To whom do we look to when it begins to seem that everyone is corrupt? That anyone is willing to lie? That those we elected because they vowed to fight for women are accused of sexual harassment and assault?
Yesterday, John Conyers (D-Mich.) stepped down from his position on the House Judiciary Committee. While vehemently denying the allegations that a staff member was fired after refusing Conyers’ sexual advances, his statement read that he would step down while an ethics committee investigated the claims. This morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked about Conyers and the allegations against him. Her response?
“We are strengthened by due process,” Pelosi said, continuing “John Conyers is an icon in our country.” This from the same woman who, not but a few weeks ago flat out called former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is now running for election in a special election for a Senate seat taking place in December, a “child molester.”
Do not misunderstand me, Roy Moore has absolutely no support from me, does not deserve to serve as a senator, judge, or any other acting public servant in my opinion, and the accusations against him should be believed an investigated in full. However, as a proud, card-carrying millennial who leans to the hard left on every issue, I cannot excuse or stomach Pelosi excusing Conyers, asking the public to give him a break and allow time for “due process,” when she so quickly has painted politicians on the other side of the aisle as convicted assailants. I cannot look up to her for that, I cannot believe she acts in support of women consistently, nor can I believe that those accused on my side of the aisle are innocent just because I have voted for their party.
I was listening to NPR this morning, as I tend to do every morning, and realized as they were covering the Conyers story, that NPR top news executive Mike Oreskes was forced out not even a month ago amid accusations of sexual harassment. The journalist that was speaking while I was mulling that realization over mentioned how she believed Bill Clinton should have resigned when his affair with Monica Lewinsky was exposed. She cited that Lewinsky was around her age, or my age now, when it happened, and the result of Clinton denying the allegations and remaining in power made her life incredibly difficult for years. She was slut-shamed, victim blamed, and all because the man who took advantage of their imbalance of power refused to resign from his post. Sounds a lot like Al Franken’s current battlecry, eh?
So I must ask again, to whom do we look to when it begins to appear that everyone is corrupt? When the men and women you voted for, donated your own dollars to their campaign in hopes they would be victorious, supported passionately over holiday meals when your loved ones argued with you about your political alignment fail you over and over again? I don’t have an answer to that question. I do, however, wish to offer this:
To the women who have so bravely come forward and accused these men on the record of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse despite the potential for backlash, I believe you. I stand with you in solidarity. I will continue to fight in whatever way I can to ensure you see justice. And when the leaders of my party stand up and belittle your bravery, I will call them on it.