Fail to articulate any limits.
The allegations against Harvey Weinstein opened up a flood gate of similar abuses. We became aware as we had never been. Rumors became factual and stellar careers were ended. But they failed to distinguish blatant assault and intimidation from mere boorish behavior. What Weinstein, Lauer, O’Reily and others did was unacceptable. Dragging a date gone bad with Aziz Ansari into the mix only delegitimizes the movement. False accusations of rape should be addressed harshly.
Fail to respect legal norms.
The seriousness and the outrage associated with sexual abuse does not excuse the rejection of our legal process. Corroborating witnesses, due process, and timely reporting are still necessary. This is difficult in such matters because the abuse is usually committed in private. But without these norms guilt and innocence become arbitrary and the entire legal system become a tool for personal and political abuse. Yes, some of the guilty will go free and unpunished, but that is a price we pay for the presumption of innocence.
Practice blatant hypocrisy.
The women who came into the Senate in the wake of Anita Hill refused to believe the women who charged Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh’s yearbook is considered relevant. Would such evidence be allowed to question the character of a rape victim? Are Keith Ellison’s accusers to be readily believed? At the Clarence Thomas hearing, a younger Joe Biden said an FBI investigation was worthless.
Use the movement for political gain.
Kavanaugh was doomed with the Democrats before his name was known. Barbara Boxer said he looked guilty because of his anger at the hearing. Hirono said his guilt was consistent with his previous court rulings. They demand an FBI hearing yet there is nothing the FBI could say that would change their vote. The delay in addressing Ms. Ford’s accusation was timed to inflict maximum damage, not to achieve a fair and impartial judgement. To quote Kavanaugh they used their role to change advise and consent into search and destroy and then shamelessly used the results for political fundraising.