A big, fat, ugly guy abused his power position to try for sex with attractive women – and it happened in Hollywood. Surprised? Few are, despite the original feigned shock. And now the avalanche of accusations of such misconduct is a daily event in America, and Hollywood, while perhaps having more than its fair market share, is far from being the only industry where sexual abuse occurs.
While the barrage of newly exposed bad actors is terribly distasteful, it would be wrong to simply wring our hands and decry the current low levels of morality. While a case can surely be made for low morality, I believe that an equally convincing case for real optimism is valid. We may be witnessing a breakthrough in human history – a time when many old offensive standards that have stood for so long are being challenged vehemently. Those on the left have been the most vocal, or at least have gained the most media attention in their challenges – from Black Lives Matter, to the women’s march on DC post-election, the many protests of police violence directed at African-American men, etc., etc. But those on the right have also been vocal about their objections to those things they find morally indefensible about our current society, including providing us with many of the most pointed defenses of our constitutional liberties. In this time of enlightenment, we must all continue to have the courage to speak out against wrong at every turn, regardless of the short-term cost or the power positions that will be threatened.
Of course, there is risk in this time as well, as accusations fly and society is tempted towards a “guilty until proven innocent” standard.” Also, we cannot allow our righteous anger to become distorted by those with agendas that are not pure, who would redirect a call for reform into one of conflict based upon our political leanings, our gender, or the color of our skin. In the end, even these conflicts and their costs, which may be inevitable byproducts of the move towards righting some old wrongs, are well worth it. It is important to remember that nothing good comes without a price, and that freedom is messy by definition, but is always preferable to the alternative.