Un­for­tu­nate bi­par­ti­san­ship on Capi­tol Hill

GA Voice - - Front Page -

The first time I was re­ally mis­er­able when a celebrity died was Jan­uary of last year. I was sit­ting in my lounge drunk off my ear and the news came through that David Bowie had died. I don’t know much about pop­u­lar cul­ture or mu­sic or any­thing of artis­tic value re­ally, but I knew Bowie and I knew how he was and I knew the free­dom with which he lived his life and he was one of the phe­nom­ena that hauled my sorry and mis­er­able ass through my com­ing out years.

Turns out I didn’t even know Bowie that well be­cause af­ter his death, it came out that he had statu­to­rily raped a 14-year old girl in the 1970s. While there is con­tes­ta­tion over the story, I saw no rea­son to not be­lieve the wo­man who wrote about this ex­pe­ri­ence with Bowie, and it up­set the glam­oured vi- sion of him I had in my mind.

While I was blind to the foibles of my hero, I am not in so­ci­ety gen­er­ally. Sen. Al Franken’s be­hav­ior to­ward women is one of the least sur­pris­ing news sto­ries I have ever heard, be­cause men in power have al­ways as­sumed they have the right to do what they want with bod­ies they de­sire.

While Franken apol­o­gized, and his apol­ogy was ac­cepted by his vic­tim, we know for a fact that ha­rass­ment goes on around Capi­tol Hill be­cause tax­pay­ers have doled out $17 mil­lion on be­half of our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to set­tle sex­ual ha­rass­ment claims and dis­crim­i­na­tion. Con­dem­na­tion of Franken was wel­come from Democrats who have sought to avoid crit­i­ciz­ing their own most no­table politi­cian of the ‘90s, Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, and stayed silent last year dur­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign re­gard­ing how she helped de­stroy the rep­u­ta­tion of a 20-some­thing White House in­tern to save her hus­band’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

We know what Joe Bi­den did to Anita Hill dur­ing Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas’ con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings, but Bi­den still pa­rades around touch­ing young women in­ap­pro­pri­ately — one needs only see footage of him swear­ing in se­na­tors dur­ing his time as vice pres­i­dent, and his leering fin­gers and whis­pers into the ears of their young fe­male fam­ily mem­bers. And I haven’t even touched Roy Moore, who is still odds-on to be the next ju­nior sen­a­tor from Alabama, nor the pres­i­dent, whose “grab ‘em by the pussy” com­ments were ac­tu­ally all about how to ma­nip­u­late women into not be­ing able to say no.

Bi­par­ti­san­ship is present on Capi­tol Hill, de­spite an al­leged long pe­riod of di­vi­sive­ness. It’s just this it man­i­fests in help­ing out per­pe­tra­tors when con­ve­nient, de­stroy­ing the rep­u­ta­tions of vic­tims when po­lit­i­cally ex­pe­di­ent and wield­ing the im­mense power we give our elected of­fi­cials over the women in their of­fices.

Like Bowie, I turned on Franken eas­ily when this story came out. May we all see those priv­i­leged men who abuse their power and priv­i­lege for sex and rape and as­sault and ha­rass­ment meet the pub­lic con­dem­na­tion they de­serve, and not de­fend them just be­cause we like them. May the uni­ver­sal con­dem­na­tion of Al Franken be the first of many.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.