Sexual Harassment, or The New McCarthyism

 

Sexual harassment has been weaponized. There can be no doubt about it, no discussion required. Anyone, at anytime, can be accused, and the accusers’ testimony must be believed, even if it is questionable. Just ask Al Franken. Statutes of limitation are irrelevant. Evidence isn’t required. All that’s required is a man (or woman) in a position of power who can be taken down with nothing more than the words of a sympathetic accuser.

Although she may have been wrong in the specific instance she was referencing, Nancy Pelosi was right (God, that hurt to type that) when she said that we are strengthened by due process. But alleged harassers aren’t given that due process. They are tried and convicted in the media, and anybody who dares to question the legitimacy of the claims (remember Duke?) is labeled as tone-deaf, at best, and a co-conspirator in systemic sexual oppression, at worst.

And while the sheer number of claims against powerful figures in the entertainment and private sectors are staggering, it’s in the political arena where sexual harassment claims can absolutely shake the foundation of our nation.

Let me give you a list:

  • Bill Nelson
  • Dick Durbin
  • Tammy Duckworth
  • Joe Donnelly
  • Bill Cassidy
  • John Kennedy
  • Ben Cardin
  • Chris Van Hollen
  • Debbie Stabenow
  • Gary Peters
  • Claire McCaskill
  • Steve Daines
  • Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Bob Menendez
  • Cory Booker
  • Tom Udall
  • Martin Heinrich
  • Richard Burr
  • Tom Tillis
  • John Hoeven
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Pat Toomey
  • Pat Leahy
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Joe Manchin
  • Tammy Baldwin

This is a list of sitting U.S. Senators whose party is in opposition to that of their state’s Governor. In 36 states in the Union, the Governor of that State can name the replacement if a Senator is displaced during his or her term, and only a few require that he/she be from the same party of his/her predecessor. This is a quarter of the Senate, as it’s currently constructed. Why not try to find somebody who’s been harrassed by Sherrod Brown, so that John Kasich can name a Republican replacement?

Of course, the big fish in all of this is POTUS himself. Trump is actually fortunate in the sense that most of the complaints against him came out before the election, and people voted for him anyway. It’s difficult to make the case that he should step aside at this point, since the American voting public decided that having him in office was more important. (Please, save your ‘BUT THE POPULAR VOTE’ arguments here.)

That doesn’t mean that #theresistance won’t keep trying. But Trump seems to be immune to allegations, and the current mess that is the FBI isn’t helping.

 

But on a personal level, there’s another reason you should be concerned about this New McCarthyism. It’s because you are probably guilty of sexual harassment. Yes, you.

According to a Google survey, 18% of people aged 18-34 met their current partner in the workplace. That’s twice as many relationships formed by having a neighboring cubicle as through match.com, eHarmony, and Tinder combined. I can name at least twenty movies about a poor sap who lusts after the cute girl in the office. There was actually an entire television series about this—remember Jim and Pam?

In other words, flirting with potential partners at work is woven into the fabric of our culture. Sometimes it’s harmless, sometimes it’s clumsy, and sometimes it steps over an acceptable line into something that actually is harassing and needs to be stopped. Real sexual harassment is a terrible thing, and it can’t be allowed under any circumstance. But who defines what’s real and what isn’t? Is asking a coworker on a date sexual harassment?

According to a disturbingly large amount of young people, the answer is definitely YES.

I’m particularly sensitive to this subject because my life and career have nearly been derailed by false claims of harassment—not once, but twice. Long ago in my career, I was accused of sexual harassment by an employee because I wouldn’t make her work schedule coincide with her boyfriend’s (who also worked for me). It was provably false, and she was terminated. Later, I was accused of sexual harassment by a woman who was in danger of losing her job due to poor performance. Again, it was provably false and again, she was terminated.

Both times, however, I was suspended with pay from my job while my colleagues and employees were interviewed. My phone was confiscated and each text message was read, each photo reviewed. After I was cleared of even the smallest wrongdoing, I then had to go back to work and look each one of these people in the eye and continue to lead and manage them. Not an easy thing to do, let me tell you, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. You can keep your job, but your reputation is eternally tarnished.

The end game here is obvious—smash the patriarchy. Put women and minorities in charge. I’ve had any number of moronic Facebook friends say things like “Isn’t it funny how all the harassers are white men?” Doesn’t matter that it’s not true. If you say it enough, it becomes true. Accuse any powerful man you want of harassment, and you’ll be believed. You can force him to sell his business, step away from office, or even kill himself.

Where does it end?

13 Replies to “Sexual Harassment, or The New McCarthyism”

  1. silentsod

    I’ve noticed that I always couch any discussions I have around it with “if true” or “credible” or “has credence” and generally people are not interested in waiting for the facts.

    It disturbs me greatly.

    Reply
  2. Zykotec

    I actually kinda agree with you on some of these things. This is one of the things that happen when we let the world be ruled by tweets and facebook rumours. Proof and convictions and the truth itself has no meaning anymore. If someone calls someone a rapists on the internet, or calls actual science fake news then someone is going to believe it.
    That said, the patriarchal/matriarchal western culture that has been supported by Hollwood propaganda since at least the silent movie era had to come to an end some day. I guess it was made even worse after WW2 since most of the world went into a state of constant ‘daddy issues’ which in some countries were made worse by the rise of the middle class.
    Daddy issues affect both genders a lot. Having no father figure around makes men act ‘tougher’ (because of a lack of natural borders/role models , and an instinct to try to protect the family) , and makes women act more ‘feminine’ (to get attention/affection/protection from men)
    Add to the ‘daddy issues’ a fashion and consumer industry that exaggerates the stereotypes to sell more, and you get a world where it is perfectly OK to sexuallly harass feminine figures and where it is OK for feminine people to gain attention/power through sexuality.

    One thing a lot of people forget is that this strikes both ways. It’s a lot harder to get up in the world using your boobs or your legs or even sexual favours now (or soon anyway).
    Back in the day you could get a job just by wearing a short skirt and act flirty in the job interview, as long as you did it better than the next girl.

    I can’t tell you where or when it will end, but it will end with all parts being more equal than they are now. it will end when more men can judge a woman by her skills or personality , and when less women can get ahead in their career by just looking good. It will end when a woman can still be a popular actress after we have seen her boobs. And when she can get a job without showing her boobs first.

    Or, more realistically, it will end when people ‘yell wolf’ too many times and get called out on it too many times. But we have just not reached ‘peak-yell-wolf’ yet.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Zekas

    My buddy was a Peace Corps worker in Africa. His comment: “In Africa, the blacks are in charge, and there is still racism and discrimination. Only, the racism is against other tribes. And in South Africa, the whites, being the minority, are the target of hate and murder. So, yeah, put the women and minorities in charge of the U.S. and what will happen? There would be new discrimination, as the ‘oppressed’ become the oppressors.”

    Reply
  4. Ronnie Schreiber

    If today’s standards were in force earlier, my children wouldn’t be here, nor would I.

    My father met my mother in the swimming pool of the Jewish Community Center on Woodward in Detroit. I think it was 1943. My dad was in the Army Corps of Engineers going to the Univ of Mich in Ann Arbor for a quicky associates degree in Civil Engineering and there was a USO event at the JCC. Dad was from Brooklyn, in his early 20s. My mom would have been 19. Mom has never been fat and had a nice figure so she probably looked pretty good in a bathing suit.

    The way my mother told the story, she thought he was kind of creepy and wanted to get rid of him. He insisted on taking her home to her folks and might have even said he was eventually going to marry her – mind you this is before their first date. Today he’d be called a stalker.

    I met my ex-wife in a Jewish cooperative in Ann Arbor in the early ’70s. She was dating someone else who lived there and I was as firmly in the friendzone as one could be. The boyfriend took the relationship for granted so she and I spent a fair amount of time hanging out. She’d ask what I wanted to do, I’d tell her, and yes, I used that word. She thought it was funny, but her boyfriend confronted me about “threatening to rape his girlfriend.” I told him that she asked me a question, so I answered it.

    She moved out and had a roommate with perfect, corn fed, western Michigan teardrop breasts that her boyfriend just couldn’t deny himself. They broke up, but she stayed friends with the roommate. Go figure women.

    Reply
    • Zykotec

      As a Norwegian, given that we are quite reserved in our social interactions, but tend(ed) to drink heavily on weekends, without drunken sex whole generations would not have been born. Possibly including mine and my oldest childs generation. That does not mean getting girls drunk with the sole intent of getting them in bed is something I support now that I’m not 18 anymore.
      It should be mentioned over here it’s not just the women who need(ed) to be drunk, since most men wouldn’t dare talk to a stranger when sober either , at least back when I was younger.

      Reply
  5. Mopar4wd

    I have to admit due process would be nice. I’m a bit afraid for my son heading off to College in 7 years trying to navigate all this.

    Reply
    • scotten

      I believe the media is does as much good for the USA as it does bad. They’re all trying to sell papers/get clicks/etc. so everything is over the top sensationalism.

      Reply
  6. Dirty Dingus McGee

    This isn’t something that’s new, just with the advent of social media, 24/7 news channels and beau coup websites fighting for your attention, its more visible to EVERYONE. 30 plus years ago, I did a LOT of “fishing off the company pier”(wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At my last corporate job, 22 years ago, that had gone the way of a nickel cigar. There was a production manager who received a suspension because he had a Snap On calendar in his office that made a female co-worker feel “uncomfortable”. Rather than asking him to remove the calendar, she complained to HR. After that, I flat out refused to have any meeting with any female in an enclosed room, unless there were others present. In a “he said, she said” dispute, the male is likely to lose that battle.

    Reply
  7. stingray65

    Charles Revson (of Revlon) said we don’t sell cosmetics, we sell hope. And what is that hope for most women? It is to have a handsome, successful alpha male show interest in them and support them in whatever fashion they desire whether it be career, arm candy, or housewife, and getting the attention of such men is why women dress in sexy outfits and wear cosmetics. Most cases of sexual harassment occur when the man showing interest is not handsome, or successful, or confident OR when the “ideal” man dumps them and moves on, OR when the wrong type of guy takes women’s liberation too far and treats them just like he treats guys (i.e. dirty jokes, slaps on the butt, etc.). Given the recent “me too” movement, the solution is going to be the Mike Pence rule, which means almost all women will only get mentored by other women (good luck with that) and never get asked out on a date, and I guarantee you most will not be happy with that.

    Reply
  8. E. Bryant

    Solid post, Bark.

    In a sense, I’m glad that all this madness is happening now. As you point out, I’d have been in huge trouble if these norms were suddenly enforced 20 years ago, and with any luck, this insanity will be short-lived and my young boys will be spared by the time they’re old enough to join the dating pool.

    In the meantime, I feel genuinely horrible for those who have been affected by actual criminal sexual misconduct, as the single-to-noise ratio just dropped by a few orders of magnitude with the narcissistic and selfish #MeToo bullshit. Every second of airtime spent discussing Al Franken’s groping is just that much more attention taken away from shedding light on those who have incurred or are still suffering from physical abuse. That, I think, is a far greater tragedy than someone who regrets a drunken (but consensual) hook-up several months after the fact.

    Reply
  9. CJinSD

    Suppose you were a young man. How good would Islam look right now, with its treatment of women as subhumans? Unsubstantiated accusations got you down? Under Islam, women can’t even testify. Rape accusation? Stoning for the accuser. Considering how far progressives are going to facilitate the Islamification of the West, perhaps this is just another front in their war on all that is right.

    Reply

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