A Nation of Men and Women, not Laws
As a longtime leftie, I despair of the deliberately self-defeating tactics the so-called opposition is using to get rid of Trump: "blame Russia" and "Me Too". To pick these two tactics when there are so many other avenues for actually impeaching the man (before he sells what is left of America to the billionaire class, and then blows us all to kingdom come) shows what a phony, Kabuki theater our duopolistic political system has become.
It is Kabuki where the rules are unstated. The rules are whatever the corporate media says they are, because they control the microphone - increasingly so as Google and Twitter turn to blatant censorship. The M.O. of the corporate media is polarization, the Saimese twin of divide-and-conquer politics.
The corporate media incessantly hyperventilate about "blaming Russia" (BR), thereby polarizing the country into pro/anti-"Trump is Putin's Bitch" camps. Meanwhile, they ignore mountains of evidence that BR is nothing more than a McCarthyite witchhunt with no evidence, only lies manufactured by the Deep State. They also ignore Trump's shady ties to the Mafia and gambling underworlds (Can't go there. Might implicate Sheldon Adelson.)
Since the election, the corporate media have also pushed the "McResistance" meme, whose "pussy hat" Kabuki demonstration prefigured the #MeToo campaign. To the corporate media, warmongering, elitist Hillary is a leading feminist. So now we are polarized about sexual politics. Meanwhile, the public's opposition to the corporatist program of war, financial looting, and pollution gets no airtime.
The MeToo campaign is already "mission accomplished". It provided cover for the GOP to ram through the obscene, Reverse Robin Hood tax bill. Don't believe me? Look at the timelines. On October 17, the betting was that no tax bill would happen this year. But, the Weinstein story got rolling just about then, and the rest is really bad history. The corpo-Democrats spent two months either pontificating about or cowering from the MeToo crowd, trying to nail Trump or dodge a bullet, instead of rallying their base to oppose 1% looting. Meanwhile the GOP pulled every dirty trick in the Congressional book and passed a major tax bill along completely partisan lines by one vote in the Senate.
I expect the media foot to come off the "Me Too" gas pedal right after Trump signs the tax bill. What, me, cynical? Well I'm not the only one:
All this strategy demonstrates is Democratic Party anemia: due to their illicit marriage to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, they can no longer maintain their connection to and support of the citizens of the country, since that would require policies, platforms, and actions that specifically defend equality and work to stop oppression in society — and, one might add, makes moves to end illegal U.S. aggression against foreign nations, including the threats to attack North Korea. That the Democrats can only come up with strategies that support the “Me, Too” movement (and “blame Russia”) is a sign of moral and political bankruptcy.
The essay so far is but a preamble to pointing the reader at a very solid article by, of all people, a philosophy professor. I thought they were extinct. All quotes in this essay are from, again, amazing to say, an article on Counterpunch.
Robert Abele, Reactionary Movements are Not Revolutionary
Let me club you over the head with the message of this article. The MeToo movement is not progressive; it is reactionary. It is another instance of TPTB tricking a group (feminists) into a feel-good, but impotent, veal pen while their real goals are replaced by tokenism and symbolism (i.e., a few high-profile scalps).
Please be clear. I agree that there are real problems about sexual abuse in our society. I agree that women have legitimate goals in the fight against sexism and sexual assault. I agree that Harvey Weinstein is a criminal. However, this OP is focused above the level of individual people; it is focused on the legal implications of MeToo for our form of government. I am saying that the tactics of the MeToo movement are counterproductive, and their overreach will inevitably produce a rightwing backlash. They are burning down our Constitutional house to get rid of a cockroach infestation. But, cockroaches like Trump will easily survive. Meanwhile we will have no house.
Progressive movements traditionally target social issues and institutions for change, not people for professional assassination. If change is the goal, the accusations need to be dealt with either in the institution in which it occurred, or in a court of law, not just in the court of public opinion alone. If it is brought into the public arena, the target should be the offending institution and culture that protects sexually deviant conduct, and their managers who support it. If individuals are named publicly, it should be part of a charge brought against them, not just an unsupported accusation.
The process of “accusation—>termination” does not fit either the legal or the moral requirements of being presumed innocent until proven guilty, being permitted to publicly confront one’s accuser, etc. The whole point is to protect the presumption of innocence against mob mentality of assumed guilt on the basis of a public accusation. These are all issues that the ACLU usually fights for, but they have been inexplicably quiet during this process. (The accused) have a right to the presumption of innocence until the evidence shows otherwise. This is all included under due process.
Many feminist authors would have trouble with the current movement as well. For example, Simone de Beauvoir, in her book, The Ethics and Ambiguity, makes it clear that she is arguing against authoritative and abusive institutions and structures, not individual personalities.
Abele's argument is worth discussing. Why can't anyone see that denunciations (sometimes anonymous) acted upon by unaccountable authorities without due process is exactly the Inquisitorial/police state behavior that we used to be aghast at when it was used by Communists or the growing police state in the US (e.g.,"no fly lists")? Who wants their careers to be forfeit without due process? Where is the ACLU? They had no problem defending Nazis; but they can't defend that professional milquetoast, Garrison Keilor?
Picking up on Abele's focus on organizational accountability: Why hasn't anyone sued Harvey Weinstein's company under existing laws? Why hasn't anyone sued NPR for not having mechanisms to protect their employees from accused predators Garrison Keilor and Tavis Smiley?
Perhaps the CT folks are correct. Perhaps MeToo had to chop a few Democratic heads in order to get the credibility to put Trump into the guillotine. OTOH, there is a counter CT which says that the victims to date are Trump's enemies, and therefore he is winning. Either CT is plausible; both involve extra-legal behaviors. We have gone from a nation of laws to a nation that denounces people to the corporate media authorities. Who made the media judge, jury, and executioner?
The whole MeToo "movement" has no agreed-upon leadership, no formal organization, no specific platform, no concrete legal goals. It is an unaccountable loose cannon. It's visibility depends upon its ability to deliver eyeballs to the media by delivering victims to the guillotine. This is a recipe for a Reign of Terror.
Abele's main point is that this all being done extra-legally. How does that change anything in our sexist society? How does it stop the oppression of women? Once this media-inflated ten-minute hate is shut down and the spotlight turned elsewhere, these kinds of accusations will go back to being ignored or hushed up with a little cash. No new laws will be on the books (like the GOP are going to pass such. LOL.), and the ones that are already there will continue to be ineffective. The only change will be that the true feminist movement will have been slandered by the evidence-optional approach of MeToo, which seems dangerously vulnerable to substituting vendetta for due process.
Acceptance of the tactics of MeToo by Hillaryite "liberals" demonstrate the complete collapse of public awareness of (or, alternatively, faith in) the procedures and rights listed in our Constitution and laws. If psyops like Me Too continue to circumvent the legal system, American government could easily degenerate into nothing more than a media-incited lynch mob.
In closing, let me remind you of the brilliant dialogue in Robert Bolt's great play about Thomas More.
More: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
- Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
MeToo is just the latest gambit of TPTB to cut down the forest of laws.
NOTE: I am aware of the tension on this board about issues involving the politics of sex. In this OP, I have written about the legal and Constitutional implications of MeToo's tactics, not about the merits of any individual cases. I hope the C99p community can do a better job of making that distinction than the general public.