Bill and Hillary
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If Bill Clinton, a serial predator who was credibly accused by multiple women, had been handled by the Democrats the way the Democrats want Donald Trump handled, we would be living in a very different world. Probably Al Gore would have run and won. He would have probably, as an incumbent, defeated George W. Bush in 2000.
If Hillary Clinton, who viciously attacked Bill's accusers had been handled the way such actions are being handled today, she would never have come close to being Secretary of State, let alone Democratic candidate for the president.
Today, we are facing a situation where we have a despicable pig in the Whitehouse, who has been credibly accused by many women, and who admitted to his "Grab them by the p*ssy" remark, and is now attempting to deny it. We have a longstanding member of congress, John Conyers, who is being accused, credibly, by multiple women. Al Franken has been accused as well, though the extent of his actions seems to be far less than Conyers.
This massive wave of "me too" accusations is a very good thing that could go a long way in deflating the toxic power of patriarchy. It is a shock to the system, with so many famous people being fired from longstanding, high profile jobs.
I believe that the Democratic party must walk the talk and, on a case by case basis, take strong action. It seems clear that John Conyers went too far. He repeatedly made unsolicited advances. In spite of him being a man who has done historic good in Congress, I think he has to go. I say that having had some special experiences with Conyers, seeing him as a true man of the people, who I had a chance to spend time with, to interview, break bread with and spend time in his Capitol Hill office. This is too big an issue.
I'm not as certain that Al Franken must go. But his case must be seriously assessed by the ethics committee. It may be that he too must go in order to maintain the level of healing that this outpouring of "me too" truthtellings has achieved, not only for the individual victims, but for our culture.
It is not easy to let go of powerful, charismatic men who have had credible accusations leveled against them. But we must rise to the opportunity to make justice and healing happen. We must face the reality that our history would have been, in my opinion, so much better if Bill Clinton and Hillary were shown the door for their unacceptable behavior. We can't change what happened, but we can start, today, to do the right thing.
The Democratic party must take a very strong stand. They must raise the bar, because if they don't, then they will be giving a pass to Donald Trump and any other sexual abusers and predators in and out of Congress.
I expect we'll start seeing similar #MeToo reports coming from many patriarchal cultures-- police, the military, corporations, religious organizations. The leadership in all of these must take a stand against abuse. They must not weaken in the face of beloved or charismatic leaders. This is about our daughters and granddaughters.
On the other side of this, there must be strong consequences for false accusers, like Jaime T. Phillips, the woman who the Washington Post exposed as working for the sleazeball Project Veritas project, headed by convicted right wing fraudster James O'Keefe. She was trying to trick the Washington Post into accepting her false accusations of Senate candidate Roy Moore. But there must also be strong consequences for women who are found to be making false accusations against men, which I expect will eventually happen. Nonetheless, I believe that the proper response policy should be as media companies have done, with strong decisions made when credible accusations are leveled.
The implications go far beyond cancellations of TV shows, as has been the case for Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Pivens. This emerging social phenomenon could, finally, after thousands of years, end the Patriarchy and male domination that Riane Eisler has described so well in her classic book, Chalice and the Blade.
Perhaps, if enough leaders in media, in all the fields I've mentioned above, stand up and do the right thing, finally, we'll see a real, healing change in not only sexual harassment, but also in the abuses of patriarchy and authoritarianism.