We reap what we sow. Just ask impartial political and social analysts how this spate of men behaving badly started. The answer ought to come back that Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly are just the tip of a nefarious ice berg.
Did this all start with society’s open cover-up of Bill Clinton’s peccadillos? It didn’t help that his “did not have sex with that woman” line was believed or at least accepted by feminists and liberals because he was their man. Just as President Trump’s crude statements about the fun of promiscuously grabbing random women is tolerated by his admirers. Cue Tammy Wynette singing “Stand By Your Man.”
No, the dalliances of powerful men have long been overlooked. Women have a shameful part in this, but more on that later. Certainly, the brazen affairs of President JFK are now well chronicled. Nude swimming with ladies in the White House pool and Secret Service guards diverting his wife Jackie away from the door that would have revealed what she already knew was going on. Nightly rendezvous with ladies to help Jack with his headaches… yes, that was the accepted rational at the time. But the affairs of Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and FDR were covered up by the press with the excuse that “boys will be boys.”
The first time I heard that canard was from my father. He was disgusted by the behavior of his fellow Air Corp officers in World War II. Married men stationed in Hawaii before and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 openly dated local girls, and by dating we are talking more than moonlight strolls on the beach! Dad told his sons often that the reasons or rationalization were legion. But the most common one was, “boys will be boys.” He didn’t buy it for a minute.
Some folks misquote scriptures and say, “you shouldn’t judge.” That too is a discussion for another time, but my father had no trouble looking his sons in the eyes and stating clearly that “that is terrible behavior. Your morals matter. No excuses.”
So, after hundreds of years of men behaving badly, and way too many women willing to participate in the cover ups, the victims of male predatory and promiscuous sexual practices have courageously stood up, one by one, and said, “I didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it and demanded it stop.” Yes, plenty of women did want the romance or sexual attention. Yes, they did dress immodestly to attract attention. Yes, they’ve contributed to this debauchery. But, that doesn’t excuse anyone. Bad behavior is bad behavior. Men or women.
The answer to all of this is actually fairly simple and more than a hashtag campaign. Live the Gospel of Christ. Chastity, modesty, and fidelity are not outside the ability of anyone to live. Temperance in alcohol would eliminate a huge amount of the grief.
In 1983, the Reverend Jerry Falwell who started The Moral Majority, not as a vaunt but a goal, and later Liberty University, was asked at a dinner I attended, “If you were driving down a country road at dusk saw a lady off to the side of the road with car trouble, would you give her a lift into town?” Some in our party were surprised by his answer.
“We both have too much at risk.”
He went on to explain that he would stop, try to fix the problem and stay with her until he could flag someone down and drive with her into town to get a tow truck to help her out. But, he would NEVER be alone with a woman who was not his family.
Vice President Mike Pense has been roundly ridiculed by the same people who are aghast at the randy, stud-ram ethics of Weinstein, et.al. He has categorically stated he will never have dinner with a single lady. He’s drawn a moral line in the sand he won’t cross. Considering his detractor’s inability to understand the consequences of moral actions, he’s doing something very right. Needless to say, VP Pense would never invite a woman to his hotel room “just for business.” It’s astounding how many women have fallen for that trap.
And to executives, here’s a thought. Eliminate closed opaque locked doors. No blinds. Just literal transparency in the work place. Matt Lauer would not have done what he did to women in his office if the complicit bosses at NBC had officially declared “no locked or opaque doors.”
Women must draw moral lines in the sand even if they think it will cost them their job. You have too much at risk otherwise. And…you may be fired. That’s the price of courage rather than unintentionally becoming an enabler or complicit.
Complicit. That fits for so many men and women in this necessary purging of bad behavior in our society. But laws, lawsuits, firings and such will not end this spate of bad behavior. Yes, we’ll fire people and demand others resign, but that’s just an ineffective attempt to cure societal woes. As the Book of Mormon clearly demonstrates, when surface behavior changes without soulful repentance, the disease will return with a vengeance.