Is Sexual Harassment In Danger Of Becoming The New McCarthyism?
Sexual harassment, something that has existed for as long as man has been around, something that I can say proudly we are working to stamp out, such a thing has no excuse in today’s world. But I must ask, is the sudden outpouring of accusations, the #MeToo you hear about, could this go from a great thing to a bad? Could innocent people get caught up in this move to seek justice, and if so, what are the dangers?
In the late 1940’s into the 1950’s with the scare of communism in full swing, we had a Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy start attacking Hollywood actors, senators, political rivals accusing them of being communist, out of these investigations attacks on character and public humiliation, mass resignations started, all off of only accusations or attempts to remove a rival without any proof(something that I am not proud of being that I am from the same state). While this may have started off with good attempts, it was a move to clear what was then seen as a danger to our democracy, it soon turned into something rather evil, after a while Americans got turned off to this, then moved on, the traction was gone.
I see the same echoes of this in the new climate of sexual harassment charges, guilt is assigned without any accusations held up the light, news reporters are reporting accusations from anonymous accusers, the right to face an accuser, to be able to answer the charges, to look at the validity of the claims, these are never granted. Instead, in the speed of electronic impulses, we see the cases tried, convictions handed out and lives destroyed all in the blink of an eye over the social networks.
What is worse, if you confront the accusers, you are then seen as a bully, thus personal defense is done away with. In the victimization ideology of today, facts and the truth doesn’t matter, what is more concerning to the public is if the accuser is seen as the victim, if they are, doesn’t matter if there is little or no credibility to their story, the wave of cries for justice in just minutes goes from a small stream to a tidal wave of outrage.
And where have we seen this, and this is not an assignment of guilt or innocence, just a look at accusations, see what is presented at this point, and the facts of the claim. We have seen this not only in the halls of Congress and the Senate but in broadcasting (many of the those are well substantiated, some not at all), with other public figures, lives destroyed without a chance of defense just on an accusation.
We saw Bill O’Reilly’s fall from grace, not because claims were ever substantiated or proven, but because they were made he was forced to step down. Of course, we then saw the same thing against Fox’s Sean Hannity, when he decided to roll up his sleeves and fight, it was done away with. While the violation of a woman in any way is inexcusable, the fact that this is starting to be used as a political weapon to attack political rivals, opposition parties that are standing in the way of progress is equally inexcusable.
We feel that everyone, and we mean all should have their day with being able to defend themselves, to face their accusers, this is after all the American way. If the people after the facts are presented and the claims investigated, and are found to be guilty of what they are accused of, they should be forced to step down or be removed from office or the jobs they are holding, if they are in the public eye, but only by this means.
With accusations seen as a sign of guilt, accusers are kept hidden, thus the people accused have no means of either answering to the claims or confronting the claimant if the accusations are false, this is not justice, this is a witch hunt. We are at a fine line between justice being served and McCarthyism once more put in place, the only difference is instead of people yelling “Better red than dead”, we have now people yelling “You dare defend yourself and you’re dead!”
I am not sticking up for the guilty, nor am I defending them in any way, what I am saying is we are at the point where we have two paths, one leads to justice, the other leads to a cliff where accusations are enough to destroy someone’s life work, facts no longer matter. I fear if we don’t control this we could end up like Salem of old, people screaming and pointing fingers in accusations, no one is given a right to defend themselves, just how much punishment are they willing to endure until they admit guilt (even if they are not guilty).
And before some of you say this is just a man’s perspective, this is not the case. I as a rule am willing to condemn, but my wife, she is another story, she is as I say, the brains and heart behind the operation in our home, she is the one that pointed this out to me, said if this is not controlled it could easily spiral out of control from justice to being used as a tool to get rid of political opponents, business rivals or people with a different ideology. I, being the good husband, and believe me, it took years to learn this lesson, decided that this time I would be best served to bow to her wisdom.
We may need to step back a step, allow justice to be served, but watch ever vigilant that this does not grow into something other than a dishing out of justice, for if it does, it risks in the future public acceptance of this, rather they will become jaded, say this is just once more another hunt to publicly destroy the innocent.
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