Muftic: Judge Roy Moore runs into a cultural shift
The firestorm over the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore is not the beginning of a heap full of a cultural shift in the United States, but a catharsis and a result on Dec. 12, as Alabama voters go to the polls.
Alabama is a battleground among three currents of thought: those who put moral and fairness values above political concerns; those who believe the accusations, but put political concerns above moral outrage, and those who hear, see or ,speak no evil and thereby can avoid making the choice between a clean conscience and achieving political goals. However the December vote plays out, the GOP in the nation loses. They lose either a seat in the Senate or they are burdened with reputation of a party that does not care enough about the personal qualities of their candidates.
Why the shift? What is different now than earlier is that more women are working side by side with men. Plaintiff attorneys have demonstrated a successful technique to find multiple women victims willing to speak out so they could show a pattern of behavior, which makes each accuser more credible.
I date the technique resulting in women being believed instead of being treated as liars and publicity seekers to the Bill Cosby trial. What has not changed is that the workplace is mostly still male who are in the position of power over women’s career advancement and who have gotten away with taking advantage of women far too long and who missed the signals of changing attitudes. The cultural shift is still a work in progress.
In 2016, moral outrage lost out to political expediency when Donald Trump won in spite of the credibility of multiple witnesses to many of his penchant to grab women and his boasting of his conduct recorded on the Access Hollywood tapes. “Deny, deny” worked well enough for him and showed the way for Roy Moore to defend himself.
All cases of accusations of unwelcomed male sexual conduct toward women are not alike. Where the Roy Moore issue differs from the accused behavior of Donald Trump and Al Franken or past president’s infidelities is that Moore preyed on children who were not considered old enough to make decisions about their sexual choices. He is an accused pedophile. However, the issue has opened the floodgates to ensnare actors, celebrities, politicians, and intellectual icons whose alleged or proven victims were women of legal age.
While politics and policies are an integral part of the storm, the issue of sexual victimism of women and girls is non partisan.
Bad male behavior toward women used to be mildly tolerated and expected by women who were beginning to work in jobs once solely occupied by men. Sometimes public exposure of sexual misdeeds was used and excused as political weapons against political adversaries , or it was swept under the guise of locker room talk, while those who came forth were publicly shamed. Even in my memory, the sexual escapades of FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton were either ignored by the good ol’ boy press at the time, passed off as “he said, she said,” or revealed later by historians and investigative journalists.
Many of the accused now of past misdeeds will only stand trial in the court of public opinion or the ballot box or Senate ethics processes because the statute of limitations ran out.
The only president to pay the price while in office was Bill Clinton, who was nearly impeached.
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