^ Harvey Weinstein. Until last week I had never heard of him, but in that short time he has become the icon of impulsive’s victory over due process in our once Constitutional democracy
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On two fronts, of late, I see people advocating stuff on social media that has no business in a Constitutional democracy. From the people now hounding one Harvey Weinstein, whoever he is, with judgment about what passed between him and women, to those who oppose gun regulation so that unauthorized citizens can go vigilante, I see explicit disregard for the basic laws that hold our society in peace. Not for them the Constitution that they are always claiming to support. Not for them such essentials of due process as proof and trial, not accusation. They want their way and to hell with Constitutional precepts.
Constitutional obligations require effort. Outrage does not. Outrage is emotional pornography.
What Mr. Weinstein is accused of is hardly new to Hollywood. The “casting couch” has ruled, so it seems, since the 1920s, when leggy young women became a hot movie item. Generations of movie moguls have been accused of the stuff that Mr. Weinstein is suddenly beyond the pale for doing. So easy it is, now, in 2017, to become high and mighty about stuff that barely yesterday we shrugged our shoulders about. This is the same sort of historical revisionism that we find elsewhere. Francis Sco0tt Key, who penned our national anthem, is suddenly no good because he owned slaves 205 years ago.
So easy it is to blindside those who lived long ago, when different standards ruled. And so our stirring national poem, which became the marching song of the Union Army in our Civil War, now becomes a no-no. Little wonder that our nation’s civic discourse hs descended from principle to poltroonery.
One would think that basic principles of societal order, such as due process, regulation of dangerous instruments, and respect for the equal civil rights of all would be unassailable, and that anyone who suggested ignoring them would find himself outcast. Now anyone who makes that assumption is wrong.
We can’t get serious gun regulation because a very well placed, if very small, subset of voters intimidates legislators by appropriating Constitutional precept for themselves. We can’t secure due process in sexual harassment cases, the society’s most toxic : which is precisely the locus of Constitutional oversight.
We can’t secure for women the basic right to control her on body and birth.
We can’t secure presumption of innocence, rules of evidence, or objective analysis for those accused of crimes — such as sexual harassment — that heat up the populace
We can’t guarantee voting rights to citizens who radical governments work to keep from voting,.
At Here and Sphere we reject these willful un-Americanisms. The Second Amendment grants no person an absolute right to carry weapons wherever he wants to. It talks about militias. Today those militias have been taken into the various National Guards.
We reject the notion that accusation of sexual harassment means los of profession. Accusation is not trial. It is not proof. It is not verdict. We try cases because we understand that accusation can arise from vengeance, from ignorance, from bigotry, or all three; or from assumption.
We dismiss the mind blindness that seeks to deny women to terminate a pregnancy
It is no legal business of anyone what another person does with her own body.
Accusation, even of sexual harassment, a wrong potentially criminal, cannot prejudice the rest of the evidence: letters, prior history, a back story, alternative theories — not if we are to remain a society at peace rather than a kettle of vengeance, a field of Bacchae.
Widespread gun ownership — enabling vigilante justice — puts paid to our Constitutional democracy. It’s the last thing that a civilized people should want or tolerate.
All of the above seems so utterly elementary to me that it marvels me to find myself saying them. Yet that is what we have come to in 2017, the 228th year of our Constitution. Impulse has replaced policy, vitriol over calm examination, religion zealotry over the civil rights of women. Lord knows where this torrent of self-centered griping will mislead us.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere