Magazine article Insight on the News

Judge Injustice by Behavior, Not Affiliation

Magazine article Insight on the News

Judge Injustice by Behavior, Not Affiliation

Article excerpt

When unsubstantiated charges regarding sexually offensive comments were made against Judge Clarence Thomas, then-nominee for the Supreme Court, the leaders of virtually every women's organization in the country jumped on the bandwagon demanding that his nomination be withdrawn.

Today, these self-proclaimed spokespeople for more than half of the nation's population have shown that they either have very short memories or very flexible moral standards. There has been a deafening silence from their ranks with regard to reports of unwanted sexual advances made by the president -- a political figure , who sailed to reelection with hefty feminist support.

Anita Hill, a poster child for women's rights, recently engaged in legalese acrobatics to argue that President Clinton's alleged sexual advances did not, technically, constitute harassment, since neither Kathleen Willey nor Paula Corbin Jones claimed that they suffered on the job because of harassment. Perhaps a little insecure about the weight of this argument, Hill adds a non sequitur proclaiming that the cases of Clinton and Thomas were fundamentally different, since Clinton is an elected official who was chosen twice by a nation that was aware of allegations of past sexual scandals, while Thomas (whose reputation and career Hill sought to ruin) was being nominated for a lifetime court position that would deal directly with cases involving sexual harassment.

The double standard that has been openly embraced by many high-profile female leaders may have devastating consequences for the women's rights movement, for moral authority rests on moral consistency. When principle is sacrificed for partisanship and when a campaign of selective outrage is waged against targeted ideological opponents, moral authority dissipates, and legitimate claims of sexual abuse and misuse are undermined. …

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