Archive for December, 2017

This Dystopian Future

This Dystopian Future

Credit where credit is due. The punchline came from a friend. We were talking over lunch trying to reconcile the events of the past week: The Republican/Trump tax bill, the Alabama Senate race, travel-ban decisions, North Korean missiles, the Mueller investigation, and so on.

There is just so much to process, so much to, well, not to sound old, but growing up we just never would have anticipated this level craziness.

For example, it’s bad enough that the Senate rammed through a huge national tax bill with no time provided for actually reading it; that it included handwritten notes directly from lobbyists; that it purposely adds to the national debt at a time of near full employment. But it’s the doublespeak and the pious assurances of our so-called leaders (with absolutely no real evidence) that is so unsettling.

I said to my friend, “We seem to be heading toward a dystopian future.” He said, “This is a dystopian future!” Then we laughed. I’m not sure why.

We’ve all read Brave New World and 1984. We’ve all seen The Matrix and Hunger Games movies. As with most science fiction, these stories are cautionary tales — they are beginning to feel more like documentaries.

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Condemning Sexual Assault Shouldn’t Be a Divisive Issue

Defending Sexual Predators

Larry Nassar, the doctor who worked with various women’s gymnastics programs including the Michigan State University team and USA Gymnastics, pled guilty this week to charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct with children under the age of 16. This is just a small portion of the charges that have been (and could be) brought against him, including further abuses and child pornography possession. It would be difficult to find anybody who would deny that Dr. Nassar is in every sense a sexual predator.

So there is some consensus. And we should try to remember this common ground because it gets very divisive, very quickly, when we go on to name the politicians, entertainers, executives, and media personalities whose indiscretions have recently come to light.

In an effort to defend those who we are inclined to support (and demonize those whom we would like to see suffer), it can go immediately off the rails. It turns into an ugly parlor game of “what’s worse?” Admitting or denying? Is one accuser enough? Is a dozen too many? How’s a random grab stack up against soliciting underage girls?

As a result, victims are either further exploited or dismissed. It muddies the waters, which helps only the guilty. I suggest we focus more on real justice and less on scoring points for a particular “side.” There have been men with power who have taken advantage of their power to sexually abuse women. It is in everybody’s best interest that they be held accountable for their actions.

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