when tossed into a cesspool
of dull memories drowned in booze
conjures our worst demons
A word about the photo above. It is a composite of several men recently (within the last several years) accused or convicted of sexual assault against women. I layered their faces one on top of the other and blurred the final silhouette. In this age of “Me Too” it is hard to separate separate the demons from each other without convicting everyone before they’ve even been tried. Regardless of the seriousness of their transgressions, we are quick to treat all with the same intense condemnation. It is reasonable to say that an off color joke spoken in mixed company does not rise to the level of harassment or assault, and yet we demand justice. As for the women who have been truly victimized, who we want to believe and who deserve our deepest empathy and respect, it has become difficult to avoid lumping every claim that is made into one basket, which makes each revelation easier to dismiss. That is not fair to anyone. While it is important to believe those who bravely come forward knowing that they will be subject to unfiltered scrutiny, we must also take care to ensure fairness to all involved, be it affirmation for the victim or justice in a measure that is reasonable for the crime for those accused. This issue has gotten so very blurry and politicized. Social change is never easy. These are important times and we need to get this right. May we always remember that our goal is equality, respect, empathy, and understanding…and not to win for the sake of winning.