Abuses of Power


The #MeToo movement has brought media attention to the dirty secret that the U.S. is a patriarchal nation similar to many other countries. Sexual favors are regarded as just one of the perquisites of power, such as a yacht, limousine, or private jet. In other words, it is just one more form of entitlement of the rich and powerful.

We have been surprised how quickly the reaction has spread among media moguls, politicians, and corporate executives. The glare of notoriety has brought swift response from corporations that wanted to protect their public image, but politicians have largely been exempt from retribution because they claimed the charges were just part of another witch hunt and based upon lies. Although women make up more than half of the population, in many cases they still are a minority in the seats of power. A lot of attention has been drawn to the examples of the "glass ceiling" in board rooms, sports, IT industry, and various levels of government. That is changing, but not without a struggle.

Of course, the LGBT community is not exempt from these abuses. Whereas the leverage has focused more on the open threat of being fired, it also has occurred when career possibilities were associated with the "casting couch" or work place harassment. The threat of exposure is not as powerful as it used to be, but gays, lesbians, and transgender people are as vulnerable to oppression as those who are discriminated against based upon gender, race, or nationality.

The glare of the media spotlight at times seems to be too over-powering. How many examples of abuse can we absorb in our attention without becoming numbed to the point of thinking "Well, this is just the normal MO so get over it." The attacks on the media about "fake news" and the acceptability of openly lying without regard to penalties have produced a culture of division and mistrust that has spread beyond the political sphere.

Sexual abuse is more than a cultural phenomenon, it is a symptom of our society and the moral rot and corruption that have affected all levels of society. This is the message of the evangelicals, and there is some truth in their argument. The challenge is how they pervert their vision of Christianity into a theocracy that demands that everyone must bow to their specific beliefs and thus there is no freedom of religion. Their hypocrisy has driven many people away from any form of organized religion, and there is no worse example than the polity of the United Methodist Church that officially requires clergy to lie about their sexual orientation if they are to be accepted into ordination. The bishops don't even consider this an abuse of power; it is mere fealty to uphold ancient dogma.

So when is this media frenzy going to blow over? There seem to be more revelations every day, but when will the public tire of it and move on to the next murder or expose? If we can tolerate 50,000 deaths due to gun violence, then surely as a society we have become inured to the abuses of power.