HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » the delicate issue of whe...

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 01:34 AM

the delicate issue of when does this new focus on sexual transgressions become a witch hunt

I know this is a difficult and sensitive subject, including for progressives, as any discussion of sexuality and sexual transgressions is intimately bound up with concerns about human rights and feminism. But I think that the issue to be raised here is becoming increasingly glaring, and it seems that progressives are utterly unready to deal with the political problems posed by the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of "me-too" as it plays out in the context of the MSM and US politics

First off, there is the notion that any treatment of 'crossing the line' in the sexual sphere (far unlike the treatment of eg the disabled, as one who has been on disability for more than 20 years, where 'transgression' and even cruelty are tolerated in a way that these other concerns are not), when brought out into the public sphere of US politics and of both the mainstream media as well as progressive fora, in anything less than absolute terms, of "zero tolerance" is bound to be treated, at least by some, as trivialization or talking down of an all-too-long ignored area of unaccountable abuse. That there has been massive and systemic sexual abuse -- the long tolerance of serial offenders like Bill Cosby and Ray Moore and Harvey Weinstein testifies powerfully to this truth -- cannot be seriously denied or ignored by any progressive.

But at the same time, there is serious danger of the "witch hunt" in this sphere that Woody Allen warned of several weeks ago. For example, there is the case of Al Franken, who some have difficulty clearly distinguishing from Ray Moore. It is not merely that the two are obviously not equivalent. Sen Franken, though hardly the staunchest of left progressives (eg on the Iraq War, to those in the peace movement familiar with his politics at the time the movement was most active, and he had a radio show will remember) but he is among other things, a major voice in the Senate on many threatened issues, and possibly the leading advocate & defender in Congress of net neutrality -- something absolutely imperative to free speech and the so-called "free marketplace of ideas" in our society. Even after a single person stepped forward, describing concerns in the context of a USO tour where sexual boundaries (including as observed by the accuser herself, according to some sources based on YouTube), longtime Democratic activists I know were insisting that he needs to step down. The idea was that somehow Democrats couldn't raise the issue of a serial child molester like Ray Moore if the albatross of Al Franken's misdeeds hung around their necks. Now with numerous others accusing him of hand-to-ass contact during photo posing eg at the Minnesota State Fair, it is quite likely that progressives will throw him under the bus. Fortunately MN has a Democratic governor, so this situation doesn't have the implications it might have in other states.

On one hand, Donald Trump, facing a veritable tsunami of major and credible accusations, and not merely offensive speech but serious violations of rights and privacy was (almost) elected president in '16, staunchly backed by the RW evangelicals who formed a huge proportion of the core of his electoral base -- I say ALMOST elected as the GOP managed to steal the election, based on extremely cogent reports from Greg Palast that have been ignored in the same mainstream media and Democratic Party that, while utterly craven about that concern hiding in plain sight, fill the media world with stories like the concerns raised about Al Franken. And there are surely going to be others to come. While the rightwing -- Donald Trump, with little likely impact on his standing from it, staunchly continuing to back Ray Moore -- largely unites behind even the most egregious offenders, progressives can't wait to apply a 'zero tolerance' principle, essentially immune from criticism as any questioning is anti-feminist or even misogynist, to throw any and all transgressors on our side of the aisle under a bus. There is no doubt in my mind that if Franken were a Republican, he'd have nothing to worry about.

Woody Allen was on to something. Progressives need to discuss it. And just as we recognize how outrageous it is when conservatives fail to see that sex offenders need to be treated rationally and not as monsters to be kept permanently from the mainstream of society, the inability to see grades of concern, as we do on so many other things (Bernie Sanders ran a candidate supported by most progressives including myself, his longtime support for the F-35 notwithstanding) is potentially crippling to progressives as a whole. Al Franken stepping down or not running for re-election may do women much more harm than any sexual transgressions he is alleged to have committed. But it's a "matter of principle" (the zero tolerance argument). But that kind of thinking is like a political neutron bomb, that destroys progressive strength while leaving RW politics largely unaffected -- or even strengthened! -- except (MAYBE) in the MOST egregious and extreme cases, and even the political impact of those in RW venues is seriously in doubt

Much more to say about this, and no doubt hostility will flare up in many quarters. But the discussion must be had

15 replies, 1246 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply the delicate issue of when does this new focus on sexual transgressions become a witch hunt (Original post)
cloudythescribbler Nov 2017 OP
elleng Nov 2017 #1
Demsrule86 Nov 2017 #5
cwydro Nov 2017 #10
pnwmom Nov 2017 #2
Demsrule86 Nov 2017 #4
pnwmom Nov 2017 #6
cwydro Nov 2017 #11
Igel Nov 2017 #7
Demsrule86 Nov 2017 #9
Demsrule86 Nov 2017 #3
Blue_true Nov 2017 #8
Skid Rogue Nov 2017 #12
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2017 #13
LWolf Nov 2017 #14
stevenleser Nov 2017 #15

Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 01:49 AM

1. repugs have made it one, didn't take long.

Question, do we go along, or call b.s. when it is due?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:04 AM

5. We call it BS...and call out those who are promoting this story as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:57 AM

10. Damn right.

Thank you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 04:40 AM

2. I don't believe in zero-tolerance policies for sexual misconduct any more than I do

for drug use.

There is a vast difference between students breaking the rules by sharing a Motrin vs. Cocaine, and there is a vast difference between the worst of what Franken has been accused of and the worst of what Moore has been accused of. We need to use our brains and not be lazy. Yes, a zero tolerance policy is simple and doesn't take much thought. Well, life is complicated and we should be using the brains we have -- not letting the R's lead us around by our noses.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:02 AM

4. Exactly right...and lets consider for those who claim...well the anonymous women are

progressive...are they really; we don't know. And plenty of those who call themselves progressive are attacking Democrats lately...couple of them are running in the GOP party as they can't be 'accepted' in the Democratic Party...I laught so hard I almost has an accident when reading about the one in Jersey.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:10 AM

6. I agree. There is no reason, based on what we've seen so far, to trust the anonymous accounts. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 09:00 AM

11. Apparently, some posters here are eating this RW stuff up.

Unbelievable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:21 AM

7. Doesn't matter.

Unless we think that somehow human rights and their enjoyment should depend on the ideology of the person held.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith might wind up replaced by the Committee for the Doctrine of the Creed. We've been there a a few times in the 20th century with outcomes that make the Inquisition look like a kindergarten skit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Igel (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:57 AM

9. In order to discern truth...and motivation...there ideology matters.

I call the first two right wing liars; there accusations don't pass the smell test. And then low and behold...anonymous attackers come out so we can't judge their motivations...nope not buying it ....some are being lead around by the right wing. I don't believe Franken violated anyone's rights. Also, consider that the GOP will make anonymous accusations against all Democrats they view as competent...please consider how one deals with liars and bullies. And the idea that we need to sacrifice Franken to prove our worthiness is part of the reason we lost in 16 and have no power...while the GOP runs around excusing pedophiles.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:01 AM

3. It already has...with those who take every opportunity to pile on Democcrats

both here and elsewhere ...joining in with enthusiasm...you would have though that 2016 and the election of a dangerous man like Trump to the presidency would have taught them a needed lesson...but it didn't.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:52 AM

8. A long assed OP.

To essentially say that in Franken's case we must abandon our values, just this once. Where does THAT slippery slope ends. Franken should KNOW whether he has a tendency to sneak feels on the asses of young women, so far his statements on that have been weak. I won't draw this out and won't reply to anyone, I have said what I have to say on this issue, Franken knows whether he has a tendendency to touch young womens' asses on the downlow, if he knows that he does, he need to stop the bullshit and resign. We can't say that we stand full square for women's rights in the workplace and society yet fall over ourselves to excuse a potential predator because he is important to our political goals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 09:45 AM

12. Sadly...

You're 100% right. I'm worried that this issue really doesn't have any political boundaries and that's super scary. I've been thinking about this for days.

I mean, it's just as hypocritical when a gallant feminist male politician behaves this way, as it is when a "family values," religious right politician behaves this way. If it's just one single incident in a long good life, I can excuse it, (we all screw up really badly sometimes.) But when 4 women come forward with accusations, then it feels as if there must be a dozen more who don't want the hassle of speaking up.

I love Franken and I feel more hurt by his behavior than Roy Moore could ever make me feel. Moore is an idiot, a homophobic, misogynistic bastard. I expected nothing more from him. I did expect a lot more from Franken. It would be less hurtful to find out Franken did coke on the weekends, or had a long term affair with someone.

I've been groped by good, liberal, feminist guys in the past. I have to say, as great as their politics were, I wouldn't want any of them representing me in congress.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 09:49 AM

13. I have the DSB tests

1) Does the bad sexual actor's misconduct reflect poorly on and impede our efforts from taking our country back from the Deplorables ?

2) Would you approve of the behavior if your mom, sister, daughter or wife was the target of it ?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 11:10 AM

14. Typical

misogynistic misdirection; when Republicans do it, DU is up in arms.

Disclaimer: I am not putting Franken in the same pile as Moore.

That said, rallying around Franken because he's a "D" is too mirror-like to the other side rallying around Moore for comfort.

This woman is thrilled to see women finally speaking up against the good-ol'-boys network of misogynistic predators and the embedded cultural sexism that created them.

When there is no gender imbalance of power, when no finally means no, and when men pay consequences for violating that "no," THAT's when we've gone far enough.

It's not a "witch hunt" to force that long-needed cultural change.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cloudythescribbler (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 11:20 AM

15. There is a point where it is OK to push back and a point where the situation is clear as day

 

With Franken, there were all kinds of red flags regarding the first person making accusations. It's possible that it could have been malicious on the part of the accuser or simply a misunderstanding. Some push back there was warranted, IMHO. When the second, third and fourth accusers come forward, any defense is no longer tenable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread