'Me Too': Thirty Years Too Late
We now live in a hashtag world. Hashtags are used not simply to identify social media messages regarding a particular topic, but also as a means of virtue-signaling, of calling attention to the latest social justice cause. Many of these causes legitimate, but others are contrived. Hashtags have replaced the multicolored ribbons celebrating the latest cause or issue.
Michelle Obama participated a hashtag movement, #BringBackOurGirls, to bring attention to Boko Haram kidnapping several hundred girls in Nigeria. A few girls escaped, but most remain missing. It was a well intentioned but ultimately ineffective hashtag campaign.
The latest hashtag campaign is the #MeToo phrase trending across social media platforms. Initiated by actress Alyssa Milano, it's to "give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem" of sexual harassment or assault. Many Facebook and Twitter users are adding the phrase else retweeting the hashtag. Those on Facebook have undoubtedly seen #MeToo frequently – posted mostly by women, but by some men as well in a show of solidarity and support for this very real problem.
Sexual harassment, abuse, and assault are not new problems. Nor is this limited to female victims. Every week, there is another story of a female teacher engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage male student. Here is a recent one.
While this type of activity has always been with us, the recent outrage is due to revelations of the longstanding pattern of abhorrent behavior by Democrat mega-donor and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. The number of victimized women is increasing by the day, up to 46 at the latest count.
The #MeToo campaign is legitimate and important, but it's come 30 years too late. Better late than never, but why the outrage now and not during the decades of Weinstein's well known, although hushed up, nasty behavior?
Some actresses like Meryl Streep claimed to not know what was going on. Others like Jane Fonda knew but kept quiet. Weinstein's colleagues and peers knew, as Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino did, but also chose to look the other way. How many others, whether victims or silent observers, made a conscious decision to stay mum?
For abuse victims, often traumatized and vulnerable, speaking up against an all-powerful "god," as Meryl Streep described Weinstein, may not have been possible. Weinstein could make or break careers – the ultimate position of power. A young actress trying to break into the entertainment business may have stayed quiet due to personal and career preservation.
What about the A-listers? Those already famous and in demand as actors, actresses, and entertainment executives? Was their silence due to fear of being labeled troublemakers? Or was it because Weinstein was right on the political issues of the day? A fellow traveler in their world of progressive causes and social justice?
Don't think politics trumps morality, decency and common sense? Think again. Remember the Time White House correspondent, Nina Burleigh, who said of another sexual predator, then-president Bill Clinton, "I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."
Where was the #MeToo hashtag campaign for Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and many others? Even Juanita called out Monica for her silence after Bill Clinton had his way with her. Juanita tweeted, "I have always felt sad for you, but where were you when we needed you? Your silence was deafening in the 90s when Kathleen, Paula and I needed your voice."
Then there was Mrs. Clinton, enabler-in-chief, head of the famous Clinton White House bimbo eruptions team, "savaging her enemies," as White House senior adviser at the time George Stephanopoulos said. The bimbos were the women raped or harassed by her husband.
The same Mrs. Clinton who during her recent failed presidential campaign sent "a message to every survivor of sexual assault" said, "Don't let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard." Except when being heard interfered with her political ambitions. Or Harvey Weinstein's fundraising for the Clintons, Obamas, and other Democrats. And the causes Weinstein supported.
Don't forget the Kennedy family, also with a long string of sex scandals. They also were given a pass because they were right on the important social and political issues of the day.
Lastly, I wonder how many of those posting the #MeToo status on their social media pages also supported the Clintons. Bill the abuser? Hillary the enabler and destroyer? And the entertainers and their progressive causes that aided and abetted Harvey Weinstein's three-decade rampage?
How many also joined the "I'm with her" Hillary Clinton campaign, supporting what they are now against? They were indignant over Donald Trump's Access Hollywood tapes, despite that Trump only talked the talk, while Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein walked the walk. Hillary falsely accused Trump of being an "admitted sex assaulter," perhaps confusing Trump with her husband, Bill, who did admit to such behavior, leading to lawsuits and impeachment.
Sexual misconduct is real and should be called out, not ignored, excused, or diminished. But how about some consistency? Why only now, after Weinstein got a 30-year pass and Clinton gets a pass to this very day? Be outraged. Have a hashtag campaign. But be consistent if you want to be taken seriously.
Otherwise, the outrage is a day late and a dollar short. The new hashtag campaign can be #ShouldHave. As Quentin Tarantino said, "I knew enough to do more than I did," lamenting what "I should have done then."
Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.