Never thought you’d see those words written here, did you? Can’t say I expected to write them. But they’re true none the less. President Donald Trump is right when he says of the #MeToo movement that “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”
His weekend tweet highlights the nature of allegations we sometimes choose to ignore. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
We may not like the messenger. But the message can’t be ignored. Our nations bandwagon mindset may be at its worst in what is becoming a ruthless #metoo movement. Where men in particular are guilty simply because they’re men. Kinda reminds me of the ultimately retracted allegation against Emit Till.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) a leader in Congress’ internal effort to combat sexual harassment, says “her stomach turned” (really) when she saw Trumps Saturday tweet. She went on to say “The new mantra (?) is ‘We believe the women,’ and he is frozen in ‘I believe the men,’” Speier said in an interview. “He’s beyond rehabilitation in my view.” What a revealing admission. What if the man is telling the truth? Is he wrong just because he’s a man? What kind of sexism is that? Are we so caught up in getting someone back that we will destroy the similarly accused who had nothing to do with what happened to us?
So what if he’s right? What if Trump is the only person willing to say something is wrong here. Scary isn’t it? A counter culture aberration? This clarion tweet comes on the heels of two Trump aides being forced to leave their White House posts while denying claims by ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse.
Never thought I’d have to say it. But what we are participating in is radically Un-American. Sexual harassment in the work place should be eradicated among men and women. No one is dealing with women who do the same thing in their own way. Men don’t usually speak of such work place truths. Yet there are many women in positions of power who can make sexually aggressive men seem tame by comparison.
I once worked in a newsroom like that. Where infidelity was a cultural norm. The practice was started by a man who worked there years before. But those who carry it on are the women he had relationships with, who now occupy positions of power. The issue of workplace sexual harassment is not a male only problem. Just like workplace racism does not exist only among men on both sides of the color line.
Our country needs to self correct on this issue. It’s not whether we don’t believe the women. It’s whether we can trust the motivations. Whether we can trust investigations employers do in a climate where it’s easier to force someone out than to figure out what the real truth is. Maybe employers should realistically consider the “me too” effect among groups who tend to bond over feelings instead of facts.
America’s system of Juris Prudence is based on the axiom that we are “innocent until proven guilty.” Just because a woman or man says something doesn’t make it true. Are we so out to hurt someone who reminds us of what another person did, that we are willing to crucify them without due process. Seems attempting to re-litigate the already resolved past is dangerous at best and Illegal at worst?
The Fifth Amendment to our Constitution says “No one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The 14th Amendment prohibits unfair, arbitrary, or unreasonable treatment of an individual.
What about due process in life? Why can’t our nation insist on that whether President Trump says it or not?
Dennis Edwards is the Interim Pastor of Richmond’s historic Fourth Baptist Church. He’s an Emmy award winning Television Investigative Anchor and Reporter, a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.