CHARLOTTE, NC: In this day of an invasive Government and the reign of Big Brother where social media, head hunting through personal tweets, e-mails and Facebook messages, the ‘gotcha’ industry is out of control. Add in media witch hunts for sexual harassment that should have long ago passed the statute of limitations, and the process is at the point of being absurd. The time has come to put the kibosh on the morality police. Enough is enough.
Morality Police gotcha’s
Back in the day when 60 Minutes was doing weekly “gotcha” programs to uncover all of society’s corrupt business practices, corporate training programs popped up across the country teaching executives how to respond when the CBS cameras showed up at the door.
These days, with access to the internet, well-schooled computer experts and technicians can research a person’s records without even meeting their victim and, in the process, open up an embarrassing and life-altering investigation.
Presently three major league baseball players, Sean Newcomb, Josh Hader and Trea Turner caught up in controversy for making insensitive remarks on social media in the past. Ancient past. High school stupid past. And yes, you should go clean up your Twitter account. Or delete it and start over.
The long ago past. These were not recent postings. Rather in each case, they occurred when they were either in college or high school.
Not that such remarks were any less significant in the past, but then again, people grow, they mature, they evolve and the person who sent those messages three, five or maybe ten years ago is not necessarily the same person today.
Gary Hart: Bad behavior before the Internet
Case in point, during the 1988 presidential campaign front-runner Sen. Gary Hart was coming under intense media scrutiny for being a womanizer but denied the accusations by challenging the press with the comment,
“Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead.
They’ll be very bored.” – Gary Hart
The press took Hart at his word and in the process discovered the candidate was, indeed, having an extramarital affair with Donna Rice, a 29-year old blond model.
When the news broke, Hart was forced to withdraw from the campaign, while Rice saw her whole world crumble in a matter of weeks. For the next year and a half, Rice claimed she “felt like (she) was drowning in a sea of shark-infested waters.”
Donna Rice Today
Today at age 60, Donna Rice Hughes is a stepmother and internet safety advocate. As CEO of the nonprofit group Enough is Enough which focuses on fighting pornography and sexual exploitation of children, she is one of the most respected women in Washington.
Said Hughes of her involvement in the scandal and the aftermath,
“I lost everything I put my identity in, but at the darkest hour, it was my greatest time to grow, learn and develop my character.” – Donna Rice Hughes
The record still speaks for itself. Anyone doing research on Donna Rice and Gary Hart from three decades ago will discover completely different people than they are today.
In the case of Donna Rice Hughes, her past behavior is not indicative of her character in the present.
Cynics can say, “Ok, but that’s just a single incident. There are many more who do not reform or change.”
That statement is also true. However common sense tells us that accuracy should be based upon the sum total of a person’s character. That snippets often taken out of context, when an individual was younger and far less mature, should be given a generous shake of salt.
1984’s Reign of Big Brother is alive and well
Everyone knows John 8:7 from the King James Version of the Bible. Christ says just before a woman is to be stoned to death,
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – John 8:7
It’s powerful advice. Advice that should be carefully heeded by knee jerk reporters and amateur cyberspace sleuths seeking to capitalize on something someone said or did years ago.
When George Orwell published Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), he popularized a fictional character named Big Brother, the leader of a totalitarian state known as Oceania. Big Brother had total power and control “for its own sake” over the world and its inhabitants.
Though Orwell’s vision may have been slightly off, there is much to his Big Brother concept that seems to be increasingly relevant today in our technologically growing society.
The #METOO response to sexual harassment
When the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment media feeding frenzy began, numerous well-known celebrities were caught up in scandal. Chances are that many accusations were true. The question then becomes, if such charges were so offensive at the time, what took the accusers so long to come forward?
Insider reports are that Matt Lauer wouldpinch Katie Couric on the rear end on almost a daily basis. It was only after Lauer was accused of unacceptable behavior that Couric made it known that she did not like the unwanted attention.
Was Lauer guilty? Probably. Was his behavior acceptable? Certainly not.
So why then did Couric wait until the horse was out of the barn to make her feelings known? Chances are, with Lauer it was just an inside “thing” that had been going on for a long time. Since Couric did not tell him to “stop” his assumption was, most likely, his co-anchor was ok with his behavior.
Clearly, that does not make Lauer’s behavior acceptable, but there must also be blame to the victim if they do nothing to halt an uncomfortable situation at the outset.
The morality police who today scour the internet seeking dirt on someone are every bit as culpable as those they are attempting crucify. In fact, they are more guilty because chances are that they are out and out hypocrites who could not stand up under an investigation of their own lives.
As Donna Rice Hughes would say, Enough is Enough.
About the Author:
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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