SUN Sailor Editions Excelsior/Shorewood - Page 4

Opinions Sun Sailor Newspapers encourages the free and open expression of ideas and opinions. To that end, we welcome letters to the editor and guest columns from members of the community on issues of local importance. Commentaries can be sent to EXCELSIOR / SHOREWOOD Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 • Page 4 Repulsion of sexual misbehavior fi nds its voice A buse of coworkers, sub- ordinates, associates, ac- quaintances, male or female is wrong. Intimidation and coer- cion through power and position is wrong. Gender bias and gender arrogance is wrong. Suppression of human value, accomplish- ment and subsequent diminished reward, especially by gender, is wrong. Unwanted sexual advanc- es, regardless of work or social environment, are wrong. You would think that after a few thousand years we would know the rules. There is the problem. We know the rules, but we just haven’t followed the rules. While our vio- lations may have been in any pos- sible combinations of characters and places, it has been most fre- quently male to female. Even in the highest echelons of business, government, church, journalism, entertainment, sport, school and other societal structures, we have given a wink and a nod to behav- iors that we know are wrong. We are changing. Our acknowl- edgement of inappropriate acts and resulting oppression is fi nally emerging with both strength and commitment to change. But with change comes confusion, and we would do well to proceed with caution lest our emotions damage the very structures that enable us to change. We recommend some areas of caution. acts of misbehavior are not equal. The political temptation to over- turn an election outcome without suffi cient cause is always present. Removal from offi ce must be as- sociated with a process and not be left to reaction of the moment. OUR VIEWPOINT An opinion of the ECM Publishers Editorial Board. Reactions to this editorial — and to any commentary on these pages – are always welcome. Send to: day: a senator, past president, cur- rent president, favorite journalist, movie producer, acclaimed actor, sports icon, local legislator, may- or, judge or school administrator, priest or minister? Revelations of individual ac- tions over the past decades may, some say, provide headlines for years to come. The risk is that the accusations become so commonplace that we diminish our resolve to change behavior. Don’t devalue or disenfranchise our democratic process. Elections represent the will of the people by majority vote. If we negate that process with every rev- elation, we trivialize our system of government. We run the risk of becoming fl ippant with “impeachment,” Don’t allow the frequency of “expulsion” and “demand for reporting to trivialize abuse. resignation.” So who has been found out to- All acts of aggression and all Our processes for review are inadequate. Sen. Al Franken is both an ac- cused and admitted transgressor and now we hear calls for his res- ignation. Leaving the Senate may be the ultimate resolution of his behavior but let the process play out. The issues need a structure of adjudication and the accused need some access to a fair and just hear- ing. Sen. Franken and Senate Ma- jority Leader Mitch McConnell have called for ethics review. We think the review is both appropri- ate and necessary. Congress appears to have a cumbersome and at times inhibit- ing process for dealing with com- plaints that protect the transgres- sors. Now is the time to correct those systems. Now is the time and op- portunity to address the stan- dards of acceptable behavior and to establish the consequences of transgression. A Franken resigna- tion may be satisfying to some but won’t improve the process. We should remember that the review of Sen. Robert Packwood’s ethics hearing lasted nearly three years. Such a lengthy process is unacceptable. It is a symptom of the congressional ethics review problem. Move the issues along with fairness and expediency. Politics, justice and ethics are not always allied. When the accused is an elected offi cial, the ethics review has po- litical ramifi cations. It is easier to condemn the mem- ber of the other person’s party, forgetting that the next transgres- sor may be from our own political list of candidates and offi ce hold- ers. Laws, standards and process combined with eventual prec- edents will help reduce political infl uence on ethics judgments. We as citizens must curb our political reactions if we expect our elected offi cials to do the same. The higher good is freedom from bullying, sexual transgres- sion and oppression. In the midst of a very confusing and irritating political climate we are presented with an opportunity to achieve a greater good: freedom from harassment, bullying and vi- olation of physical and emotional privacy. We are now blessed with a long-needed visibility of both the transgressions and the cover-ups. These acts will vary greatly in de- gree, substance, place and conse- quence to the victims. Some may be current and oth- ers decades old. All will require fairness to the accused and the accuser and in the end (if we will it) the behaviors of transgression an