A Not so Hot Take
You can’t seem to get through a single day lately where someone hasn’t been accused of being a creep to someone else. You nod slowly and knowingly when it’s someone with opposite views than you, and gasp surprisingly when it’s someone you admire.
One “good” thing about this whole situation is that it’s bipartisan - hitting both friends and enemies alike. It’s harder (but clearly not impossible) to demonize the other side when you’re suffering the same fate at the same time.
So at first I’m just wagging a morally unimpeachable finger at Bill O’Reilly, Roy Moore and The Lech in Chief. Then I’m rolling my eyes and shaking my head in exasperation at Al Franken. And then I’m turning inward and asking myself a bunch of confusing questions:
What about the presumption of innocence? Is there a burden of proof that applies? This isn’t a court proceeding. The presumption of innocence isn’t a strict requirement in forming one’s own opinion. But surely decisions and opinions with due consideration of evidence are better than those without? Large parts of the social internet operate without that. Heck, the current sitting president routinely seems to ignore facts and reality. And a shockingly large percentage of people are okay with that.
And then what about the victims in this? The accusers. It is about time we believe them. The accused are by and large men in powerful positions. And just because you or I routinely treat women as fellow humans with all the respect that demands doesn’t mean all men do. Over the course of my life I’ve heard my fair share of sexist banter. Racist too. So when women come forward to speak out, they should be believed. Yes, there will be anomalies. Those seeking revenge. And surely there are men who’ve been victimized by this. But I think those are small drops in an ocean of victims on the other side.
So even though I’m all for victims speaking out and for the lecherous getting their long deserved due, there is still part of me that detests the heads-on-pikes mentality I see manifesting around us.
While social justice is indeed important and deserved here, let’s not lose sight of the presumption of innocence and the importance of fact.
There is no ‘hot take’ that solves these things. These problems are confusing, conflicted and messy. Just like any probable solutions. Both sides require nuanced consideration. Something that has fallen out of favour in today’s world. :-|