Weird but intense dream last night, prompted I’m sure by all the allegations of sexual misconduct flying in the air these days. I was working in a hospital (not unusual—I did in high school and college). There had been incidents with predators, and I was terrified. Everyone was on alert, and watches were increased. A young man was arrested for repeatedly patting a girl in the tush. He was bewildered, and then frightened, as what seemed a slight incident morphed into a criminal charge and a possible jail sentence. Calls to his dad and a lawyer didn’t help, and this young man saw his future crashing. The girl he’d “offended” never came forward to say anything about the incident, but everyone in the hospital was crying for the young man’s head on a platter.
I think this dream reflects my personal feelings about the many allegations we’re seeing these days. A post or two on Facebook reminds that a “person is innocent until proven guilty,” but that’s not the case here. An accusation becomes widespread rumor and is soon accepted publicly as fact. Protestations of innocence fall on deaf ears, and lives and careers are ruined by innuendo.
The really scary thing is that each of us tend to make individual judgments, often independent of the facts even if we know reported facts. I’m as guilty as anyone, for I’ll quickly say that I think Alabama Judge Moore did what the woman claimed he did when she was fourteen, and he should get out of the race and so-called public service. He’s been called down from the judicial bench twice in his own state for judgments based not on the law but on his own belief system, which seems pretty warped. He’s a racist and a bigot on record, and to my mind a piece of slime. And I’m appalled at the prominent Alabama Republican leader who excused him by saying that Mary was fourteen and Joseph much older.
On the other hand, why make a fuss about slight incidents ascribed to former President George H. W. Bush. There was absolutely no sexual intimacy involved, no force, nothing but a casual pat on the behind. Bush has apologized, and many have pointed out it’s hard to see an old man in a wheelchair as a sexual predator. He gave good service to the country, and we should not repay him by shaming him in his last years over incidents that, to me, seem trivial. Others will disagree, and I understand that.
I think it all proves that nothing is black and white. I applaud the openness that our society now is experiencing. I think it will make would-be predators think before they act on base instincts, and I hope it will punish some severe offenders. But there’s no logic, no equality in the handling of each accusation, and I’m afraid some good lives will be ruined by falsehood.
Then again, I have no concern for Judge Moore. I’d hang him out in the wind any day.