Politicians get a lot of deserved mockery in this space. But once in a while you’ve got to give them some credit. If they don’t screw it up through a PC application of an appropriate measure, that is. But when it comes to sex, pols are rarely appropriate.
Two NYC council members are both introducing bills to mandate reporting of sexual harassment committed by any city official, including people on their own staffs. City law already provides that all claims are reported by other city officials but, of course, city council exempted itself from that. This bill would rectify the situation.
It came about because one councilman, Ruben Diaz, Sr., interestingly enough a socially conservative Dem, refused to report problems in that area concerning his staff, saying, “I’m not gonna rat my people out!” He later apologized and said there was “a coordinated campaign” to remove him from council. No bloody wonder. At press time Diaz had not expressed any loyalty or concern for the people who had to endure boorish or vulgar behavior from his likely gross staff members.
That a woman should be safe from sexual harassment or assault is axiomatic. The deviled details are comprised of what constitutes such. Unwanted physical advances or proposed quid pro quos? Yup. Obscene language? Yup. Clumsy attempts to chat up a woman? No. However, the PC Thought Police, not fond of heterosexual union, would make almost any personal contact between the two sexes an example of assault. They believe the “patriarchy” runs around with sex on their minds 100 percent of the time. And they’re wrong. By ten percent.
Intelligent men know how to control their sex drives and thus do not subject their female coworkers to unwanted forays. Intelligent females know the difference between normal flirtation and harassment and act accordingly. Flirtation deserves a gentle let down, if that’s the result, but firm answer. Harassment deserves reporting and probably punishment. But PC feminists and their allied male castrati mistakenly think all women are poor powerless wretches unable to stand up for themselves and all men are potential rapists, scanning the workplace savannah for prey. Thus they, the PC types many times in charge at HR, behave like NFL officials gone berserk, throwing flags where no penalty exists.
It is certainly true that sex pervades politics at every level. At least it did during my almost twenty years in operational politics and I doubt it has changed much. I’ve seen the hallways of hotels campaigns are staying in look like Grand Central Station at rush hour when the morning came and people were returning to their own rooms.
Politics attracts men and women who are innate gamblers and will take risks to get what they want. Some of those gambits turn to sex; as in political campaigns and politics in general men and women work closely together during sometimes dramatic circumstances. Strong bonds are formed and there are times when it goes farther than that. It’s not just politics, I saw the same thing as a Red Cross volunteer in Louisiana with the Katrina relief effort, and the U.S. Army is no slacker in this regard. Not excusing an inappropriate practice of this habit by anyone. An explanation is not necessarily a defense.
So to make sure women do not bear the burden of that tendency is a very good thing. Any manner of workplace should not be a venue where a woman feels she is walking on a sexual minefield.
Administered judiciously, NYC has hit upon an overdue reform. In a city not exactly known for its judicious judgment in public matters, one hopes this is an exception.