Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sex, Lies & EXCUSES: Partisan MADNESS on Predators
As the sex scandals continue their relentless forward march, early efforts at a course correction are beginning to emerge. Some of these efforts are necessary and involve making distinctions — distinctions between, say, felonious assault, which should lead to prison, and really gross workplace behavior, which should lead to serious disciplinary action but should probably fall short of complete ruination.
The danger, however, is that these distinctions get drawn in such a way that they protect one set of offenders and not the other — purely on the grounds that the protected set is made up of people you like or who work for the causes you champion and the bad guys are the people you don’t and who don’t.
These are the astonishing arguments now being made on behalf of senatorial candidate Roy Moore, on the one hand, and Sen. Al Franken, on the other.
Now, these two cases require exactly the kinds of distinctions I’m talking about. Moore is credibly accused of unspeakable behavior with a 14-year-old. Franken was caught on camera being a disgusting boor and has been accused of sticking his tongue in a woman’s mouth.
Moore’s alleged conduct was felonious and morally depraved. Franken appears to have acted like a repellent creep, which is bad but misdemeanor-bad. It seems important at a moment when a national narrative is galloping along at Secretariat speed to be able to separate the two.
But this isn’t the distinction drawn by two shocking feminist enabler/defenders of Franken. The Washington Post’s Kate Harding, author of a book on “rape culture,” and New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg both acknowledge that their feminist ideologies should lead them to want Franken to be ousted from his seat.
But they both insist that the rules should be different from the very rules they would impose on everyone else in America — because, well, Franken is a Democrat and America needs to be saved from Republicans.
Harding says Franken should be saved and should then go on a listening tour of far-left Democrats and become their front man as penance for his rotten behavior.
“In a sharply divided political climate where toxic masculinity knows no party, yet is only ever acknowledged by one, we must think about how to minimize harm to women,” she writes.
“One more empty apology and resignation . . . will not make American women safer or better off. Powerful men lifting up women’s concerns and supporting progressive women candidates, however, could be a real step toward changing the culture that makes victims of so many of us.”
Or as Woody Allen, himself a notable figure in the annals of toxic masculinity, said in the movie he made celebrating an affair with a 17-year-old girl: “I’m a bigot, but for the left.”
Goldberg spends an entire column concerned about seeming like a hypocrite. She says there’s just no good choice for a poor feminist such as herself in this case. But she basically argues that to support Franken’s removal from office would be a case of Democratic “unilateral disarmament” against the anything-goes Republicans who nominated and helped elect Donald Trump.
And this is what Roy Moore’s defenders say — but in reverse. “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump declared today. Even if Moore’s guilty, so the thinking goes, he’s necessary for the nation’s future to deny Democrats another Senate seat. And that is necessary for the passage of the tax-reform bill.
Oh, and to help restore America’s moral code in the long run. Yes, you heard that right. Basically, they say, we need an ephebophile to purify this country.
These responses reveal the poisonous extent to which nakedly political and partisan concerns are corrupting every aspect of American civic culture.
If you believe Franken is an example of toxic masculinity and that toxic masculinity is an evil that must be extirpated, there’s no intellectual or moral excuse for supporting his continued presence in American politics. Even the effort to make such an argument reveals the way in which the virus of naked partisanship has overcome you.
Similarly, if you believe America has rotted away morally, the idea you’d hand enormous political power to a morally rotted person like Roy Moore reveals your own spiritual and moral rot.
Note, please, that that isn’t happening with the showbiz and media scandals. The powers-that-be that cut Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. loose may have claimed the moral high ground, but these were actually appropriately ruthless commercial decisions about protecting their “brands” from contamination.
But there are no powers-that-be in politics, or there aren’t any longer. The party bosses are gone. Their places have been taken in part by ideologues, who now seem to exist to make the tough moral calls that just seem always to go one way — the party’s way.