While local news is the focus of Vinton Today, I also keep an eye on what's happening around the nation, especially in politics. I don't know why it fascinates me as it does but it does. And usually, it disgusts me.
When Andrew Cumo was accused this week of sexual harassment by several women, it's sad to say that I didn't even have a reaction. Why? Because it's normal to hear about it all the time with politicians. On the heels of that thought, my next thought was, "nothing will happen, it never does."
That thought is worse than not being moved by the initial report. But it seems to be true that if you are in that higher tax bracket, and you have clout in the political arena, you can do whatever you want and there are no consequences. Any woman working in politics needs a course in karate and should carry pepper spray and use them.
In Cuomo's skeevy response to the allegations, he had a video compiled of him kissing everyone, men, women, actors, and Joe six pack, everyone but the family dog, correction, everyone but the neighbor's dog. I guess this is supposed to make it okay. Now, I admit, I'm not even into random hugs and you can bet I'm not into random kissing. As I watched parts of his slide show it convinced me that the guy has no boundaries. I didn't even get through the whole thing before I shut it off. His behavior is not normal.
I can see why he thought that it was okay to touch women and make sleazy comments to them. No one has slugged him yet. Not a single woman slapped him, not one dad or husband punched the sucker in the nose. Of course, no one would, he is after all the creepy governor and with that title, it would be like accusing Bill Clinton of being inappropriate with an intern while in the Oval Office. No one would believe you, and even if it was proven, your life would be ruined, not his mind you, but yours would be. Women learned this as we watched Monica Lewinsky being dragged through the mud in 1995 and for decades afterward. Nevermind, that Bill had control here, well not really, but he ran the whole country so a lowly intern is nothing.
At age 22, Lewinsky was impressed that Clinton, the President of the United States wanted her. Never mind that she should have done what Joseph in the Bible did and ran the other way, but she didn't. So yes, her involvement was to blame as well, at the same time, as a country, we let Bill Clinton off. We used to hold leaders to a higher standard. Then we did the whole touchy-feely thinking course, and decided that "leaders are just human," wink, wink.
In 2019, almost 25 years later, stories of his escapades with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein came to light. Well, let me rephrase that since I'm not feeling suicidal. In 2019 when Epstein was arrested, "hints" of Clinton's involvement with him and underage girls were again brought to light. And as usual, the country winked at it and said, "It's Bill."
Our society has lost the men who will stand up against other men and defend their women and children. But then women have said, "We can take care of ourselves." Then we dare any man to stand up and try to help us.
Ladies, it applies to us. I've known some women that are the kind that you don't leave your men around. It's okay to say, "that woman is evil." I've known some that you didn't leave your sons around too. I have no problem saying keep your husband and sons away from her.
When you have men in power, there isn't a single man that will stand up and say, "That's not right," to another man, we're in trouble. They will say it behind the scenes, but not in public. In public, they will make excuses for their counterpart's behavior. They excuse it with a "that's just the way they are." As if this somehow makes their behavior okay.
When a woman stands up and says, "this is not right," you get a wink and assurances that the leadership agrees that this is wrong, but nothing happens. That is not leadership.
The church world is in the same boat. We wrap "forgiveness" around everything and forget that leadership is different than being forgiven. We've seen scumbags, in the pulpit get by with breaking some of the 10 commandments which are the obvious infractions in a church. We wink at things that, well, they don't seem right, "but we're all human." We NEVER say, "this doesn't feel right, it needs to stop," because, well, that would just be too judgy. Then we're somehow shocked when decades later something really bad happens. And, of course, we say that we didn't have a clue. We had a clue, often hundreds of them, but we're too wimpy to stand up.
Our society has gotten so used to not hurting anyone's feelings that it carries over into allowing predators the ability to do as they please. Predators understand that it is socially unacceptable to make a stink. They know that anyone who stands up and says, "that person hurt me," will be dragged through a certain level of mud for saying that. The person that says, "HELP! A predator!" will be given a wide berth. We usually know when someone is sending off weird vibes, then act shocked when someone says, "that person is weird."
By law, when someone accuses someone of hurting them, you have to give proof. It's not easy, and I'm sure it's gut-wrenching. But if you DON'T you just gave the power to the predator to hurt someone else. Shame on us if we cringe away from anyone who speaks up. Everyone might agree that what happened was wrong, but we won't say it. It's not "proper." This means that the behavior that needs to be called out somehow is more proper than saying it's not.
If you are in a leadership position, then lead! If those under your leadership are morons, deal with them and don't allow them to just, "be Bill." You aren't doing your position any favors. That's not being a leader.
The lack of consequences really gets under my skin. Laws that apply to our lawmakers are written by our lawmakers. So of COURSE, they are written sometimes in a manner that allows them to do as they please, and there's nothing you can do about it...unless you become a lawmaker. As leaders in government, there is following the letter of the law, and there is the intent of the law, which ISN'T the law, but reflects on the leaders.
Bringing it down to other levels, you might be able to get around the law by following the law to the letter, but forgetting the intent of the law. The intent is to make everything appear on the up and up. This is why there are so many laws on the books, we're trying to cover everything because people try to constantly get around the intent.
We have to also stand up and say, "this isn't right" when "this isn't right." In a small town, where everyone knows everyone, and most of the time they are related to you or a friend of yours, we wink and say, "it's just Bill." Stop. Just stop.
The phrase "it's not all black and white, there's always a gray area," will make me almost lose it. There really is not a gray area, not really. There are only gray areas where we are too wimpy to say that things are black and white.
"Jim Bob is a scummy guy," that's black and white. "That's just the way Jim Bob is" is the gray area. "The law says..." is black and white, "but it DOESN'T say so we can..." is the gray area.
If you are a leader, or want to be a leader, make sure your gray lenses get put in the trash. When I think of a gray day, the sun can't get through because something is in the way. Those days create a depressing day. When the sun is out, and everything is clear, things feel right. Bring the sun to your job. Your elected positions. Your appointed positions. Your volunteer positions. Your life in general. It makes things much better for those around you.
Oh, and if you're around Andrew Cuomo or Bill Clinton, hide the wife, hide the kids!