Who Is Burns Strider?
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He was punished, according to the established guidelines set up for the organization, by her legal team.  Guidelines that of course had to pass scrutiny for a candidate whose central platform is gender equity. I was just talking about how troubling this “bandwagon” backlash is becoming for sexual harassment. Once the allegations came to light, he was suspended without pay, demoted in rank and responsibilities, campaign email accounts monitored, removed from the office and relocated, and ordered to complete sexual harassment training. His actions of abuse garnered consequences, both in standing and in pocketbook. 

 It goes without saying that many men do not accept their behavior as offensive or threatening. It’s “guys being guys”. We can’t just punish people for their ignorance. We have to make them aware of their transgressions, that’s not something to take lightly, and, most importantly, how to behave going forward. That’s why we have sexual harassment training for offenders. If we think it’s a joke, then why are we even bothering to push to make it a requirement? The same for racial sensitivity training, or any hr-corrective action? If we are going to demand that anyone accused and admitted of sexual harassment, racial harassment, islamophobia, substance abuse, bad behavior be terminated, and subsequently unemployable, what’s the ramification on the job market, especially in pools of skilled/accredited talent? Are we being realistic, or are we catering to fantasy?
My opinion isn’t based on my political ideals. Sure, I’m a fan of Hillary Clinton. I wanted her to win in 2008, and again in 2016. So I can’t be shocked by any accusations of bias. But in context, Charlie Rose is a hero to me, who turned out to have a chronic history of crude and patently-offensive sexual harassment in the workplace. It broke my heart to see a hero disgraced, but I will be the first to tell you that PBS was right to terminate him. If Burns Strider was working for Trump, or for Ted Cruz, my sentiments would be the same as they are for him working for Clinton. Which makes me wonder: did any other campaign organization besides HRC even have guidelines for a sexual harassment policy? In her defense, Hillary Clinton acknowledged the accusation, followed guidelines, and meted out accordingly, in the throws of a full-blown fight for the Democratic nomination. Can anyone name any other similar case of sexual harassment on the campaign trail that was handled any better in 2012, or 2016? How about worse?
In fairness, there are developing stories about Striker’s behavior during the 2016 campaign. The Daily Mail isn’t my favorite source for factual news, but it does have a story about the man’s history of allegations and professional development within the Democratic party. I’d read it with a huge grain of salt, but I also wouldn’t completely dismiss it either.
 
I don’t mind having to question my beliefs, or challenging my sense of truth. It’s how we learn and evolve. What bothers me is this pervasive social notion to demonize and punish mercilessly. Not just Hillary Clinton, but anyone the mob sets its sights on. Sometimes it’s warranted, like against Larry Nassar. But it seems arbitrary, like no one seemed to care when Dennis Hastert’s behavior came to light, as the case of one former victim led to darker inferences of multiple victims provided by a child prostitution ring.
 
I think that #MeToo is vital and necessary, a wake up call that our general attitude towards sexual harassment and sexual violence is too casually permissive. Like racism, denying it only empowers the predators.  So I don’t want to come across as dismissive about the Burns Striders in the world. My concern is that we are burning more bridges than we’re building, and the consequences that will follow. What are we doing to provent future incidents? Are we having those discussions with your sons and daughters, our mentors and mentees, about what is right and wrong? Or are we just going to vent rage at anything that quack likes a duck? Are we trying to build a better world, or just set the forest on fire?

 

Burns Strider was accused of harassing a young 2008 campaign aide, but the former first lady kept him on the trail.

Source: A decade of ‘creepy behavior’ – The Daily Mail