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Another one bites the dust
Author: TriSec    Date: 12/09/2017 13:16:27

It's been quite a year.

We're almost at the point where each and every day, I expect somebody else to resign over an imagined slight. It's become clear that if you want to destroy someone in the United States, all you have to do is make the suggestion, and their career is over.

But this is not to denigrate or dismiss those who would make the accusation. "Male Privilege" is deeply ingrained in American culture (along with "White Privilege"), and taken together, these point to a deeply flawed, and indeed, debased society.

It wasn't that long ago that using the term "girl" referred to all women, and not just young females that had not reached the age of majority. Even something as innocent as that now seems archaic and insulting.

But even despite the new openness and acceptance of past transgressions, it's been my feeling this week that we have entered new and dangerous territory. I don't work with young females myself, but rather, young boys. All it would take is one parent to make an accusation, legitimate or not, and my life would be over. In this climate, we are now all presumed guilty, whether or not there are reasonable doubts. How did we even get here?

I initially started this morning with the idea of comparing the two major political parties and their responses to this paradigm shift. It is interesting to look at the lengthy list of political sex scandals throughout our history. As I noted, it's so ingrained in American History that even a handful of the Founding Fathers were not immune.

Alexander Hamilton (F), Secretary of the Treasury, had an affair with Maria Reynolds while both were married to other people (see Hamilton-Reynolds sex scandal). Reynolds' husband blackmailed Hamilton who paid to maintain secrecy. In 1797, when Hamilton no longer held the post of Treasury Secretary, the affair was publicized by journalist James Callender, after which Hamilton publicly apologized. Said Hamilton: "This confession is not made without a blush....I can never cease to condemn myself for the pang which it may inflict in a bosom eminently entitled to all my gratitude, fidelity, and love." (1796)

Thomas Jefferson (DR-VA), President, was publicly accused of fathering the children of his slave Sally Hemings, by journalist James Callender (who had also publicized Alexander Hamilton's affair) in the Jefferson–Hemings controversy. Hemings was the half-sister of Jefferson's late wife Martha, and based partly upon DNA evidence there is now a scholarly consensus that either a relative of Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Jefferson himself fathered several of Sally Hemings' children. In January 2000, a Thomas Jefferson Foundation research committee concluded that all the known evidence indicated with high probability that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston Hemings, and that he was also likely the father of all six of Sally Hemings's children listed in Monticello records. A later report from a Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society committee differed and came to the conclusion that "Randolph" (presumably Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson's grandson; he was known to have been invited to visit Monticello around the time of Estons' conception, but no record of an actual visit has been found) is more likely the father, or possibly that one of Jefferson's Carr nephews is the father.(1802)

2017 has indeed been a watershed year. There are many lists of sex scandals, so we'll just look at the names:

John Conyers (D-MI)
Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)
Eric Massa (D-NY)

As I have pointed out recently, sex scandals can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. But I am struck by the imbalance of 'R' vs. 'D' on this list. Given the current political climate, I am forced to wonder how many of these are real, and how many might just be "Bread and Circuses" dreamed up by the president or his operatives.

Of course this Commonwealth is not immune. Our Senate President has just resigned, and I honestly don't know if this made the national news or not.

The Boston Globe is reporting that four men are accusing the husband of Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg of sexual misconduct.

The newspaper said four men with ties to the State House allege that Bryon Hefner sexually assaulted and harassed them in recent years. Three said Hefner grabbed their genitals and one said Hefner kissed him against his will. The Globe said it has found no evidence that Rosenberg knew about any of the incidents.

The men - who were not identified by the Globe - said they were hesitant to report the assaults because of Rosenberg's influence on Beacon Hill.

Rosenberg, a Democrat from Amherst, has been Senate president since 2015 and has served in the Legislature for 30 years.

In statements issued Thursday, both Hefner and Rosenberg said they were shocked by the allegations.

Hefner said no one has complained to him or any other government authority about the allegations. He said it is "incredibly difficult" to respond to allegations by unnamed individuals.

"This is the first I have heard about these claims," Rosenberg said. "Even though, based on what little I have been told, these allegations do not involve members or employees of the Senate and did not occur in the State House, I take them seriously. To the best of my recollection I was not approached by anyone with complaints during or after the alleged incidents made in this article or I would have tried to intervene."

And yet, despite all of this, the automatic condemnations, presumption of guilt, and the emboldened and empowered victims, there is still one criminal who is able to remain above it all. When will something stick here?


1 comments (Latest Comment: 12/09/2017 16:41:32 by BobR)
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