told about—which is absolutely possible—forcing him to resign seemed excessive (I certainly raised my eyebrows at what seemed like an over-the-top response from Kirsten Gillibrand). Still, maybe there’s more that we don’t know about, but, if so, forcing him to resign doesn’t seem like a good way to prevent those allegations from being reported. Which is why I have my doubts that forcing him to resign was the right move. But, I can certainly be persuased.

Thanks to Roger for these questions!

It’s still not too late to ask a question—though time is running out! Simply leave a comment on this post (anonymous comments are allowed). Or, you can also email me your question (and you can even tell me to keep your name secret, although, why not pick a nom du question?). You can also ask questions on the AmeriNZ Facebook page, though some people may want to keep in mind that all Facebook Pages are public, just like this blog. If you’re on Facebook, you can send me a private message through the AmeriNZ Page.

All posts in this series are tagged “AAA-17”. All previous posts from every “Ask Arthur” series are tagged, appropriately enough, ”Ask Arthur”.

Previously:
Let the 2017 asking begin The first post in this series
Arthur Answers 2017, Part One: NZ Example
Arthur Answers 2017, Part Two: Addiction and song
Arthur Answers 2017, Part 3: Easy answers
Arthur Answers 2017, Part 4: About the regime in DC

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