Are we taking political correctness too far? It has served us well these past few decades, but we need to consider whether we are taking matters too far when a politician, athlete, actor, CEO or anyone else in the public eye must resign immediately because of a stupid and momentarily cruel mistake.
That is especially true if we are talking about something in someone’s past and don’t even give the person a chance to apologize, denounce his or her act, and work to atone for it and prove that he or she is a better person than that now. That goes for both parties.
But, it is pure hypocrisy for one party to go after someone in the other party for idiocy that occurred 35 years ago and has not been repeated since when one of their own is a serial racist who doesn’t have the decency to offer to resign, or another one currently residing in the White House.
As it is, the calls for resignation are so immediate and no explanations or apologies allowed, and no credit given for one’s behavior since then, the only thing left for the mistake-maker is to come up with dumb excuses or deny a claim even in the face of blatant evidence.
Let’s give a chance to Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam to straight-out apologize for his southern frat-house behavior and prove he is a better man now, just as we have allowed serial racist Steve King (R-Iowa) and serial white nationalists applauder Donald Trump to remain in office apparently unsullied by their repeated sins.
Just in the past year, we’ve had at least half a dozen resignations or decisions not to seek re-election to Congress by men accused of idiotic sexual behavior: Democratic House members John Conyers of Michigan and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota; and Republican Representatives Blake Farenthold of Texas, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania and Trent Franks of Arizona.
It took years of serial incidents such as that to drive Harvey Weinstein out of his corporate job, along with some well-known actors in recent years.
To be sure, many of these men should have been driven from office or their cushy jobs, but others have lived otherwise exemplary lives and made contributions to our society. Is that not worthy of some consideration?
Franken was a good and valuable senator, just as was GOP Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon two decades earlier. Both were big losses to good governing, yet they had to go. And, of course, how about President Bill Clinton for a sexual dalliance and problematic (it’s real meaning) lie about it, behavior that was nowhere near what precedent had already established as nowhere near the level of an impeachable offense. Fortunately, he did not resign.
All of those guys deserved criticism, derision, and should have been required to wear a scarlet A on a sweater as they went about their official duties, but outright banishment? We need some new thinking. And the hypocrites among us need to just shut the hell up.