Hypocrisy, Alive and Well

Hypocrisy, Alive and Well

One would need to be living under a rock to have no knowledge of the growing list of high profile individuals, from nearly all walks of life, being accused of sexually inappropriate and abusive behavior.  Many of these cases have arisen out of Hollywood, while others come from Washington, DC.  As we listen to the stories of the alleged victims [please note:  I am using terms such as “accused” and “alleged” not to disparage anyone, but to serve as a reminder that individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law – not public opinion – or by their own admission], our hearts are broken, knowing that if these events occurred they will leave scars for the remainder of the victims’ lives.  These accusations have become the outrage du jour of our 24/7 news cycle, which is actually detrimental to true reform.  Once the focus shifts to the next outrage, this one – and its victims – will be forgotten by both the public and the authorities, and we will likely return to the old status quo where these heinous acts continue unchanged, unreported, and unpunished.

Just a few days ago, I watched a press conference with the US Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, one of those who not only has been accused of such actions, but was photographed in the act.  This particular presser was called in order for the Senator to announce that he would not be resigning and instead would be returning to “the work of the people.”  He said he was sorry and that he would change, but that he would not be stepping down.  Short of the apology, I was reminded of a similar presser with then-President Bill Clinton, who angrily declared, “I need to go back to work for the American people.”  Perhaps Franken was thinking that if it worked for the president, then it should work for him, too.  There was a level of hypocrisy evident that is rarely seen outside of the Beltway, and it remains to be seen whether the pressure on Franken will grow to the point that his resignation is the only acceptable outcome (I’m not holding my breath, however).  Still, we see the hypocrisy of many in the Democratic Party on display when we consider the accusations against Franken and Roy Moore, Republican candidate for the US Senate from Alabama.  Moore has also been accused (though without such blatant photographic evidence) of similar transgressions, which have resulted in calls for his withdrawal from the race from both Democrats and Republicans.  When it comes to Franken (or John Conyers, for that matter, the Democratic Congressman from Detroit), though, there is a greater degree of deference from Democrats.  To their credit, Republicans have distanced themselves from Moore in the wake of the allegations.

Ultimately, though, the hypocrisy that is on display in both our entertainment (the Hollywood events) and our government is only the reflection of the hypocrisy espoused by our culture.  When Clinton was impeached, he received the sympathy of many Americans because it was spun such that he was being attacked not for doing anything wrong as president, but for simply a lack of discretion in his personal life (space does not permit me to rip this one to shreds!).  And how many stories have been told of the “casting couch” auditions young starlets had to endure in order to get parts in movies?  We have often turned a blind eye to these abuses because, as a society, we don’t want anyone looking too closely at our own indiscretions.  We’re quite content with a sacrificial lamb from time to time – it helps assuage our own guilt.  We are often the plank-eyed person trying to get the speck out of our brother’s eye (and not just on matters of sexual morality, either).  Are we willing to spend some time searching our own hearts to see where we have such blind spots, or are we content with allowing the outrage cycle play out, so that we can just get on to the next thing…which may not hit so close to home?  Just something to think about…


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