Dylan Schultze | USA
As of thus far, whether or not Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl years ago has not been objectively proven, one way or another. Nobody knows if any of the men who have recently been accused of rape, harassment, assault, or misconduct are guilty, except for those who have admitted it, of course. For some, the evidence is stacked pretty high, but we still cannot assume their guilt without irrefutable evidence.
The purpose here is not to defend predators or to pretend like men aren’t capable of great evil. Any individual has the capacity to commit an egregious act against a fellow human being. However, in this Salem-like witch hunt of sexual abusers, we are losing sight of a core principle that sets America apart from many other nations: Each one of us is innocent until proven guilty.
While we all want to hold anyone accountable for any crimes he or she may commit, we should not become so blinded by our own fear and lust for vengeance that we stop seeing the humanity in others and the rights they have as citizens of this great nation. To allow accusation, rumor, and innuendo to rip people from their jobs and drive them from the circles of respectable society is to allow for mobs to rule with torches and pitchforks.
In particular, I am concerned by the accusations against men in positions of power, because it is set against a backdrop of political hostility towards men in general. Again, this is not a defense of the guilty, or even a criticism of those who want to take steps to bring the guilty to account, legally. However, we must realize that how we are going about it is uncivilized and threatens to rip apart civil society.
Already, we have a culture that is anti-man. Masculinity is dubbed “toxic.” Men on college campuses are fighting for their right of due process, and often aren’t allowed their own spaces without being called sexists, whereas in may cases, women are given exactly these realms.
As an example of society;s current double standard, I will take a recent case from a local elementary school, in which a 7 year old boy elbowed a girl in the rear after she kicked him between the legs. Unsurprisingly, the boy, a mere seven years old, was written up for sexual harassment, while the girl received no punishment. Squabbles between small children will always exist in a free society, and to punish one and not the other, simply based on gender, is an abhorrence.
Clearly, if we are now going to demand that men lose their livelihood and reputations over a potentially-true accusation, if we are going to begin treating mere news reports, second-hand stories, and unproven allegations as fact, we lose one of the core tenets that makes America a free society. In doing so, we become a nation ruled by mob mentality, a nation seeking instant verdicts in the court of public opinion, desiring instant action and instant punishment over true justice.
Clearly, we cannot allow this process to continue, and must slow down and allow due process to take place. Investigate instead of accuse. Consider instead of condemn. Let justice rule instead of vengeance. Otherwise, we all lose. If the rights of the few are sacrificed to feed the mob, the rights of the many will follow.
Innocence must be cherished and accusers must not be treated as if they’re infallible; their words must not immediately become judge, jury, and executioner. The assumption of innocence must remain of greater value than the passions of the plaintiff.
“Is the accuser always holy now?”, Arthur Miller writes in The Crucible. “Were they born this morning as clean as God’s fingers? I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem — vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” America has taken leaps and bounds forwards since this dark era. Let us not return to it once more.
(Image Credit: www.slate.com)