These are troubling revelations, and to many of us, surprising. John Conyers was the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Al Franken was a voice of reason against political hypocrisy in Washington. Now, they represent something else: The deep-rooted and pervasive objectification of women in our culture. It was a big, bulging infection long overdue for a lancing. Powerful men are falling all around us. Yet the most powerful man of all skates through it, seemingly untouched.
Conyers needed to step down; so does Franken. Applying the same standard, so does the absolute horror of a human being in the White House. But instead, out of the same foul mouth that bragged about groping women, Trump endorses known pedophile Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate. The election is next week.
When pressed about allegations against Trump in the face of Trump’s open criticism of Franken, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responds: “Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t.” Well, if that’s all it takes, we could have saved ourselves a whole heap of trouble; who needs a pesky criminal justice system when all you have to do to get away with something is not admit it? Let’s review Equation No. 1:
(Do wrong + admit nothing = be rewarded) + (Do wrong + take responsibility = ruination) = OUR PRESENT REALITY.
So the logic holds. Conyers topples; down goes Franken. Trump gets elected by the party of “family values.”
DS = Double-Standard Alert
Right now, Steve Bannon is in Alabama campaigning for Moore. I just saw tape of Bannon bashing Mitt Romney for the religious deferment that got him out of Vietnam (DS: for Trump it was bone spurs*) and decrying Romney’s children who also never served (DS: Trump’s never did, either). Then he said that Roy Moore had more honor in his pinky finger than the entire Romney family. Moore, who lured underage girls into sexual relationships, one as young as 14. Let’s review Equation No. 2:
(Romney: Missionary work during war = dishonor) + (Moore: Raping children = honor) = OUR PRESENT REALITY.
In closing, let’s review:
- One powerful member of Congress has stepped down at the revelation of a history of sexual harassment; a Senator will likely follow.
- A man whose offenses are arguably worse is poised to win a seat in the same Senate calling for Franken’s expulsion.
- Trump won the presidential election.
One powerful man is shown the door and takes his exit; another could realistically follow. One is ushered through the same door to become the most powerful man on Earth; another could realistically follow.
Of course, the problem here is that we’re still trying to make sense out of something that makes no sense. I call these equations, but there is no equivalency.
This is our present reality.
More than once, I have heard it said that Trump was a liberal Democrat when he was revealed to have bragged about groping women on that Access Hollywood tape; as if converting to the GOP means crossing some magic line that transforms the character of a person. When Trump recently denied that it was him on the tape, Billy Bush, whose career went down in flames after the exposure of that footage, had a few things to say about it.
Call to Action
This long ago ceased to be about Democrats and Republicans. Many Republicans I know are just as horrified as I am about all this. But the fact remains that for the time being, the Republican party has the upper hand in Washington. So get off your duffs, assume the moral high ground you claim to occupy, and stand up to the thuggery that has hijacked your party. Because if this is allowed to continue, everyone who stood by and did nothing will be just as complicit.
* Originally, I attributed Trump’s Vietnam-dodging malady to bunions; my bad.