The accusations have been stunning. To some, they’re little more than badly kept secrets, now laid bare for the public eye.
From Harvey Weinstein to Roy Moore, and all those who came before or after, reports of men in a position of power using their status to prey on the vulnerable (or in some cases, ambitious) are not a new thing.
The public outrage and immediate need to purge these men from the public eye, that’s pretty new.
The same Hollywood that stands (allegedly) aghast at the Weinstein case today for years has protected and lauded Roman Polanski, a man who fled the country to avoid facing justice for drugging and raping a 13-year old child.
And the same Democrats ready to claim Roy Moore’s head and place it on a pike outside the U.S. Capitol Building now see absolutely no hypocrisy in making an icon of Bill Clinton (They won’t even talk about Anthony Weiner).
My first reaction is that if people are no longer willing to sit back and ignore unacceptable behavior, then that’s a good thing.
My second reaction, however, is that we, as the public, have a duty to A) wait until we have more facts before condemning the accused, outright. And B) to check our own biases.
Were you outraged at the torrent of tales, accusing former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, and in some cases, rape?
I sure was.
Are you now making excuses for Roy Moore?
Shame on you.
And of course, it goes both ways. If you made excuses for Clinton but are doing a victory lap over what now stand as only accusations against Roy Moore, then you are twisted by your political bias and should do some serious self-checking.
Personally, I have no real feeling about whether Moore is guilty of the accusations against him.
I can say that I hope they’re false. For any of the stories we have heard over the last few weeks to be true, that means there has to be a victim, and ultimately, that is where our concern should rest.
The problem is not a political one, so much as it is a failing of the human heart.
We are all prone to mess up, and equally prone to tribalism. The problem is that circling the wagons in cases like these tends to neglect the well-being of the alleged victims.
It’s not like any of this is new to this age. From the beginning, man’s motives have been corrupt.
“The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.” – Genesis 6:5 AMP
Either these powerful men are abusing their positions, or they’re the target of unscrupulous schemers.
Our role, as the public, should not be to celebrate the fall of anyone, simply because their political leanings may differ from ours.
Nor should we defend the indefensible.
It is quite possible to maintain an approach that neither condemns nor excuses, and keeps us aware that there are real people involved, who may or may not be hurting because of their experiences.
And through it all, be honest about your own biases and how they play into your reactions when another of these stories becomes public.
If we’re ever to have honest dialogue it begins with us and how we react.