I set aside a draft post on Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment, coercion and violence. I can imagine my friend who already thinks I’m crazy for blogging about my personal issues screaming in frustration – but never fear, I won’t be writing about my sexual experiences in this post.
What in the world is wrong with us?
It seems anytime a person does something that seems incorrect to others, there’s an avalanche of nasty tweets, snarky posts and bad press. It can be about attire, behavior, beliefs – anything – and “we, the people” are all over it. We give our unsolicited opinions, we pick fights with friends and strangers, we get stuck in nonsensical repetition. It is driving us crazy! People try to step away from social media because they’re sick of the negativity, or they stay online, searching for baby animal videos because they just want to see something cute. People avoid the news – real and fake – while others can’t turn away from their news channels.
We can be so talkative and critical much of the time – and other times our lips are sealed and our fingers frozen. What happened with Harvey Weinstein and others of his ilk? Where were those who knew of his predatory behavior? Every one of us knows when something is not right.
Think of all the times you now know you should have spoken up or taken action. When was a childhood friend bullied? When did your acquaintance tell a racially-offensive joke? When did your group chortle at someone walking by who they stereotyped in some way? When did your male colleagues talk about a female employee’s physical attributes in a sexual manner?” Yep, I thought so – you’ve experienced all of these. Even more, you may – I have – been part of the problem. I’ve admitted before to telling dumb blonde jokes which natural blondes found offensive – and I’ve done much worse.
So if we know how to behave and when to speak up, why don’t we? Those poor women sexually victimized by Weinstein not only have to heal, some have to live with not speaking up to protect future targets. I feel certain if those women felt they would not be penalized in their personal and professional lives, they would have done so. Why can’t we stop “going along to get along?” Why can’t we do what is right and respect others who do what they believe to be right (within the law)?
None of us have the answers. I look back on the decades of my life and know my beliefs and perceptions have changed on a myriad of issues – surely you can do the same. So what gives us the right to assume we know what is best for others? Why can’t we show compassion and empathy – and maybe, just maybe – recognize that we do not have the right answers all the time.
Hush. Listen. Reflect. Look in the mirror. Do the right thing.
(ditto for me!)