Sexual assault is sexual assault regardless of your political views. It’s a simple truth, but sadly it seems to be lost on the United States Congress.
Only days after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decreed that all House members and staff would undergo mandatory sexual harassment training in response to the rash of unsavory allegations surfacing against members of Congress, our representatives have turned this issue into a political football.
It’s the perfect example of how Congress is failing the American people, and this is not the first time that it’s happened.
Roy Moore’s Creepy Campaign
Though it’s not the only example, Moore’s decision not to withdraw from a special election for the Alabama state Senate seat epitomizes the lengths our politicians will go to extract political value from any issue.
Having conceded critical seats to the Democrats in November’s congressional elections, Republicans are doing the unthinkable and choosing to support Moore’s campaign even after multiple women have come forward to accuse the sitting judge of inappropriate conduct.
Support is so strong, Moore could still win the race.
Even as they critique members of Hollywood's elite, who've been held up for precisely the same offenses, many GOP members are promoting a double standard when it comes to Moore's candidacy. The message? Achieving party goals is more important than upholding a measure of common decency.
We Shouldn’t Be Surprised
Political systems are constantly evolving, and ours in the US is no exception. It is necessary that things should change to adapt to new issues and satisfy the needs of a society. However, in the example of the US Congress, the evolution has been completely self-serving.
Congressional goings-on have become increasingly partisan and increasingly volatile over the last three presidential administrations. Compromise should be the defining rhetoric of a representative democracy, but instead, what we get is brinksmanship. Each side challenging the other to see how far they can push it.
When we abandon the idea of compromise, intelligent conversation is replaced with adolescent bickering. It’s a trend we’ve seen permeate American society. It’s coming from the top down, not the other way around, and it’s draining the blood from our country in more ways than one.
The Tipping Point
Democrats will respond to Moore’s continued candidacy by calling the GOP out for defending someone who is being accused of child molestation, but how did we get so far as to even condone this type of behavior? Not from Moore, but from Congress.
Run the tape back to 1998 and the Clinton administration. Monica Lewinsky’s affair with then-President Bill Clinton re-defined where the public’s attention should and could go. Lewinskey-gate drew the battle lines for the partisan conflict to come and we’ve been fighting it ever since.
Some people felt that Clinton’s personal life should be off-limits, but most Americans took the bait and chose sides in what would become the first of many ugly politically-fueled standoffs.
Conflict Over Compromise
In every election since then, campaign platforms and political promises have centered on a few critical issues. Abortion rights, foreign policy, immigration, gun control.
Even gun owners know the NRA is under lobbyist control, and yet Congress hasn’t budged on gun control. In a country made up of citizens from many diverse parts of the world, the executive branch continues to try and close our borders. Alternative solutions are suggested and shot down.
In business, it is sometimes said that one should not let great be the enemy of good. Make no mistake, we’re doing exactly that at a political level. The results are neither great, nor good — they’re just disappointing.
Photo Source: AP