There is no defense for victimizing women
I would like to apologize to everyone — on behalf of all the other old, fat, white guys in the world who seem to run everything and who also get most of the money there is — for the actions of Bill O'Reilly, who recently lost his job at Fox News for apparently indulging every dirty thought that entered his mind and terrorizing (with unwanted sexual advances and heinous harassment) pretty much every attractive woman he ever came in contact with, in spite of the fact that (being what I presume to be an intelligent person) he not only knew it was wrong BUT that he almost certainly would eventually get caught doing it.
What I'd like to say is, we're not all that stupid or obnoxious. I promise.
No, really, I know I'm usually kind of a smart-aleck, but I know better than to behave this way, even though nobody ever gave me a million-dollar salary for doing what most people do for, you know, normal amounts of money. And I would especially like you all to know that many, many other old, fat, white guys also know better.
This kind of behavior does not make the rest of us feel good.
Oh, sure, we're thrilled and relieved that Fox News had the cajones to send this arrogant, extremely overpaid news "personality" packing. And yes, we know the only reason he finally lost his job is because his network lost millions of dollars in advertising revenues, which only serves to remind us that the real issue here is not one of morality but capitalism.
It is not surprising to me that Fox News was such a corrupt working environment. After all, O'Reilly's boss, Roger Ailes, also got caught doing the same kind of sleazy, unwanted activity — pestering women under his command with creepy sexual abuse that only later we learn was undertaken on such a chronic and criminal basis that it appears few of the women he worked with were NOT among his victims.
I guarantee that the rest of us out here in fat, old white-guy-land understand that this is wrong. Most of us don't do this stuff. We know better, and we're not nearly so amoral.
No, really — I want you to believe me when I say most Scout leaders and priests aren't perverts waiting to pounce on innocent young boys. Most teachers and guidance counselors are not deviant sexual predators — just like most Little League treasurers aren't siphoning funds from their budgets to support their drug habits or gambling compulsions.
If you've followed the things I write about at all, you may remember I said something very similar many years ago, when U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood was caught harassing women, attempting to ply them with boxed wine and chasing them around his office hoping to get a smooch or even more from them.
I was shocked and outraged then — just like now — because I've never NOT known that this is an unacceptable thing to do. Oh, sure, I know, it's not a brand of behavior unique to Republicans or conservatives. Bill Clinton was guilty of the same conceit — and it was no more permissible just because he was (in my own mind) on the correct side of some political issues.
Personally, I thought Hillary should have dumped him then and there. I do believe these things matter. I'm a very ordinary little person who's been faithfully married to the same woman for 50 years, and I've never been confused about my responsibility in that relationship.
So, I have no sympathy for senators, or highly paid media moguls, or anybody else who can't manage to behave themselves — especially when they're in positions of power and tempted to exert undue influence over less-powerful employees.
I was never prouder of my old boss, Steve Clark, than the day he heard about an employee of our newspapers who was creeping out a female co-worker with unwanted back rubs and naughty, off-color comments. There was no committee meeting, prolonged study of the issue or Shakespearian hand-wringing. A check was cut, and this guy was showed the door, that very day.
That, I believe, is the proper way to deal with sexual harassment — regardless of the perpetrator's title or salary.
And, on reflection, I guess the fact that we no longer have a Sen. Packwood in Washington or a Fox News "commentator" named Bill O'Reilly only goes to show that the system does, at times, work. And for that, I'm grateful.
Now, all the rest of us need to do is remember that, when O'Reilly pops up again at another news outlet, he is still that same sleazebag who preyed on younger, less powerful women for his kicks, and take whatever he "reports" with a grain of salt.
Mikel Kelly, in spite of his holier-than-thou demeanor, is actually a pretty regular guy, with his own set of flaws and weaknesses — one of which is his tendency to send in these occasional opinion pieces, even though he's been retired for more than a year and a half.