On the drive home, I almost called in to a talk show which was asking democrats to take a stand on Bill Clinton’s past actions as a requirement to take a stand on Roy Moore now.
I didn’t call in but it stuck with me through a restless night. The rest of this blog post reflects how I am settled about this issue.
In my opinion – it is past time to draw a line in the sand and reset the behavior rules for our leaders [those we choose to follow and those we might be forced to follow and those that set the example for who we are as a nation]
We need to stop excusing bad behavior toward those with less power, where the action reflects someone acting without regard to the ability of the other to provide consent – either due to their age, their mental state at the time or due to the position of power or authority that the person has over them.
Below I share where I ended up for myself.
Find your own stand – share your own journey on this issue. We need to talk about this more and find our center again.
Many men operate their bodies from a very confident story in their head that any woman would want them.
This narrative can trigger actions that translate into unwanted sexual advances.
Most women have experienced situations where they were subject to unwanted overtures by men.
In some cases, where the men had power over them or where the women were in a situation where the option to leave was limited, those actions became far more menacing.
And there are women who do use their ‘wiles’ to get preferential treatment from men – especially those with power and money.
And there are times when adults willingly enter into intimate behaviors outside of their marital commitments.
We as a society have lost our moral compass on what is acceptable and what is not.
This was easier when women were supposed to ‘save themselves’ for marriage and if they acted or dressed in any way that aroused interest, they were ‘asking for it’. These times abdicated all responsibility from the men.
Our country has a history of vilifying the women who accuse men of power. The cost of coming forward and sharing the stories was too high and society provided a narrative that if something happened to you, you must have done something to have triggered it.
And perhaps the final straw came when we elected as president a man that has a past of taking advantage of women and girls because he could because of his power and fame [with evidence supplied by a tape in his own voice].
On the day he was sworn in, women showed up and marched and so did the men that respect and support them.
That is what is different. Women and men began to take a quiet stand that this is not who we are and not how we want to treat each other.
Because in my personal experience, I haven’t found any women that doesn’t have a story of being in a situation where a man subjected her to unwanted sexual advances. Many times, the consequences were not dire – but sometimes there were quiet shares of ‘I was raped’ not ‘I was lucky to get away’..
Instead of re-litigating all past situations where nothing was done as an excuse for never changing things, let’s raise the bar and move on.
So how could the current firestorm over an Alabama senate race be handled? If the accused would have come out and admitted that in his youth he dated young women often still in high scool and that he thought that they would appreciate being asked out and going on dates with the upstanding catch that he was. And upon the stories that have emerged, he now realizes that his actions were not respectful. He did not give the women a chance to ‘opt in’ to moving into a more personal relationship. And he is now sorry for any pain and anxiety he caused them. But these actions are in the past and occurred in a different time. Now he is committed to representing his state as a senator and is asking for forgiveness and support.
And if he had done that – he would have been welcomed by the supporters that are always willing to forgive white men of power when they throw themselves on the sword of ‘I’m sorry’
but he didn’t – because the bar was recently set by our president that you don’t have to take accountability for your actions. you can bully and attack your accusers and just move on and threaten to sue them and you will be fine …
because ther are no ethics or consequences any more.
And that is why the situation in Alabama is different now.
It is because many of us are done with this being ok – and it has been ok in business and in public for way too long…
and we are tired that people pick and choose when to demand that this action disqualify candidates or leaders, letting some people get a free pass and others get their wrath.
So what are my new rules?
Is the action reflecting a failure to keep your marital vows / promises? Then I may reconsider how much I trust you as a person, but the consequences are up to your spouse.
Is the action involving minors? No excuse – we are done. And no one should give this a pass. Children are our future and only we collectively can make the world a safer place.
Has the accuser chosen to disclose their identity? Did the disclosure lead to additional victims becoming brave enough to step forward? Then you will lose my vote and my support. And I will reconsider my support for those that do not do the same.
I am working on the rest…
How about you?