Ending predation by the powerful
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., resigned on Thursday. He was following U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ lead. Conyers, D-Mich., “retired” earlier in the week.
So, the two members of Congress in the news recently for sexual harassment have left. Problem solved?
Hardly. The problem is not two sleazy men who preyed on women.
Instead, it is the belief among some men and women that political office or great success in the private sector is a license to push people around, sometimes harming them severely — and get away with it. “If you’re a big enough star, they’ll let you,” a pre-campaign Donald Trump bragged on the now infamous Access Hollywood tape.
Too often, they are right about getting away with their crimes.
Franken’s offenses occurred years ago. Conyers’ date back decades. So do Harvey Weinstein’s, Matt Lauer’s, etc., etc.
Yet they got away with it for many years. Some in their industries covered for them.
This is nothing new. Think Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings.
Neither are attempts by a predator’s supporters to cover up harassment, often for political reasons. For many years, the Jefferson-Hemmings connection was labeled a smear on a great man.
Forcing two or three — or even a thousand — powerful predators out of office or their jobs does not solve the problem.
Behavior such as that in the headlines involving Conyers, Franken and many others will not end until predators understand no one will protect them for any reason — simply because what they do is wrong.