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bog's blog Updated 11-19-17
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Whats On My Mind?

 

I know this is a political and moral mine field. But since it is something everyone is talking about, it is something I feel the need to wade in on…

 

Lets begin with the moralistic truth of which there is no argument. Women have every right to say yes or no about their sexuality.

 

But lets also be honest, there is a lot of gray area when it comes to interpersonal interactions.

 

I would be willing to bet all of us can think of an awkward encounter that was perfectly innocent in its intent that might have been interpreted incorrectly.

 

There was a great old SNL sketch that featured an office scenario where a nerdy undesirable male co-worker innocently approaches a female co-worker for a date. He is harshly rebuffed. Even accused of harassment. A second male co-worker approaches the same woman. But this man happens to be played by a Super Bowl winning hunky quarterback, and the same and even much more sexually charged approach is treated as fun flirtation.

 

It was played effectively for laughs but it perfectly illustrates the often mysterious gray area that does exist in inter-gender relationships.

 

I’ll give you another example. Just a few days ago I was in a big box electronics store. While I was not being helped I notice two coworkers ignoring customers but flirting with each other. I witnessed the female approach the male, without asking permission, she toyed with his hair. I don’t know the state of the relationship shared by these two but I could not help but think if a male approached a female without permission in this very same way it would be a quick trip to a managers office and a quick ticket to a sexual harassment seminar.

 

Again, I think we can all admit there definitely exists a mysterious gray area when it comes to inter-gender interactions.

 

There is a tactic used in politics today called the “false equivalent”.  It is when someone does something undeniably bad but deflects the conversation by pointing out someone else once did something bad too. The two incidents of badness might have very little in common or in their severity, but by doing this the debate gets derailed and we do not end up addressing the actual bad thing that occurred.

 

Case in point:  Right now there is a big national debate about sexual harassment.  Powerful men in Hollywood have been outed for using their influence over actresses and actors.

 

There is an even bigger debate going on over whether or not Alabama Republican senator Roy Moore should be allowed to keep his job after a cascade of allegations that he habitually sought out sexual relationships with teenage girls. There are a lot of moral problems with this guy, but dating under aged girls should be something to be concerned about, right?  And with dozens of women coming forward with allegations about his questionable behavior, it should be something that should be investigated and dealt with.  But instead of doing that, the right wing talk shows and the supposed keepers of Christian morality chose to raise the false equivalency of the bad behavior of former President Bill Clinton and now Senator Al Franken.

 

Now I am not going to excuse anyone’s behavior.  But it is a false equivalency to compare Clinton and Franken who were both involved with adult women well within the age of consent to the serial stalking of underaged girls being reported about the Alabama senator.  One is bad behavior.  The other is an outright crime. The fact that people are demanding Al Franken to step down with the same moral ferocity as someone being accused of stalking and abusing dozens of children is just plain wrong.

 

These are not the same things.

 

Why is it outrageous for Republicans to consider the accusations of dozens of women when it comes to their guy?  Why is this obviously a left wing smear campaign when its their guy no matter how heinous the crime, but when it comes to the Democrats a consensual sexual act between two adults or an alleged stage kiss gone too far is grounds for firing?

 

False equivalency.

 

In all these cases women who felt they were abused have stepped forward.  Give them all the chance to voice their accusations.  But fair is fair. The men being accused to these behaviors should be allowed to tell their side of the story too because sometimes, as we have acknowledged, there is a clumsy awkward gray area in inter gender relationships. When the accusations are of actual abuse and rape, lets investigate and, when appropriate, lets get the courts involved.  But lets not assume one side has more of a moral high ground because of their financial status or political affiliation.  Lets be smart about rebuffing false equivalencies.

 

Right now there is a backlash of videos and photos showing LeeAnn Tweeden in various sexy situations.  As if to say she is a sexual being so she clearly opened the door for bad behavior.  That’s not fair.  Its no excuse. It is not a way to reason away her accusations of what Al Franken allegedly did.

 

However if LeeAnn’s fame is the result of her sexy persona, it does explain why it would be written into an USO sketch. Again I am not excusing anyone for Franken’s acting choices in this sketch.  But is this career-ending behavior?  I don’t think so. But in the context of all this I think maybe we can all agree we have a gray area here.

 

If its ok for Republicans to claim that the uproar around Moore’s behavior is politically motivated, then it is certainly within reason for Democrats to look at LeeAnn’s ties to right wing conservative radio and claim her reasons for coming out with this 11 years later could be politically motivated too.  Right?  Fair is fair.

 

There is a bit of morality that is worth noting here.  Al Franken has apologized and he welcomes an investigation into the incident.  The big list of Republicans recently outed as abusers, including the President himself, all threatened to sue their accusers, they all bullied and threatened the women who stepped forward.  Hell, Trump is caught on tape multiple times talking about his abuse of women. But that must be just political smearing, right?  They choose to forgive the behavior in order to retain power. Hell they have even publicly claimed this to be true. In a recent press conference a Republican literally stated it was more important that they maintain political power than address the concerns of all the women who have accused Moore of abuse. But when it comes to Al Franken’s overplayed stage kiss, that’s cause to bring the Democratic party down.

 

This is an insane false equivalency.

 

 

 

 

- Joseph Pillsbury- Bogsworld.com