Today marks the birthday of my younger sister, whom I have referred to here frequently. Growing up with her and following her life and career imbued me with an early and ongoing appreciation of the effects of sexism and pro-male bias in society, and I’m indebted to her for that. She has always equaled or surpassed me in ability and enterprise, yet often watched me receive more credit or praise for the same things she could do and did without similar acclaim. I know she resented me for that (probably still does—she won’t read Ethics Alarms, for example), and it frequently bruised our relationship over the years. She also taught me about moral luck: in general, I have been persistently lucky, and she has not, and the difference was so evident that I learned very early in life not to congratulate myself for how the dice fell. She is finally happy in retirement, is about to welcome the first grandchild for this generation of Marshalls, her two adult children are healthy and prospering, and her beloved Nationals just forced a Game 7 in the World Series. She will have a happy birthday. Good. She deserves it.
1. Tales of the double standard, and the imaginary double standard. MSNBC and much of the progressive noise machine has decided to paint Rep. Katie Hill as a victim of a “vast right wing conspiracy,” in Hillary’s immortal phrase, and a vicious husband. If he indeed was the one who shared the salacious photos of Hill involved in various sex acts, vicious he certainly is. But how can anyone say, as lawyer Carrie Goldberg does, that “Katie Hill was taken down by three things: an abusive ex, a misogynist far-right media apparatus, and a society that was gleeful about sexually humiliating a young woman in power…None of those elements would be here if it were a male victim. It is because she is female that this happened’? Nonsense, and deceptive nonsense.
Hill resigned because a House ethics investigation was underway regarding her admitted sexual affair with a Congressional staffer and an alleged affair with her legislative director. She was not going to be kicked out of Congress for either or both; she probably resigned in part because she knew the investigation was going to turn up more and worse. The Naked Congresswoman Principle also played a part, as I discussed here. Does anyone really believe that equivalent photos of a male member of Congress displaying his naughty bits in flagrante delicto (my late, great, law school roomie loved saying that phrase) with both sexes would be shrugged off by his constituents and the news media? Who are they kidding?
Hill was arrogant and reckless, and is paying the predictable price, though she was not smart enough to predict it. Trail-blazers—I’m not sure being the first openly bi-sexual member of Congress is much of a trail to blaze, but never mind—are always under special scrutiny and have to avoid scandal at all costs. Did Hill ever hear of Jackie Robinson? Allowing those photos to come into existence showed terrible judgment; using her staff as a dating resource was hypocritical for a member of the #MeToo party and workplace misconduct too.
The fact that she is being defended tells us all we need to know about the integrity of her defenders.
2. Here’s a despicable columnist…Times op-ed writer Jennifer Weiner writes that it felt good to see the President of the United States publicly booed at a World Series game. I refer readers to this post, in which I noted that it was increasingly undeniable that liberals, progressives, Democrats, “the resistance,” and the Left have become the “bad guys” in our society and culture. How rotten a human being do you have to be to 1) take joy in the attempted public denigration of your nation’s leade,r 2) to endorse what is rude and obnoxious conduct at a baseball game when directed at a player, never mind a spectator, 3) reject the Golden Rule in its entirety and boast about doing so?
Let me add that if I read or hear one more Democrat or progressive spew the innately dishonest mantra (from Michelle Obama) “When they go low, we go high,” I might have to track the responsible party and fart in their general direction. The only way the Axis of Unethical Conduct could possibly describe their conduct since November 2016 as “high” is if they are standing on their heads and don’t know it.
3. And speaking of the World Series, a couple of ethics notes:
- The level of sheer excitement, happiness and community connection fostered by the Washington Nationals win last night, forcing a decisive Game 7, is palpable here. People are wearing Nationals caps and jerseys, they are smiling and chatting, a stranger gave me a thumbs up in the 7-11 parking lot. The D.C. area is not usually like this. This is why sports teams matter to a community.
I’d like to say baseball particularly, but that’s not true.
- Because the Nats won handily, baseball was spared an ethics controversy. In this play…
… that the umpires got right, Washington batter Trey Turner was called out for interference. See that lane to the right of the baseline? That’s where the runner is supposed to run to first on a play like that so he doesn’t interfere with the fielder’s attempt to throw him out. Runners often do what Turner did to steal a base hit or force a throwing error, because the interference is not always called when it should be.
A distressing number of commentators last night, however, claimed that it shouldn’t have been called because it was a World Series game. Nothing about the officiating in a post-season game should vary one iota from how it is in the most meaningless game in the regular season. It’s called integrity.