Are you the problem?
Sure, you’d like folks to believe you’re innocent. And you can indeed blame our career politicians, experts at feathering their own nests and abusing the public trust.
Further, you might plea, in your defense, that you even favor reforms like term limits that would reduce the unaccountable power of politicians in Washington.
But still, the exploitative system — the license to abuse others — remains intact.
The particular system of abuse I refer to is the one in which members of Congress repeatedly grope, commit depraved assaults and other sexual tyrannies upon interns and staff and yet remain unaccountable . . . because taxpayers foot the bill and the knowledge of the misconduct kept secret.
Well, the truth’s out, now.
So, what have you done about it?
Obviously, when a child misbehaves, we do not necessarily jump to blame the parents. But what if, after a considerable period of consistently atrocious behavior, the troublemaking child has never been corrected by his or her parents?
At some point, responsibility shifts.
Members of Congress may not be children, but they are . . . our representatives.
After all, it is said we are the government. We’re the boss!
Well, true or false in actual operation, the burden of responsibility falls to us to hold accountable our “public servants” very much in the way that we would hold our own offspring accountable.
The point, here, is not to assess blame so much as to harness public sentiment for some solutions — perhaps via electoral repercussions so severe that solutions come pouring forth from congressmen themselves . . . deathly afraid for their political survival.
Left to their own devices, congressmen are not going to solve the problem. After all, they fashioned the procedures that so superbly shield sexual misconduct from serious consequences.
The current system was actually a reform of the previous system, or non-system, which left victimized women (and men) without any recourse whatsoever.
Yes, today’s process was part of reforms ushered in by the Republican revolution, those in the congressional Class of ’94, who over two decades ago formed the first GOP-controlled House of Representatives in 40 years. Prior to their establishment of the Office of Compliance (OOC), there was simply no recourse . . . but to personally appeal to the member of Congress or the chief of staff for whom one worked — oftentimes the very scumbags doing the victimizing.
An improvement, sure, but as additional scandals break, the bankruptcy of this system becomes more and more obvious.
“The current system in place does not require the OOC to make public the number of sexual harassment complaints, number of settlements reached, the dollar figure of those settlements or which offices are being complained about,” CNN reported. “Congressional aides say this is giving unintentional cover to the worst offenders in Congress.”
“In politics,” President Franklin Roosevelt is alleged to have proclaimed, “nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” That bit of wisdom may have been misattributed to FDR, but had he said it, he would have really been onto something.
“Once a settlement is reached,” CNN went on to explain, “the money is not paid out of the individual member’s office but rather comes out of a fund set up to handle this within the US Treasury — meaning taxpayers are footing the bill.”
Unfortunately, we taxpayers foot all those bills. Take the case of one of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who, according to the lurid details of a recent scandal, has been roaming the halls of the capitol for the last 52 years . . . allegedly showing up for meetings in his underwear and firing employees who refuse to have sex with him. Conyers paid a settlement to one female staffer he had fired using his office funds — not through the official OCC slush fund. This maneuver didn’t save the taxpayers a dime.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Here’s an idea: Unless and until Congress abolishes this ridiculously corrupt system where taxpayers are forced to subsidize the sexual harassment committed by politicians, do not vote to re-elect any member of Congress.
Don’t commit to this quietly, either. Call your congressman and your state’s two U.S. Senators. Let them know that, even if they are in your political party and/or have policy positions close to your own, enough is enough. Stopping sexual abuse must come first.
If it were your daughter being harassed and abused by these power-mad perverts, you would insist upon it.
What about for someone else’s innocent daughter?
It is obvious that Congress, up till now, has not cared enough. If made to care, these politiciansthe necessary change next week.