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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/16/17

Sex (Assault) & Politics: Has Capitol Hill's Creep List Gone Too Far?

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It seems like every day we wake up to a new actor or celebrity addition to Hollywood's Creep List. From Louis C.K. to George Takei, every celebrity with a skeleton or "inappropriate drunken behavior" in the closet is sweating bullets.

And it's not just Hollywood.

As all eyes turn to Alabama and Roy Moore, the political world is increasingly fraught with claims of sexual abuse and halfhearted, dismissive excuses. This isn't new territory; former president Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Clarence Thomas had Anita Hill. The number of federal government sex scandals are so numerous that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to them dating back to 1776.

The revelations coming out of Hollywood and Washington now are darker, more sinister. It isn't the tale of roguish JFK skirt-chasing behind his wife's back. This is predatory behavior aimed at children, subordinates and people in no position to fight back. This is the stuff that drags us all down as a species.

While it feels like long-overdue righteous justice, anything this impassioned and inflammatory has the potential to get out of control. We all know about playing with fire. Does the Creep List have that same potential -- to be weaponized? Is a powerful and important social movement in danger of being warped into an injustice of its own?

Right now, we're riding a tidal wave of mob rule. This is how it had to start: decades of abuse of authority can only be pushed back by the voices of those who aren't being protected as they should. Every #metooon Twitter is rooting out a cancer. Brave men and women who understand how speaking out can destroy their lives are hitting back with all of the pent-up rage of fighting sexist dress codes and lazy PR men halfheartedly shrugging away complaints.

We see this pattern of sexual harassment and abuse go all the way up to the presidential level. Before President Trump won the election, the infamous "grab 'em" line had people reaching for torches and pitchforks. While the Creep List hasn't yet caught up to Trump, it has added 41st president George H. W. Bush.

According to his accusers, Former President Bush tells jokes with sexist punchlines before groping women, frequently in photo ops. He is dismissed as a silly old man whose wheelchair limits his reach to backsides which results in the occasional whoopsie-daisy. And yet, rumors of his inappropriate behavior can be traced back to his presidency -- if you believe wild conspiracy theoriesabout a child sex ring in Nebraska.

The question, then, is this: where are we going? Is the purpose to make sexual harassment and rapid course-correction the new normal? Is it to show the world what happens when you try to sexually prey upon a person, to dissuade would-be harassers? Or is it an attempt to punish?

Europe is seeing its own Weinstein-fueled rooting out of sexually inappropriate behavior. British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed special counsel to deal with the deluge of accusations now plaguing her administration amidst multiple accusations and the resignation of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

The most troubling story to come out of the UK is the story of Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant. Sargeant, 49, was accused by multiple women of misconduct. He was removed from his post November 3 without being told the details of the accusations. He issued a plea for investigation, professing his innocence. On Tuesday, November 7, he hung himself. According to BBC News, former Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said Mr. Sargeant "clearly felt he had been found guilty before he had a chance to defend himself."

Where is the line? How far do we go? At what point are we no longer righting a wrong? Will we even realize it if we get there, or will we wake up one day living in a reverse "Handmaid's Tale"?

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A. Lynne Rush Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Lynne is a liberal, a book nerd and a ridiculous pet owner. She's also a freelance writer/part time soapbox stander.

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