There’s a tremendous risk with floodgates of any kind being opened up. They can lead to witch hunts that damage innocent people, which then cause skepticism to rise against those with legitimate claims. This is a terrible potential cycle of events that doesn’t end well for anyone.
So far (knock on wood), that hasn’t been the case with the floodgates of sexual misconduct accusations made against men of power. Most of them have been credible with the media doing its job of researching and verifying as much as possible before publishing. There have been exceptions, but as we’ve seen lately, the majority of the claims have been accompanied by enough evidence and credibility for the accusers that clear lines can be drawn, at least in the court of public opinion and professional status.
Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, John Conyers, Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., George H.W. Bush, and Charlie Rose can all be viewed as having committed some form of sexual misconduct without question. Garrison Keillor and Roy Moore deny their allegations, though some if not most believe there’s validity to claims against them. Is the accuracy of the claims so far a product of good journalistic standards? To some extent, yes. Major news outlets are very particular about claims like these; the only thing worse than missing a story is publishing a demonstrably false one. What’s overlooked by some is the fact that this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Now that it’s been proven acceptable to make these claims without getting destroyed by powerful men or the media, those who have committed the acts should all be sweating. They’re the ones in the barrel and nobody’s going to have sympathy for them if credible accusations come forth.
In other words, the days of Bill and Hillary Clinton terrorizing accusers are over. It’s now safe to make the claims.
Most attribute the floodgates being opened to Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, but it was actually made plausible by the take-down of powerful Fox News personalities that helped alert the victims. Until Roger Ailes’ fall from grace, there was still a fear that society wasn’t ready to listen to the victims. When he fell, the crack formed in the shield of fear. Weinstein’s accusers were the dramatic breaking of the crack into a full-blown hole and the rest is history.
Why now? Nancy Pelosi believes it’s because of Donald Trump’s election, but that’s ludicrous. Again, it was workplace harassment by Ailes well before accusations came out against Trump that signaled the coast was clear for victims to make their accusations. Had Clinton won the election, we’d likely still be seeing pretty much the same accusations. In fact, leftist pundits would be hailing the opening of the floodgates as a direct result of electing a female president.
These are strange times for the people as some of our favorite icons (I really loved Spacey’s acting) are falling. They’re exciting times for the media as we now have someone new to go after pretty much every day. They’re terrifying times for men in power who have committed similar acts. Unfortunately, there are likely many, many of them. As crazy as it may seem, we’ve only seen the tip of this iceberg. Power yields feelings of invincibility. There are dozens of other Weinsteins in Hollywood just as there are dozens of other Conyers in DC. Lauer, O’Reilly, and Rose are just the first men behind the desk to take the hit. More will come.
It takes a certain degree of narcissism to be successful in Hollywood, DC, or behind the news desk. This is why I’m certain we’re going to see many more accusations in the coming weeks. This is the purge these three industries needed. It also represents the awakening we needed in America. It’s not a feminist awakening, though some will call it that. In reality, it’s one of the few positive side-effects of political correctness run amok. Denying accusations without a justifiable reason to do so is no longer acceptable. Defending men in power isn’t, either.
Many are calling them men anti-feminist which fuels claims that this is a feminist awakening. These men aren’t necessarily opposed to feminism. They’re in favor of their own pleasure, self-empowerment, and delusions of grandeur that manifest in treating their inferiors as disposable. That’s the big win out of all this. The removal of the unchecked narcissists from positions of power will turn out to be a great moment in American history when we look back in ten to twenty years. Even today, it’s being viewed as a positive.
Now is not the time to fear. There will be false accusations, but hopefully they’ll be debunked quickly and there won’t be enough of them to dilute the impact of the real ones. This purge has been a long time coming. When it’s done (and yes, it does have a foreseeable end), the three most impacted arenas (Hollywood, DC, and America’s news desks) will be better as a result.