Washington’s New Reality
As the fires are burning and blowing across Southern California, there are fires a burning in our nation’s capital that even the big bad wolf in the White House cannot blow out. Women are finally taking back their country.
We have a new catch-all term, “sexual misconduct,” to house all the possible sexual assault complaints from grab-ass to rape. The “#MeToo” movement, as it is being called, has taken hold and landed on the cover of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” edition. I have one theory why this is happening now.
When Donald Trump was elected President, millions of people disregarded his sexual misconduct and pulled the lever to force a powerful, yet very disliked, woman out of public life. Mission Accomplished. But from Bill Cosby to Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein to Charlie Rose, from Matt Lauer to even George H.W. Bush, some of the most respected men in our country have been thrown on the pyre of female discontent.
This isn’t a republican problem or a democrat problem. After all, they are biologically the same. This modern suffragette force will not be stopped by double standards, hypocrisies or lies. Business, especially public companies, want to limit their liability in wrongful dismissal cases, whereas government houses attempt to protect their members to maintain the illusion of the institution’s sanctity. The cloak and dagger determination these men display is nothing short of codified sexism.
But why do these things happen in the first place? The root of this can be found in the phrase, “Let Trump Be Trump.” It’s the empowerment of an already empowered man. Trump’s harangues about political correctness and saying whatever he wants has been translated into a permission slip for the men of America. That little tag, “And when you’re a celebrity, they let you do whatever you want!” in the Access Hollywood tape is the embodiment of male dominance and privilege taking. It’s based on a fantasy that such behavior is what women really want. In most cases, however, it is not what they want, and the sooner men learn this, the quicker this problem will fade away. As one of my old bosses used to say decades ago about women who worked in the office, “If you sleep with her, you gotta marry her.” Not that liberating, but actually good advice.
I laughed out loud when I heard a male “talking head” on TV this morning (12-8-2017), say that the accusation against Trent Franks, one of the most conservative House members from Arizona, is not sexual harassment. Franks, who has now said he will resign, claimed he asked female employees to bear his child as a surrogate.
The guidelines are clear: a person in authority, usually a supervisor, demands that subordinates tolerate sexual harassment as a condition of getting or keeping a job or job benefit, including promotions and raises. A single instance of harassment is sufficient to sustain a quid pro quo claim. And harassment is grounds for legal action when the conduct is unwelcome, based on sex, and severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive, offensive or hostile work environment.
It’s rather mystifying that men who want to use their power over women, seem to be the ones most vocally against legal abortions. This is another indication that their psychological makeup drives their need to control women, claiming they know what is best for a female.
Once Trent’s two staffers said that his discussion made them uncomfortable, that made it unwelcome. And you cannot get anything more “based on sex” than reproduction. The mere fact he thought it was okay to discuss this in the workplace shows that the United States Congress has no training on working environment policies and laws.
Franks admits to his request or, at least, suggestion that these workers think about being surrogates for the Congressperson and his wife. And because what he says will be a media circus during an investigation, he is leaving Congress in January 2018. Or is there more under the rock?
Don’t feel sorry for this goofball. Since Trent Franks has joined Congress his net worth has jumped by about $25 million and, according to OpenSecrets.org, his net worth was calculated at over $33 million in 2010. He also takes a $174,000 salary from the government. See the writer’s note below.
All the payments and settlements that took place in Congress over the last 20 years should be made public. They can redact the victim’s names, but we taxpayers have a right to know how our money has been spent. We need full transparency going forward and a system at least as potent as most corporate governance policies demand. A person filing a complaint shouldn’t feel that retaliation is part of the process, as they do now.
Al Franken might be the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb this week, but there will be more men brought to the town square to be judged. And with each one, we will see swift justice because women in America have been waiting too long to get their piece of the pie. The power being wielded now is rather remarkable. It just might convince men, on both sides of the aisle, to take notice and stop exploiting the women around them. If not, as that great philosopher from New York said recently, “There’s a Special Place in Hell for Child Abusers!” What Ivanka Trump failed to add is that there is also a special place for men in Congress who are guilty of sexual misconduct, back home.
NOTE: Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62, if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50, if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary. Because Trent Franks resigned before being brought up on charges, he will be getting at least $139,000 annually for the rest of his life. Under the laws passed by Congress, that money cannot be touched no matter they did. Even O.J. Simpson gets his pension.
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New Book about Terrorism
One of the most eye-opening stories about terrorism. The famous cable TV talk show host, Jonas Bronck, leaves New York on his quest to find truth. He finds himself in the middle of terror and personal torment in the name of journalism. He once again asks, If God Could Cry, would he be crying for us, or with us?
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