The same human emotions and reactions, including intentionally directed negative ones such as competitiveness, self-righteousness, and greed drive the supposedly enlightened modern person just as they did perhaps less enlightened Americans decades, centuries, and ages before. Thus today, as in the past, we can have have a mob mentality and its resulting behavior on our society.
America is in a struggle between not only the political left and right, conservative and progressive but also between tradition and modernism as well as right and wrong. The battle lines, as vague as they often seem, are partly determined by the very thing that is at stake. That is, we are fighting over and around the two goals each side seems to seek in victory: recognition by the nation in general of certain traditional, eternal truths as identified by most people on the social and political right side of the spectrum and a general denial of universal values by those on the left. Relativism in other words.
To the traditionalist, certain values (moral and otherwise) are universal and forever; to the progressive, important values are decided by the feelings and views of each individual.
These basic battleline positions make it curious that we have seen the left take up so many positions on their version of 'principle': that statues must come down that others revere or at least respect, that certain sexual behavior that we all dislike or abhor must be harshly punished without very much proof, and similar scenarios. This is especially concerning in ‘he said/she said’ situations or others like that with only the changing of the gender or singular or plural nature of the pronouns. For now we are in a fad of witch hunt behavior as if it were the in thing to do at the moment. But in he said/she said scenarios prooving guilt is hard and the proof is on the accuser. There have been clear cut cases at NBC, but in others, more proof is needed than numbers od alleged victims. This is especially true in an era of disprespect for honesty and the use of lying as a political weapon.
That the sociopolitical leftist movement is perceived by many as dishonest, as indicated in their own literature (such as Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals), does not aide in the successful and honest resolution of individual battles and engagements in the Culture War. It harkens back to the leftist value of relativity leading to the secondary values of winning at any cost and that the end justifies the means.
The militant attitude of the feminist movement enters into the argument as well.
In the very serious matter of sexual abuse and the taking of sexual liberties in flirting, there is now a feeding frenzy, quite common in the modern era. The increase of such frenzies and their intensity probably is explained by social media giving everyone a voice. But shouldn’t everyone have a voice? Society’s elites on both sides (those who like to analyze us and tell us about ourselves) denigrate the negative social commonness of the internet; but isn’t that what a free society is all about: that the most common of us has the same access and voice as the elite among us.
One of the variables of the two sociopolitical ‘sides’ is their differing interpretations of history and current events. In a PBS production of Frontline about the rise of Vladimir Putin, a female commentator mentioned that Putin liked to work more closely with American Republicans than with Democrats because the Democrats pushed the Russians more on human rights and other moral issues. I seem to remember the case being exactly the opposite, so much so that I questioned the validity of the show and turned it off. The blanket assertion of Russian interference in the 2016 Election also gave pause to question the show. America meddled in other nations’ elections for centuries (18th, 19th, and 20th) and probably still does. A famous, strong-willed Democratic president, LBJ, surely did. And did Russian involvement (if they were involved with Wikileaks) reveal the flaws in the character of the Democratic Party candidate?
But to the point of sexual harassment specifically, a few general thoughts:
The personalities and belief systems of the people involved must be considered by them and by those considering an event which becomes a personal legal issue or becomes public. They must set boundaries if they are around each other and one or the other is attracted to the other or there is mutual attraction. If a woman is not interested in a friendship or workplace relationship going farther, she might indicate that diplomatically. Women in general might realize as well that tasteful and respectful flirting from available men is a compliment to them, if they too are available (not married or engaged). Once an attraction is perceived, the logical next step would be to set boundaries such as how much touching and such is acceptable. Society needs to know that entrapment of one party in such a flirtatious relationship is as bad as any perceived sexual harassment. Also important to society and to the individuals in a relationship is that the he said/she said scenario should not by itself condemn a person who is accused, as bad as that can play out for the woman actually wronged in such a situation. Thus women should be careful what physical environments they find themselves in. Numbers of accusers can be harbingers of truth or a conspiracy to take the one accused down from a powerful position or fleece him or her of great wealth.
As so often in our world, with respect to the sexual abuse issue, the targeting is wrong, seemingly directed more by the left, and harming the greatest victims all the more by drawing attention from their plight.
And as with so much in our America today (and in the world in general), I see so much insane imbalance and bizarre behavior and sociopolitical positioning. The feeding frenzy lynch mob mentality is as alive today as in the small town Old West. With more moderate views being advanced by the left through newscasts and television and cinema entertainment many basic values have weakened or crumbled. And the views of others, even when benign, are much less tolerated, . . again mostly by the left. This is seen in the assault on Civil War statuary.
From all these thoughts and particularly the last concerning the bizarre, upside down world we now populate, my foremost conclusion is simply this: with the somewhat common human sexual trafficking of women (especially very young ones) and children of both sexes and their forced prostitution all around the world (including America), why are we even talking about . . wasting time talking in the public square about the aggressive actions of a few famous men. Let their accusers handle that in the courts and human resource offices around the nation. Make no mistake about it, I believe those men's actions are wrong and unacceptable on every level. And they should be held accountable. But the helpless children and young women (and sometimes young men) caught as victime 'product' in the worldwide sex trade, . . that battle should come first. Strong, independent professional women can (with difficulty I realize) fight for themselves. Let them. And let them make the perpetrator be known. But young male and female sex slaves in darkrooms and moved around in hiding by their slave masters cannot do anything for themselves until they become too old to be a viable product and are probably cast out on the street. By then, they probably are no longer independently functional. That is the battle that should be fought in public . . with the requisite publicity.
That this is slavery of the worst type and involves minority youth should resonate with the supposedly caring sociopolitical left. But there is an honesty issue that gets in the way. Does that cause help their cause? Probably not. And does defeating it mean attacking the criminal element the left seems to feel sorry for and seeks to defend in the public square?