There has been a lot of ugly stuff in the news lately that I haven’t commented on. For lots of reasons: it’s unpleasant to think about; we already knew the problem existed, and the surprising thing is how it is suddenly unacceptable to people who generally think there’s a right to sex under practically any circumstances.
Sunlight is a great disinfectant. So, even though it’s unpleasant, it is likely a good thing that these things are coming to light. There has been something of an avalanche since the Harvey Weinstein news of some weeks ago, with more coming out almost daily about yet another public person.
Some of the discussion is swirling around Roy Moore, who is running for the US Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was tagged for the Attorney General job. These allegations include a range of things—all from some forty years ago—ranging from dating teenagers with their parents’ permission, to kissing and touching through underwear underage girls, to statutory rape of a 14-year-old.
|Judge Roy Moore, candidate for Senate|
photo from here
I don’t know how to evaluate the information we know. It all comes from mainstream media, which we know we cannot typically trust. It comes at a time—many decades into the public life of this judge—that is so soon before a scheduled election that, even if he is totally exonerated in a couple of months, the damage is done.
One of the frustrations of life is not always knowing whether people are telling the truth. If the allegations are false, then the accusers are not victims worthy of our sympathy and our efforts to bring about justice; they are instead the most vile of humans, lying with the purpose of ruining a man’s life. On the other hand, if the most serious charge is true, he certainly shouldn’t be in a powerful position like the US Senate. It looks like this case is either one or the other. I hope we learn what is true very soon.
|Senator Al Franken|
photo from here
Today another allegation came out—with photo proof—about Senator Al Franken.
A couple of days ago there were claims of Congressmen sexually harassing female Congresswomen.
|Rep. Jackie Spier|
photo from here
I’m reminded of a Book of Mormon scripture passage, referring to our day, in 2 Nephi 28:22:
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
The leader of darkness convinces the self-indulgent human that he deserves special treatment, free of the demands of justice—until that human is trapped in lies. And then the devil abandons him, and, I imagine, sits back laughing while misery rains down.
If this new awareness that these previously hidden behaviors are immoral and unacceptable in civilized society moves people to change, then that is a good thing. I hope that is what we are seeing. Cynicism that this is common and “everybody does it” will not lead toward civilization. But if we can encourage people to stand up and speak the truth, holding the guilty accountable, that will take us in the right direction.
In response to the Congressional accusations, House Speaker Paul Ryan has suggested sexual harassment training.
So, in response to this whole situation, Facebook friend Shawn Rogers offers this:
Sorry, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell, but this is not a training problem, it's a culture problem. You don't solve problems of harassment through training. It's not a case of awareness or not knowing what actions constitute harassment.
You don't fix a culture of harassment by mandating training. You solve it by applying disciplinary actions to those who commit acts of harassment, and by holding leaders accountable for allowing it to happen on their watch. You create a culture non-retaliation for speaking up. You foster a culture where complaints will be fairly investigated and disciplinary action will be taken when violations have occurred.
He’s right. It’s not a lack of training; it’s a culture that accepts lasciviousness.
In lieu of some classroom training, for government and Hollywood, Rogers also offers this comprehensive training:
Dear Hollywood and Government. Here's your anti-harassment training in under one minute.
1. Keep your hands (and any/all other bodily appendages) to yourself. (From here on out to be known as the "Franken Rule." See article and photo…..)
2. Don't ask for sexual favors.
3. Be faithful to your spouse or significant other.
4. You're in a position of power. Don't abuse it by pressuring subordinates to satisfy your lust. It's against policy, it's unethical, and might be illegal.
5. Keep your pants on. Don't show somebody something they didn't ask or want to see (in person or electronically).
6. Make hiring and promotion decisions based on skills and qualifications, not on what the person will do for you (or to you, or with you) personally.
7. Practice your religion and share your religion on your own time, not on work time. (Oh, and political or social causes as well.)
8. Don't hang stuff up in your office that you wouldn't want your mother to see.
9. Control your temper.
10. Be nice.
There, you've been trained on how not to harass someone, sexually or otherwise.
I'll send you my bill.
That’s it. That’s all that’s needed. Stop being deplorable human beings and start being civilized.