I am shocked.
One of my favorite movies is “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart. It is an old movie by today’s standards, made in 1942. But that famous line from Captain Louis Renault, played by the incomparable Claude Rains, is as fresh today as it was when he first uttered those words on the silver screen.
“I am shocked,” he said, “shocked to find out that gambling is going on here.” Renault said that to Bogart while the police captain was being handed his winnings from the gambling tables. It wasn’t the first example of hypocrisy in the movies but it clearly was an impactful demonstration of that human condition.
I am not shocked in 2017 to learn that men in positions of power throughout our country have been taking advantage of women, young and old, for many, many decades. I am not shocked that many women have kept their secrets throughout their own lives out of some sense of shame or guilt or just an acceptance of the way things were, or some other equally valid but hard to comprehend reason.
I am surprised to learn that even people who have been held in generally high esteem across the land have been guilty of boorish, disrespectful and perhaps even criminal behavior when it came to their treatment and sexual oppression of women in their employ or who could have been beholden to them for their careers in some other way.
And I am saddened at the thought that some men who were acting like boys have been caught up in what is a growing backlash against some horiffic behavior by the male of our species when the worst that they did was bordering on disrespect and childish humor.
This is not an easy subject to discuss because most of us over the age of 50 grew up in the “Mad Men” part of the 20th century, where the men were the power and the very few women in the workplace were the playthings and that is just the way it was. If you were a women in the workplace in the latter half of the last century, well, there is nothing about the revelations we are witnessing on the news every day that would surprise you.
The world has changed. Women have earned and taken their rightful and more-than-justified place in the workplace in practically every facet of American commerce. No longer are they a minority to be trifled with but, rather, a growing force to be reckoned with. And that means that what could and was overlooked a few decades ago will no longer be tolerated.
The few men who have been singled out by scores of women finally baring their souls and unburdening their hearts is just the beginning I suspect. Women are finding their voices, and they will not be silenced. But, there is a caution. And that is that we don’t blur the lines between reprehensible and irredeemable behavior and boorish men behaving badly. This must not be a free-for-all with people’s reputations and personal lives lest the impact of what has been wrongful and criminal-type behavior be lost in the melee.
And that is where I truly am shocked and very concerned.
It defies logic and human understanding that in the case of Roy Moore there are still leaders in Alabama, in the United States Senate, in the White House and in the country itself who cannot see their way clear to condemn in the harshest terms the conduct of the former Alabama judge who yearns to be a U.S. senator.
I understand the difficulty most people have when the matter is determined by what “he said” and “she said,” and it is difficult to find the line between fact and fiction. But in the matter of Moore, this is a “he said” and “they said” proposition in which no one yet has refused to believe the many female accusers. In fact, there are some who incredulously say they believe the women — which means they believe the abhorrent behavior of the man who seeks their votes — and yet they will still vote for him.
Let’s be perfectly and unequivocally clear. Roy Moore is being charged by his many accusers of what can only be defined as pedophilia and child molestation. Unlike the other men with whom he is sharing the headlines, Moore didn’t just press his will and his wants on unwanting women, he preyed on children.
There is a huge difference!
And, yet, there are some in the highest offices of the land who remain silent and hope for a Senate victory for this person.
Even three of the biggest newspapers in Alabama have called “in the name of decency” for the defeat of Moore. In Alabama!
But not yet at the White House. The president has chosen, instead, to believe the man and not the women.
And, why? That question was answered by President Trump’s close adviser, Kellyanne Conway, last week.
“We want the votes” for the tax bill. Really? Taxes?
That should be shocking to everyone. But, I know it is not. And that’s a shame and a stain on America. Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.