Bill O'Reilly got canned today from Fox News, apparently for being involved in one too many sexual harassment scandals. As much as this seems like some kind of karmic justice for being an entertainer that profits from divisiveness and willful ignorance, the New York Times says his pay day may still be a cool $25 million. Even when he loses, he wins. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, as our president made a career out of harassing women and being generally derogatory toward them, and he got elected anyway.
I'm not sure why anyone would make this a political issue. Being an asshole toward women is never OK, and yet our culture is apparently willing to overlook it, even for important things like electing a president. Still others believe that misogyny is justified as some reaction against "political correctness," as if being enlightened and kind to others is a bad thing. Racism, homophobia, xenophobia and any other 'ism that you can think of are similarly rationalized. This strikes me as a barbaric throwback to previous centuries.
People make mistakes, and I get that. My record is embarrassingly far from perfect. That said, I believe that most people are capable of owning up to their mistakes and changing their behavior. When it's a pattern of behavior and that person is unapologetic about it, that goes well beyond being a fallible human being that made a few bad choices. Those people can and should be held accountable for their actions.
It seems absurd that we're still even having these kinds of conversations. I'm wondering if it's going to take another generation or two to get beyond this. I take a little comfort in knowing that my son doesn't have one of those openly racist, hateful grandparents, and, as I did, he goes to a racially and ethnically diverse school. Not learning the behavior is an important first step.