The #MeToo movement has been successful in its efforts to expose high-profile men who abuse their power and who are charged with sexual crimes. For this I commend those involved in it. But their claims of representing all women do not hold water. This is an exclusive rather than inclusive group. They are not interested in the voices of conservative women who may hold opposing views. In fact, if you are a conservative woman, they make assumptions about the opinions you hold.
In the case of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, the outcries are thunderous and absolute. No doubts that she is telling the truth, despite the lack of details and corroboration. On the other hand, the accusations by Karen Monahan against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (running for attorney general in Minnesota and prominent in the Democratic National Committee) have been met with skepticism, even though there are more facts presented. I don’t know the truth in either of these cases, but the thought that due process can be thrown out the window affects all women. So before we lift up our picket signs in righteous indignation, we should take pause and logically consider both sides. If not, the #MeToo movement may evolve into the #GoodOldGirlsClub. This is not a legacy I want to leave for young girls, and it is not the fate I want to leave for young boys. While respecting free speech, we still have a responsibility to hold these “loud and resounding voices” accountable. Perhaps we can accomplish this through reasonable and open-minded conversation.
Lee Ann Goerss, Buffalo, Minn.
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The standard of evidence to totally destroy a man, his family, and their careers, futures and reputations cannot be zero.
Kathy Peterson, Minneapolis
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A female comes forward accusing a male of sexual misconduct. The president and Republicans say they believe the male and ask why, if it really happened and was as bad as she claims, she didn’t speak out 30 years ago — when she was a teenager. Why ruin a man’s stellar reputation, they ask. What about the woman’s stellar reputation — whether Anita Hill, Christine Blasey Ford — or any other abused female?
When it has come to light that some priests sexually abused boys 30 years ago, Republicans never ask why the boys didn’t come forward 30 years ago — when they were teenagers. Their truthfulness is not questioned, and it is not suggested they are mistaken or confused.
Why are women so disparaged by Republicans? Is it because Republicans think they are superior to all women?
Karen Luoma-Varichak, Minneapolis
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Lynnell Mickelsen’s Sept. 23 commentary, “Kavanaugh and Ellison: What’s the difference between their cases?”, was well-considered and comprehensive. However, by focusing on Ellison’s race, I think she overlooked how complicated each of these accusations of harassment actually is. Although I would never argue that black men have not been horribly victimized by racism in this country, it is also true that men of all races, orientations and political affiliations have been accused of harassment. Some, like former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, have paid with their careers. Others, like President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, have thrived. And in Thomas’ case, his charge that he was the victim of a “lynching” is thought to have intimidated many senators into voting him onto the court.
Each allegation of harassment is unique, leaving us to muddle through in figuring out a position. I personally try to take into account such factors as seriousness of the charges, corroborating evidence, possible motivations of the accused and the accuser, number of accusers, and consequences if we decide wrongly (i.e., lifetime appointments vs. elective office). Based on what I know today, I would vote for Ellison, even though I didn’t in the primary. I oppose Kavanaugh; he has more motivation to lie than does his accuser, attempted rape is a serious charge, and he’s nominated for a lifetime appointment. I remain ambivalent about Franken, because although there were many accusers, I didn’t think the seriousness rose to the level of job loss. I wish more investigation had taken place.
I’m human, so I’m sure my politics influence my view. But I will say this: Given what happened to Franken, it is absurd to accuse Democrats of ignoring harassment in their own ranks. The Democratic women who called for him to resign showed a lot more courage than are the Republican men pushing Kavanaugh through.
Martha Bordwell, Minneapolis
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I am a survivor of sexual abuse writing to thank the Star Tribune for covering Laura Knoblach’s allegations of abuse by her father, state Rep. Jim Knoblach (“House chairman abruptly quits race,” Sept. 22). It is difficult to talk about sexual abuse, but our hesitancy to talk about it allows it to continue.
For survivors of sexual abuse and assault living with a president who brags of assaulting women and belittles women who step forward to report abuse as elected officials continue to tolerate and enable him, it is like having the worst trauma of your life and its aftermath writ large on a national scale week after week. The violent and ugly responses to Christine Blasey Ford have been the latest demoralizing development. Therefore, it has been encouraging to see coverage of Laura Knoblach and the consequences of reporting abuse.
I also send my gratitude as a nurse. Over the years I have come to look at sexual abuse and assault from an epidemiological perspective. One in four girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual abuse or assault before age 18 (tinyurl.com/assault-prevalence). In my own life I’ve found that reporting abuse is the only way to stop it. Listening to survivors and putting consequences in place for abusers is the best way to help survivors recover and to prevent future abuse.
Heidi Randen, Minneapolis
Putting the candidate’s tax-cut proposals in a clearer perspective
A Sept. 25 letter writer from Woodbury (median income in 2016: $101,922) writes that Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson “knows there is waste, fraud and abuse that can bring large savings to the state and thus to hardworking taxpayers.” This prompted me to visit Johnson’s campaign website. As I expected, not one program or service is identified as wasteful or in any other way targeted for elimination. Instead, Johnson states there that he “will order a top to bottom audit of every program funded by Minnesota taxpayers.”
This is because Republican candidates never speak the obvious truth that is spoken loud and clear by their actions — they know very well what programs they want to cut. Their mission is to reduce taxes on the rich by reducing essential services to the poor. Heck, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has even admitted that the recent round of tax cuts he pushed through Congress will now necessitate reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits to prevent the country from going broke.
Another letter writer on the same page says she has met people in homeless shelters who have full-time jobs. Are these the hardworking people the letter writer from Woodbury thinks are going to be helped by the tax and program cuts Johnson will push for? If so, she is living in a world of self-delusion. If not, she is shining a bright light on Republican priorities.
Craig Laughlin, Plymouth