Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Sheen, etc., have been accused of some despicable behavior, and these accusations have helped shine a light on actions that have been hidden away for much too long. There is no doubt that too many men in positions of strength and power have used their position to force others into unwanted acts. As I mentioned in a previous blog, there is no excuse for these actions, and it would be difficult to find a woman today who has not faced harassment of some sort.
Of equal concern to me, however, is that I am watching the very things that make America great fade away in a new political climate. Our judicial system stands out in the world with its strong policy of Innocent until proven Guilty. Unlike many other countries, those accused of crimes are given time and attorneys to represent them. In fact, it has never been their job to prove innocence, but rather the state’s job to prove guilt.
Suddenly, things are turned around, and these men are being accused, tried by media and punished, before they face the first judge. Weinstein lost his job because of these accusations. Spacey is literally being spliced out of a movie that is to be released next month, and he is being replaced by Christopher Plummer. Do I believe these men are guilty? I think they probably are, and that is where the problem lies.
It is not my place to judge innocence or guilt without knowing all of the facts, yet it is easy to do so. The media sensationalizes much of what we hear and often paints an unfair picture. Through the years women have been in a position of fighting to be believed, and that was wrong. It would be equally wrong to believe every accusation without knowing all of the facts now, but it is even more detrimental to the very foundation of our justice system if employers begin punishing employees without the benefit of a trial.
I understand their dilemma. If director Ridley Scott releases the film “All the Money in the World” in December with Spacey, as expected, he might lose much of an audience to protesters. Since Spacey did admit to some of what he is being accused of, Scott was probably able to replace him without fear of a lawsuit. Weinstein may have admitted enough to allow them to oust him from the company he started, but we must be careful not to jump the gun in doling out punishments before real guilt has been established.
Our country was founded on, and our constitution written to solidify, several important principles that make us great. The separation of church and state, equality for all and the premise of innocent until proven guilty are dangerously close to being trampled on in our present day political arena. If we, as Americans, let this happen, then we will be no better than the countries that we have condemned through the years. No matter what party we vote for, we must always stand together and fight anyone who tramples on the rights our forefathers believed exemplified America.
Speaking of being believed to be guilty before all the facts are in, John Lescroart’s newest novel, Poison, finds defense attorney Dismis Hardy attempting to defend his client from a murder he believes she could not have committed. The book, due out in February, is sure to satisfy all Lescroart fans and add many more to that same fan list.
As always, a complete review follows this blog.