Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Donald Trump's Poison

For the first time in a very long time I went to bed politically happy and woke up even happier. Because last night’s staggering Alabama Senate victory by Democrat Doug Jones over Roy Moore is further proof that we are experiencing America’s comeback. Finally. It’s been two years since Donald Trump’s venomous poison was fanged into the nation’s bloodstream. Alabama’s the anecdote. 

Little did Trump know that his “Make America Great Campaign” was something he’d be unwittingly achieving after he first turned the country to shit. Of course, America was already great when the Manbaby-in-Chief took office. And then, just like that, it wasn’t. It quickly became the headquarters of ignorance, hate and misguided white nationalism. We became the sad joke around the world.

But now the “I alone” president is single-handedly uniting the country, just not in the way he planned: against him. He’s bringing together an unlikely patchwork of Northeners, Southerners and those on both coasts. Blacks, Hispanics, whites, Jews, Christians, Muslims, immigrants, women, gays, the disabled, the college educated, blue-collar workers, athletes, rich, poor, young and old are linking arms in the war against the most tone-deaf, provocative, destructive president in history. And the collateral damage we’re seeing to Trump, his administration, his party, his family and his business is swift and merciless. And it’s only getting worse.

The “I alone” president is now truly alone. Trump’s popularity flirts with the 20’s, and I‘m betting he’ll see single-digits before we see the leaves return in Spring. Our allies across the globe, the intelligence community, the judiciary and the media loathe him. He’s even losing critical elements of his base, including white men and college educated women. And if he thinks last night’s devastating blow isn’t going to be the subject of intense conversation today between Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, he’s more delusional than we think. Those two spineless, soulless clowns now have a clear window into their future, and it ain’t pretty. They will surely soon turn on him and cut their proverbial losses.

Alabama now has a Democratic Senator for the first time in a quarter century. Let me repeat that: there’s an Alabama Democrat going to the United States Senate. Trump likes to brag that no other president has done so much in his first eleven months. He’s right. Turning ‘Bama blue is an unprecedented accomplishment. You’ve gotta be truly incompetent as a Republican to lose the reddest state in the nation.

Having failed in prior endorsements of critical special-election candidates, including Ed Gillespie in the Virginia Governor’s race, and Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in the primary, Trump showered his venomous support on the disgraced former judge and accused child-molester Moore, who embarrassingly rode into the voting booth yesterday on a horse, and fittingly ending the day a humiliated horse’s ass. 

To be sure, Jones’s stunning victory has created an earthquake of anger, fear, panic and desperation in the White House. There’s a perfect storm on the horizon that’s scaring the shit out of Trump. He’s got Robert Mueller’s special RussiaGate investigation devouring him from within. He’s got 20 angry, sexually-harassed women seeking revenge. And he woke up to the terrifying reality that he’s now political Kryptonite and the poster-child for widespread failure. 

Trump faces a mountainous uphill battle going forward. Everyone with even a half a brain knows he’s woefully unfit for the presidency and must be removed before he does further harm, and causes death and physical destruction. He’s become a friendless island in a sea of haters. I suspect even his kids and Boy Wonder Jared Kushner are contemplating jumping ship. The only wall he’s truly built is the one between him and everyone else. And it’s rapidly closing in on him. 

The floodgates of condemnation have opened. Consider USA Today, which this morning published an unprecedented blistering, no-holds-barred editorial smackdown of Trump and his massive shortcomings:

"A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush. This isn't about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.
 
The end is near for Trump and his poisonous cocktail of bigotry and intolerance. It’s just a matter of time.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Dear Alabama Voters: The World is Watching


Dear Alabama Voters…

I hope you have an amazing weekend of relaxation and fun times with friends and family. But I also hope you take some time to think about the critical decision you will have to make at the polls on Tuesday.

You may not think of it this way, but your ultimate decision will have tremendous immediate and long-term impact on American politics and culture. And the ripple effect will be felt around the globe.

You are being asked to choose between the Republican candidate, Roy Moore, and his Democratic opponent Doug Jones. On paper, this should be a truly easy choice.

Moore is a former Alabama state court judge and Supreme Court chief justice who was twice-removed from the bench over various ethics violations. He’s also been accused of sexually-molesting a 14-year-old girl and has been accused by at least eight other women of sexual-assault, including attempted rape.  

But Moore’s alleged sexual transgressions are not the only stain on his integrity, resume and fitness for office. He’s also on record with several highly controversial, incendiary religious, racist and homophobic statements.

Earlier this year he was asked at a campaign rally his opinion on when the last time America was “great:”

"I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another…Our families were strong, our country had a direction." 

So Moore thinks America has not been “great” since human beings, black human beings, were enslaved. Enslaved by white men. Please let that sink in.

Moore’s hatred of gays and lesbians is also clear, evidenced by a solid track-record of attempting to deny the LGBTQ community its basic civil and human rights.

"I think homosexuality should be illegal,” Moore declared.

When you consider that roughly two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, we’d be hard-pressed to find many people who share Moore’s incredibly backward position that homosexuality should be illegal.

Moore’s also blurred the lines between separation of church and state; believes we should have a Christian government; and claimed that God was upset at America because "we legitimize sodomy" and "legitimize abortion."

And when referring to billionaire businessman and liberal donor George Soros, a Jew, Moore said this week:

"He's still going to the same place that people who don't recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that's not a good place." 

Jones is a lawyer and former Unites States prosecutor who’s put away countless criminals including Ku Klux Klan murderers. He’s pro-business; supports a strong military and national defense; advocates improving public education, raising the minimum wage, and providing affordable healthcare, including retaining protections such as guaranteed coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions; and cares about the environment, the air we breath and the water we drink. He supports the Paris Climate Agreement.

Jones is also a church-going family man with three children who’s lived an unblemished personal life. When you open Moore’s closet a tsunami of skeletons hits you. Jones’s closet is skeleton-free. 

It’s hard to argue that a vote between Moore and Jones is a vote between a liar, racist and sexual-abuser who believes in the standard conservative policies that enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class… and an honest man with incredible integrity who serves his country in defending its laws and who believes in using government to support and empower average citizens in achieving the American dream.

It’s hard to argue that a vote between Moore and Jones is a vote between right and wrong.  Between good and evil. Between country and party.

And no, I did not forget to note that Jones is pro-choice. I’d be quite disingenuous if I intentionally omitted this significant fact. I simply saved it for last because I believe it to be at the heart of whatever agonizing dilemma Alabama voters may be experiencing.

So Alabama, I want to appeal to your sense of decency. The kind that I truly believe is in your heart, your soul and your mind. I can understand, accept and respect how meaningfully the abortion issue speaks to you in a very passionate, emotional, fundamental way. But will you let this singular issue dictate your decision? Will you ultimately choose a lying, self-serving, sexual-abusing, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic racist simply because he’s not a Democrat who believes women, not men, should control what happens to their bodies?

And so I want to especially appeal to you women of Alabama. This election is about you. It’s about voting for someone who respects women and who will fight to protect you from sexual harassers and abusers. And it’s about not sending an accused child-molester and sexual predator to the most exclusive, most powerful political body in the world. One who is endorsed by the admitted sexual-abuser and accused rapist who sits in the Oval Office.  You can make the difference on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

This Jew Says "YES!" to Saving Christmas!

Enough is enough! It’s time! This all-out assault on Christmas has to end. 

I’ve gotta be honest. As a Jew, and as someone who abhors religious persecution of any kind, I’ve been shocked by the virtual disappearance of Christmas. Been asking myself, “Where the hell did it go!? It’s become so invisible that it appears almost entirely lost from American culture. 

And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve become inundated with all this Hannukah crap that society’s been ramming down our throats. Seriously, between Labor Day and New Year's that's all I see and hear....Hannukah, Hannukah, Hannukah. Every single day. Everywhere I go. "What are you doing for Hannukah?" friends, co-workers and even strangers ask. “What are you getting the kids for Hannukah?” And, "Did you get all your Hannukah shopping done!?" People on the street gleefully wish me a “Happy Hannukah!” Why do they automatically assume I'm Jewish? (must be the under-pronounced nose and the unblemished golden skin) 

And if I get invited to one more office Hannukah party, or if I see one more damned "Happy Hannukah" sign, dreidel or Hannukah bush in one more retail store, I think I'm gonna convert to Christianity just out of protest! Oy, how I long for just one wreath! Some tinsel. Maybe some red somewhere. Just one day of walking around and you’d get the feeling that we’re a nation comprised of only Jews. 

I feel really bad for all my Christian friends. That they have to be subjected to this kind of insensitivity is just so unfair! All they really want to do is celebrate their own holiday and not feel alienated from the rest of the country, yet Christmas has become utterly drowned out by the Festival of Lights. It’s eight days of torture for them. 

So, I’d like to thank Donald Trump for being our brave general in the War on Christmas (even though he started it), and for his biblical effort to save this joyous holiday from the depths of irrelevance and obscurity.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Dear America: A Message From Your President

(an update from my 12/1 post)
Dear Fellow Americans...

What a week that was, huh!? Just when you think things can’t get worse, they do! Jeb Bush predicted “chaos,” but I don’t think he could ever imagine just how chaotic it would get! 

I’m gonna be honest with you which, as you know, isn’t my strong suit. Things are pretty messed up right now. I’m scared. Terrified, in fact. My former campaign manager’s been indicted, my former National Security Advisor just plead guilty to lying to the FBI, and he’s now singing like a canary in a karaoke bar. Then there’s my former aides Richard Gates, also indicted, and George Papadopoulos, also pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. And it’s just the beginning. I think my kids and Jared might end up in prison. It’s all crumbling. 

I know I’ve called the Russia investigation a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” and nothing but “fake news.” But, you don’t believe that shit, do you? Believe me, Mueller scares me more than General Kelly...and Kelly’s one scary dude! He reminds me of my cold, mean dad. I crap my pants just hearing his footsteps. So, I’m screwed, believe me. 

It’s obvious that my presidency’s as out-of-control as a New Jersey Housewives episode. You could almost see me and Rex Tillerson sluggin’ it out in the White House, right? Except that would never happen...because I’m not a fighter. I only talk tough. Remember Vietnam and the “bone spurs?” That was a good one daddy and his doctor concocted. Why do you think I love hangin’ around all those generals? Makes me feel strong and military-like...like that shit rubs off or something. But we all know I’m just a scared little child. A manbaby. Twitter is my Uzi. What these tiny little fingers can do with 280 characters! Watch out women, disabled people and military widows...I’m a digital warrior! But when I’m face-to-face? I cower like a frightened rat. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I really don’t give a shit about you, America, or anything or anyone but myself. I’m a slave to my rapacious ego. My Narcissistic Personality Disorder is swallowing me whole. The depth of my insecurity and self-loathing is staggering. I’m 71. This leopard ain’t changing his spots. It’s only gonna get worse...believe me. (Though I probably shouldn't call myself a leopard...Donnie Jr and Eric might shoot me). 

I’m a political train-wreck. I cozy up to Russia, Nazi’s, white supremacists, the KKK, brutal dictators, Britain First and accused child-molesters and sexual abusers (of which I am one) while I disrespect and demean our allies, our judiciary, our intelligence community, veterans, the media and my own cabinet and staff. I lie to you 24/7. And, I’m utterly obsessed with Barack Obama. Honestly? I’m so jealous of that guy it’s killing me. Great wife, kids, reputation and people love him. And he accomplished so much. I hate him!

I say all the time that I’ve accomplished so much, but I know I haven’t done anything but sign executive orders undoing everything that Afro-Hawaiian guy did. Tax reform? We’ll see what those Republican idiots in Congress will do. They can’t even agree on what to order for lunch. And that Supreme Court justice? Does anyone really think I did that? First of all, you can thank that thief McConnell for it. I gotta admit: I’ve done some pretty shady shit in my life, but stealing that seat from Obama was a beautiful, beautiful thing! And, does anyone think any other Republican president wouldn’t have appointed a conservative justice? I did what anyone would’ve done. But you know how much I crave praise, so I'll happily take credit for it, believe me.

The craziest thing is that I have us on the verge of nuclear war and even that isn’t enough to stop me! As crazy as Kim Jong Un is, he’s Churchill compared to me! I’m about to send our soldiers to die (the sons and daughters of my BASE!) because I’m thin-skinned, lack discipline control and wouldn’t know diplomacy if it smacked me in my orange head. 

And my sinking popularity...oy! Everyone hates me! There’s just different levels of hatred. There’s liberals, who hate me outright. There’s the Republican leadership and Congress, which hates me but can’t publicly admit it. There’s conservatives, who hate me but love tax cuts more. There’s evangelicals, who hate me for reminding them that they’re shameless hypocrites who hide behind the cloak of God. There’s my team—Kelly, Tillerson, McMaster, Mattis, Cohn, etc— which hates me but fears what I’d do if they weren’t around. And then there’s the base. They hate themselves, which explains how they could still support me. But, make no mistake: no one hates me more than me. 

So I really gotta ask: what the hell is wrong with you people?! Are you ever gonna try to get rid of me? Will I ever be impeached? Indicted? Or removed from office by that stupid 25th Amendment thing? What will it finally take for you to say ‘Enough!?’ What more can I do to prove I’m a dangerous buffoon who’s so BIGLY unfit for office?

Will it all come down to Mueller’s investigation? This whole “Russia thing?” Hmmm...maybe it’s time to call Vlad and “WIK-ee-leaks” and see what they’ve got on Mueller...

Signed,
Your President

Friday, December 01, 2017

An Open Letter to America From Donald Trump

Dear Fellow Americans...

What a week, huh!? Are ya havin’ fun yet? This is the kind of “chaos” Jeb Bush could never dream of! Yet here I am...still standing. Still president. “President.” Wow. I never tire of hearing me say that about me. But I’ll be honest which, as you know, isn’t my strong suit. I’m more shocked than you are that I still have this job. Believe me... 

My presidency’s as out-of-control as a New Jersey Housewives episode. You could almost see me and Rex Tillerson sluggin’ it out in the White House, right? Except that would never happen...because I’m not a fighter. I only talk tough. Remember Vietnam and the “bone spurs?” That was a good one daddy and his doctor concocted. Why do you think I love hangin’ around all those generals? Makes me feel strong and military-like...like that shit rubs off or something. But we all know I’m just a scared little child. A manbaby. Twitter is my Uzi. What these tiny little fingers can do with 280 characters! Watch out women, disabled people and military widows...I’m a digital warrior! But when I’m face-to-face? I cower like a frightened rat. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I really don’t give a shit about you. Or America. Or anything or anyone but myself. Not even my wife and kids. Do you see how I treat Melania? How I’m destroying my kids’ careers and lives and the legacy of my grandkids and future generations of Trumps? I can’t help myself. Remember ”I’m the only one that matters!” and “I alone”? I’m a slave to my rapacious ego. My Narcissistic Personality Disorder is swallowing me whole. The depth of my insecurity and self-loathing is staggering. And I’m never gonna change. It’s only getting worse...believe me...

I cozy up to Russia, Nazi’s, white supremacists, the KKK, brutal dictators, Britain First and accused child-molesters and sexual abusers (of which I am one) while I disrespect and demean our allies, our judiciary, our intelligence community, veterans, the media and my own cabinet and staff. I lie to you 24/7. And, I’m utterly obsessed with Barack Obama. Honestly? I’m so jealous of that guy it’s killing me. Great wife, kids, reputation and people love him. And he accomplished so much. I hate him!

Me? I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing in 10 months...except piss all over the Constitution, the rule of law and turned America upset down and made it the joke of the universe. Welcome to Trump’s fascist state!

It doesn’t even seem to bother you that I have us on the verge of nuclear war. As crazy as Kim Jong Un is, he’s Churchill compared to me! I’m about to send our soldiers to die (the sons and daughters of my BASE!) because I’m thin-skinned, lack discipline control and wouldn’t know diplomacy if it smacked me in my orange head. 

Everyone hates me. There’s just different levels of hatred. There’s liberals, who hate me outright. There’s the Republican leadership and Congress, which hates me but can’t publicly admit it. There’s conservatives, who hate me but love tax cuts more. There’s evangelicals, who hate me for reminding them that they’re shameless hypocrites who hide behind the cloak of God. There’s my team—Kelly, Tillerson, McMaster, Cohn, etc— which hates me but fears what I’d do if they weren’t around. And then there’s the base. They hate themselves, which explains how they could still support me. But, make no mistake: no one hates me more than me. 

So I really gotta ask: what the hell is wrong with you people?! Are you ever gonna try to get rid of me? Will I ever be impeached? Indicted? Or removed from office by that stupid 25th Amendment thing? What will it finally take for you to say ‘Enough!?’ What more can I do to prove I’m a dangerous buffoon who’s so BIGLY unfit for office?

Will it all come down to Mueller’s investigation? This whole “Russia thing?” Hmmm...maybe it’s time to call Vlad and “Wik-ee-leaks” and see what they’ve got on Mueller...

Signed,
Your President


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Bully in the Pulpit

It is common to cite the power of the United States presidency in terms of using its valuable bully pulpit to share a vision and push an agenda. In the case of Donald Trump it’s much more literal. There is an actual bully in the pulpit. And he’s completely squandered the political currency and power that typically comes with this prestigious office. Instead, the Bully-in-Chief has sent his administration and his party swirling in an out-of-control vortex of chaos and failure.

The Bully was on display again this week at a ceremony in the Oval Office honoring Navajo veterans of World War II where he uttered a racist slur once again to attack his progressive nemesis Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“You were here long before any of us were here,” The Bully said to three uniformed vets. “Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” 

First of all, the statement doesn’t even make sense. That Warren was here “a long time ago” is a total Trumpian incoherent non-sequitur. Next, who’s this “they” he was referring to? No one calls Warren “Pochahontas” except The Bully

Lastly, and most significant, can The Bully have been any more insensitive and tone-deaf in using this slur at... a fucking ceremony honoring Native Americans?! Especially while standing in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president? Perhaps someone on The Bully’s history-bankrupt, swamp-dwelling staff should’ve reminded him that it was Jackson who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, through which 20-million acres of Indian territory was stolen and upwards of 25,000 died while en route West after being displaced and relocated. 

The remark was quickly condemned by Native American leaders.

“For Indian Country, which has a very high level of participation in the military and veterans’ service, it was a real honor to be at that event today,” said Jacqueline Pata, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, “and it is unfortunate that it was used as an opportunity to once again try to use the word Pocahontas in a negative way towards a political adversary.”

But that didn’t stop The Bully’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, from denying that his comment was a racial slur...instead attempting to re-direct the focus onto what she claimed is the real issue. 

“What most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.” A bit ironic that she works for someone who’s pathologically lied his way into the the most powerful job on the planet. 

Call me crazy, but when it comes to a choice between Native Americans and Sanders on whether a term is derogatory and offensive to Native Americans...I think I’m gonna go with the Native Americans.

To be sure, The Bully’s wrath is felt way beyond the reservation. He bullies women, gays, beauty pageant winners, blacks, Mexicans, Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants, Gold Star mothers and wives, the disabled, his opponents, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, the cast of Hamilton, NFL players, UCLA basketball players and their fathers, the media, judges, the intelligence community, foreign mayors, our allies and his own staff/cabinet to name a few. 

The only people he doesn’t bully? Our enemies, especially his puppet master Vladimir Putin. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, whom he instead normalizes and empowers. And accused child-molesters such as Roy Moore, who he endorses for the U.S. Senate. 

But as many psychologists believe, The Bully’s misguided appeal and popularity—and reign of terror— will likely be very short-lived and, according to current polling and overall dissatisfaction even among The Bully’s base, his days appear numbered...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This Accused "Mansplainer" is Attacked for Defending Alleged Victims


I wrote a piece this week about the counter-intuitiveness of liberal women defending accused sexual-harasser Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). Since then I’ve been accused of “mansplaining.” Of being “condescending.” And of being “wrong.” All because I’ve chosen on the surface to accept and believe the accusations made against Franken by Leann Tweeden and Lindsay Menz. That they’re telling the truth until an investigation might prove otherwise. Shame on me, right?

I’m stunned by this backlash, especially from so many liberal women, for simply defending alleged victims. It’s a curious phenomenon I never expected. Throughout this tsunami of sexual abuse scandals I’ve vehemently and unconditionally supported any women who’s come forward, giving her the benefit of the doubt and believing her story, especially against a backdrop of prominent abusers who’ve been dropping like flies. Let’s be honest: it’s not such a stretch to assume they’re telling the truth given what we now know.

Sexual harassment and abuse is a subject that hits home for me. My late wife, actor/filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, was a victim. My girlfriend was a victim. I have three daughters. I cringe at the thought that they’d ever be victims. Much of my writing and social media postings have highlighted the tipping point we’re now experiencing and the desperate need to make women feel even safer in coming forward.

But what I never expected was the onslaught of ‘slut-shaming’ and convoluted conspiracy rhetoric coming from liberal women against other women claiming to be victims. I wasn’t prepared for the exact same excusing, justifying and denying coming from those on the left who’ve been the loudest voices condemning those on the right for the exact same enabling. All because the accused harasser is progressive icon Franken. Someone they love, admire, respect and agree with politically.

Sadly, women like Tweeden and Menz are now being mercilessly assaulted yet again. There’s an unconscionable character assassination campaign taking place to discredit and delegitimize them simply because of what they do for a living, how ‘sexual’ they may be, what they wear or which party they support. Are these attacks supposed to make other women feel safe in coming forward? This type of attack is exactly why women have found it so difficult to come forward in the past.

Below is a sampling of the astounding comments from the internet judge and jury regarding the accusations against Franken and Menz. Keep in mind these statements are made by liberal women:

“This was a comedy bit gone wrong. He never touched her. I don’t think this rises to the level of sexual harassment. Seems much ado about nothing...let’s focus on the real predators out there.”

“The whole thing was performative, on a comedy tour, where she played the part of the sex object.”

She grabbed the ass of the bass player.

“They were on a comedy tour where it appears much of the humor centered on humping each other.... he wasn’t CAUGHT on camera. He was performing for the camera. Context is important here.”

“He didn’t touch her and was goofing for the camera.”

It was a “stupid one-off joke by a comedian who is purposefully goofing off.”

“If we were to get rid of all men for being clueless and annoying, there would be none left. In this particular case, I am not so sure that Franken deserves anything worse than to be called an idiot.” 

“The photos from the tour establish the context in which lewd jokes were the norm, and she participated.”

“She was the focus of sexual jokes throughout the show and chose to be.”

“Her connections and subsequent book deal make me doubt her motives. It’s not a stretch to think Republicans would use this moment...”

“She wants attention, I have no question about that.”

The pic of Menz and Franken is “a hack job....I enlarged it and saw that it was Photoshopped to put their heads closer together.” 

“The farce continues. makes a mockery of real abuse victims.

“What’s happening now is starting to seem like a witch hunt.” 

“I’m just not convinced it’s assault.”

“This woman was not sexually harassed. No way no how no matter what she says she lacks credibility. Period.”

Well, here’s some more mansplaining for ya ladies: the only opinions that matter are those of the women who claim they were sexually harassed or assaulted. You’ve chosen not to believe them. I have. That’s the difference between us.

I would suggest that perhaps you’re guilty of “womansplaining.” That’s when condescending women who have no idea what they’re talking about, because they weren’t there, arrogantly tell an alleged abuse victim that she’s either lying, is a paid shill or is too stupid to know a good “joke” when she sees one.

And I want to make one final, albeit graphic point which obviously and unfortunately appears still needed to be made... and made to too many women:

A woman could be in a sex club in the middle of a wild orgy, having raunchy, kinky sex with five men. A sixth man walks over and wants to join. She says no. He gets angry and assaults her. The culpability lies with him, not her. It doesn’t matter what she’s doing, where she’s doing it, who she’s screwing, how many she’s screwing, if she’s a slut, a nymphomaniac or a prostitute. Optics, perception and circumstance don’t matter, nor do they justify the assault and/or make her a less credible victim. She’s the only who decides who touches her and when. Her body, her decision. Always. Period.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Notasbadism": Why Are Liberal Women Defending Al Franken?

In the wake of all the sexual harassment and abuse scandals of the past couple of months it’s become popular opinion that we’ve finally reached a ‘tipping point.’ That we’re experiencing a transcendent moment in our culture when women can finally feel safe coming forward with their allegations of assault. But I’m not so sure.

A strange but not entirely surprising phenomenon is occurring involving the accusations against the Democratic Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken. I am astounded at the level of blind partisanship coming from some on the left—in particular, women—in defense of Franken. They’re engaging in “slut-shaming” his initial accuser, radio personality Leanne Tweedon, while also discrediting his latest alleged victim, Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old Texan who claims she was groped by Franken in 2010. 

The hypocrisy is stunning. These same people who condemn Republicans for choosing party over morality are minimizing, or worse, denying, Franken’s alleged behavior because he’s their progressive hero and need him in the Senate. This suggests that sexual harassment is ok, and the accusers are liars (part of a vast right-wing conspiracy), when it’s ‘our guy.’ 

Even more astounding is when this shameless partisan shilling comes despite an admission of some guilt and shame, coupled with an apology, from the accused, as in Franken’s case. 

Here’s a sampling of tweets I’ve received: 

“God dammit, another one? And didn't his last accuser get found out about groping people herself?”

“The farce continues. makes a mockery of real abuse victims.

A woman on Facebook even went so far as to say “what’s happening now is starting to seem like a witch hunt.” 

Another said "he's been railroaded."

And yet another claims the pic of Menz with Franken is “a hack job....I enlarged it and saw that it was Photoshopped to put their heads closer together.” 

Others cling to the perception that Franken “only did this once.” (this was prior to the latest allegation).

And the question that is most infuriating is, “Do you really think what Franken did is as bad as what Donald Trump and Roy Moore did? 

Who “Tweedon groped,” or what she wears, what she does for a living or how overtly sexual she is has nothing, I repeat, nothing, to do with whether or not Franken harassed or assaulted her. Let’s take this to an extreme: prostitutes and porn stars screw for a living. By this convoluted logic, do they therefore have less of a right than a librarian to claim they were raped? Should we discredit them because of the work they do? Doesn’t that perpetuate the “they were asking for it” mentality while also empowering men to abuse them more because no one will believe these “sluts?”

How the hell does anyone know whether Menz is any less a “real” victim? Is she not credible simply because their beloved Al Franken is the accused violator? Can they not fathom how a progressive icon and champion of women’s issues like Franken could perhaps be a sexual predator? Are they spinning off their moral center because none of it this fits their elitist liberal narrative? 

Is it only a “witch hunt” the minute someone on ‘our team’ is accused?

And does it really matter whether an abuser committed ‘just one’ crime? Does it make the harassment any less vile and traumatic and worthy of consequence? And, haven’t we learned by now that this type of deviant behavior is never just limited to ‘one’ incident? 

Lastly—and please, fellow liberals, I know you’re smart and can comprehend this—not all sexual harassment and abuse is the same. Telling sex jokes in front of women is one form. Being sexually suggestive is another. Then there’s various degrees of unwanted physical contact, and of course rape. 

It’s utterly irrelevant whether what Franken’s accused of is “as bad as” as what other alleged abusers including Donald Trump, Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein have done. When did sexual abuse become a contest? When did it become ok to excuse or justify abhorrent behavior because someone else did something worse? Do we let muggers go because they’re “not as bad as bank robbers?” The nanosecond this thinking enters the conversation the conversation gets muddied. 

Bill Maher’s coined a phrase called “Whataboutism.” It’s when the surrogates of an accused politician defend their guy with something like, “well what about what Bill Clinton did?” Apparently they’ve never heard the old adage two wrongs don’t make a right. We’re also now witnessing “Notasbadism.” This is when abusive behavior is mitigated by irrelevant comparisons to other, more severe offenses: ‘Well, it’s not like Franken molested a child, right?!...’ 

To be sure, we’re still experiencing a tipping point. There’s a palpable shift in the balance of power. More and more women are coming forward, and more and more men are being held accountable for their despicable behavior. But we run a grave risk of undermining this incredible #MeToo movement when we once again fall into a pattern of discrediting and attacking the accusers. It’ll just keep them feeling unsafe in going public. 

Tweedon and Menz are part of the solution, not the problem. Their honesty, integrity and character cannot be questioned or impugned. If it is, then we’re right back to where we were before the floodgates opened. We must welcome, accept and protect these victims regardless of party affiliation. 

So I suggest to my fellow liberals that they ask themselves the following:

“If it was my daughter who was the victim of insensitive jokes, inappropriate sexual suggestions, or a physical sexual assault (be it an unwanted kiss, grab or worse)...would I (a) care if the abuser was liberal or a conservative, (b) care whether or not anyone else was assaulted in a “worse” way; (c) be more forgiving if it was “the only time” the accuser did this, or (d) want anyone to question her credibility because of something she said, did or wore in the past, or what she does for a living?”

I think we know the answer.