Saturday, November 18, 2017

Government Treats Citizens The Exact Same Way Sexual Predators Treat Victims


counterpunch |  The New York Times recently published a list of 25 men “accused of sexual misconduct” since the Harvey Weinstein revelations first came out in early October. The list is a who’s-who of “players” in the entertainment, political, media and corporate worlds.  Even scandalous stories about Bush-the-elder are finally coming out after decades of suppression.  In being outed, many of the male predators have lost their jobs or contracts, some of their marriages ended, high-priced defense lawyers have been retained and a few say they are seeking professional counseling.

Many of those identified as being or having been a sexual aggressor are being subject to public shaming.  For a while, their lives might be miserable, under a public magnifying glass as to how he could have done what he is “accused” of doing and, therefore, who really is this man?  However, for some, the price to be paid may be far harsher, including an arrest, trial and (if found guilty) jail as a sex offender.  Prosecutors in New York, Los Angeles and London are sharpening their legalistic claws as they seek criminal indictments against Weinstein.  Who will be the next player to fall?

Since the Reagan-era of the 1980s, the U.S. has engaged in two domestic wars – a war on drugs and a war on sex.  Both have roots dating from the 1920s Prohibition campaign; both rejected the 1960s-70s countercultural insurgency. Both have been played out at federal and local levels — and both are failures!

The country’s drug-addiction “epidemic” has shifted from black to while, from the inner-city or urban ghettos to the suburbs and rural heartland.  Throughout the country, low-level drug offenses are being decriminalized, criminal penalties are being lessened and the traditional ethos of harsh punishment is being undercut by calls for restorative justice.

When launched, the war on sex drew politicians, law enforcement and people of good intentions, conservative and liberal (including anti-porn feminist and gay-rights advocates), into alignment with the religious right.  They joined forces in a campaign to forcefully suppress what was broadly conceived as a domestic security threat, violation of the sexually acceptable.

The sex offender was – and remains — a perfect target for moral outrage.  He (mostly) is someone who crossed a moral line and committed an unpardonable offense.  If he cannot be executed for his affront to civil and religious decency than, at least, he can be shamed or stigmatized, imprisoned, placed in indefinite detention and listed on a sex-offender’s registry.

The 25 men identified by the Times are “players” in the entertainment, political, media and corporate worlds.  Others will surely be added to the list.  Their outing is a friction point in the seismic shift in American social values now underway.  Those so far identified come from the celebrate sector, not most people everyday life. Unfortunately, misogyny is endemic to American life, but gets little local media or public attention until it becomes a media spectacle like what’s happening today.  Its all-to-often considered a private matter, rather than a social practice.