November 26, 2017

Sunday School 11/26/17

I only visited one classroom today -- Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace at the helm. Today, Wallace and the gang were mostly talking about sexual harassment allegations - both generally and specifically.

One of the guests was former Presidential candidate and HP CEO Carly Fiorina, about whom our current president said:
Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, shes a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?
Wallace asked Fiorina about Trump's changing positions on Judge Roy Moore. Initially, he said that if the allegations were true, Moore should step aside. That became well, Moore denied the allegations, which were from 40 years ago, and he deserves to be heard. Which has now become this:


Fiorina's answer was spot on.
Well, that's politics, isn't it, Chris? This is all about politics and that's why when politicians talk about this, it doesn't have a lot of credibility.  This has been going on in politics for a very long time. Democrats try and defend their own. Republicans try and defend their own. It's a little bit like George Washington warned us 200 years ago. The problem with politics and political parties is they care about winning above all else. Donald Trump cares about a vote in the Senate, no more, no less.
Wallace followed up by wondering what should happen to Moore, and to Senator Al Franken and Representative John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress. Franken has apologized for his conduct; Conyers paid a settlement (from his campaign funds) but has denied all of the allegations against him; both are awaiting ethics investigations. Fiorina's response?
Well, first of all, this behavior goes on all the time. It has for a long time, unfortunately. In politics, in the workplace, in athletics, and when we politicize it -- it's not my team vs your team, Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty of it. 
I tell you the most helpful thing would be for Congress to change its own process and procedures If someone wants to come forward and allege harassment or abuse in Congress, they must go through a mandatory 30 days of counseling, mandatory mediation led by a lawyer whose express purpose is to protect the institution, and then maybe if they're lucky the get a secret settlement paid for by taxpayers from the Treasury.
That whole process is designed to protect politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, to protect the institution and make it next to impossible for a women, or in some cases a young male page, to come forward. That ought to change, that would actually help.
When Wallace asked if  someone should resign just because there were allegations, Fiorina noted that it isn't just one woman coming forward, it's multiple women. Then, she raised the complicity aspect of so many of these cases.
And I think what's most - I think what we all need to think about, but particularly men need to think about, and in virtually all these cases, people knew. People knew this was going on. You can't tell me that no one knew what was going on with Roy Moore and John Conyers or Al Franken or Charlie Rose or Roger Ailes or Howard Weinstein. People knew. Men knew and women knew.
And so, while we all express outrage now and people say, should they step down or should they not, I think the question going forward is, when are we going to stop tolerating this behavior and respecting the men who do it? Because all of these men have been respected, despite the fact that people knew. 
And, she called on men to stop respecting their peers who do this - because that's the only way anything is going to change.
Men, not most, but enough, abuse their positions of power in return for sex. And what happens is, women step up but men continue, unfortunately, in too many instances to respect the men who are behaving this way. Every single one of the men who has been exposed in the last several weeks has been respected. And so, I think men need to decide, 'I'm not going to respect a man who disrespects women. I'm going to withhold my respect from him, unless he respects others' - that will be a watershed moment.
As you might expect, Fiorina has her own experiences with abusive men, stories of what happened to her or to her friends or coworkers. It's not pretty, as many women can confirm. She described feelings of rage which led to her vowing never to feel that way again.
So, yes, women go through all of these emotions and unfortunately, many of the women who have come forward recently didn't feel they were in a position to confront because the men had power over them, the power of their career, the power of their future. These women, when you watch them come forward, they obviously feel humiliated. They are embarrassed, it's not easy. 
Women have been coming forward for decades. The point of my post (which you can read here) was it to say it's men's turn now.
Wallace closed the interview by asking about Trump's comment about Fiorina, and more recent ones about how wonderful women are and that it's good they're coming forward. Wallace asked her which was the real Donald Trump.
Oh, you know, we could endlessly analyze Donald Trump. What I focus on always is someone's behavior, how do they behave? Are they leading or are they not leading?
I don't think he has (met the test of leadership ) often enough. He won't be the first president to fail the test of leadership, and he won't be the last, unfortunately.
Proving Fiorina's point about politicians talking about sexual harassment not having a lot of credibility was Wallace's next guest, Senator John Thune (R-SD), head of the Republican Conference.

Thune was asked about Trump's tweet, which I shared above, and whether Trump is a disappointment now that he's siding with Moore. Thune's response, in all its glory, is below (with some emphasis added).
Well, I would like to see the president, Chris, come out and support what many of us have said, and that is that Roy Moore needs to step aside, allow somebody else to be a write-in candidate. We can win that seat. 
He is right. If a Democrat wins, it's going to be a vote for the Pelosi-Schumer agenda, which is going to be against tax reform, against constitutional judges, against smart borders. 
But the other alternative is, if Roy Moore wins and he comes into the Senate in January, there's going to immediately be an ethics investigation, which is going to be a cloud that he'll be operating in, and it's going to be a distraction for us and for our agenda
So, you know, ultimately the decision's up to the people of Alabama, but it strikes me at least that it would be in their best interest and in the country's best interest, and certainly the best interest of our agenda, if the president would use his influence to try and get Roy Moore to step aside. 
 Notice no mention of the women who came forward? No mention of  Moore's behavior? No mention of not wanting an accused child molester representing the Republican party? No mention of having to serve with someone with Moore's ethical issues, aside from the sex abuse charges?

Nope. Just we, us, our agenda, a distraction, our agenda, our agenda. Fiorina is so right with her assessment.

See you around campus.

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