Ah, another daily dose of amazement … and it’s a big one.
Sexual harassment allegations on the presidential campaign trail, and Herman Cain stands strong — in his defense and, disturbingly, in the polls. And, things in the Happy Valley apparently have been anything but happy for a number of boys abused by a former Penn State coach, and the story and defense have revolved around Joe Paterno who did just slightly more than nothing in 2002(!) when a student told him about witnessing a child’s rape by another coach, on Penn State’s property.
As for Cain, women keep coming forward, out of the proverbial woodwork if you will, with claims of harassment and Cain keeps denying and lashing out. At first his defense was that there were no names behind the news claims of harassment and settlements: it was smack talk started by his political opponents. Now, there are names and faces behind the claims, and confirmed settlements in the tens-of-thousands of dollars, and Cain still spins, still proclaims his innocence. Okay, fair enough. If he’s not going to say he’s innocent, who is? But, his poll numbers remain strong. Are his supporters blindfolded and wearing ear plugs, or are they just part of those extreme factions in our country who are working diligently to send women back into the dark ages in terms of health and reproductive rights?
And JoePa, well, he’s finally going to start praying for the victims. I’m sure Sandusky’s victims (9 and climbing) feel much better. Paterno, who did just shy of nothing when told of a child’s rape in Nittany showers, is now — after nine years and the allegations becoming public — is praying for the victims. Isn’t he swell? And still, like Cain, Paterno’s supporters stand strong. He didn’t do anything illegal; he did what he could under the circumstances; he fulfilled his legal responsibility (apparently, he had only one?); and he’s a really good guy. As a friend of mine said last evening when we were discussing this, “No. No he’s not a good guy. He didn’t even go check on the kid”! She’s right. Even I’m guilty of looking at this seemingly frail old man and trying to find the grey in the situation (and I have no allegiances to him or Penn State like some). But she’s right — 100% right. There’s no grey. Doing just what’s legal and not what is morally, ethically, right is wrong. Joe Pa was wrong, is wrong, and his prayers are too little too late.
As I’ve been writing this this morning, I’ve seen news stories on each case and the behavior of these two men in the past 12 hours or so is really telling: Herman Cain on late night TV making some quip about not saying what he could about what a woman could/should do, all the while grinning like a Cheshire cat, nodding knowingly and leering at the camera. Paterno, meanwhile, repeatedly thanked the supporters outside his home and then tossed in something to effect of “and we should all pray for them. Anyway, I appreciate you being here for me…” “Anyway”? “For me”?
Look, no one wants to see an old man fall, especially because of something soooo horrible, and I always flinch when I see an African-American man accused of something as terrible as Cain has. But, the evidence is coming out, quickly (finally), and these are huge, serious problems for both of these men and for Penn State. Joe Paterno miserably failed who-knows-how-many young victims of Sandusky in an ethical and practical sense. And, Cain…Cain is so vehement in his denial, and about blaming his rivals (on either side, depending on the day), that if this doesn’t scream “doth protest too much,” I don’t know what does.
More stories will surface and more real evidence will come out (I hope!), but in the meantime, these two should do the right thing and step aside. I’m enough of a feminist that it doesn’t automatically have to be “ladies first” but it does have to be children first and it most certainly should not be women and children last.
If they won’t step aside, perhaps they should be voted off the island!?!