Friday, October 27, 2017
In another era altogether the Church of Rome had a sacrament called “Confession”. They still have a form of this today, as does the Episcopal Church and other denominations, but the original version widely practiced in America is but a memory. And what a memory.
If you were a kid in the 1930s or 1940s “going to confession” hung over your head like a big, sharp ax. Individuals went into a dark confessional box to say aloud their transgressions before God. For youngsters in parochial schools there was no escape. The positions of parents back then were formidable. A youngster did not lie to his/her parents. (This was all before some families let their little darlings call mother or dad by their first names as in “Kay, what's for dinner tonight?” Or “Charlie, I have a big date tonight, can you give me a couple bucks?”) When a parent asked on Saturday night “did you go to confession?” there was no wiggle room.
All of which brings us to Harvey Weinstein.
Harvey has made it rough to be Jewish. But before we others could escape, along came the news of Bill O'Reilly paying out big dollars to settle sexual harassment suits brought by a number of women. So it was a tough day for wearing of the green too. Few of us who were past the age of reason at the time of the Communist infiltration hearings will ever forget the distinguished lawyer, Joseph P. Welsh, challenging the dreaded Senator McCarthy. 'Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?” A good question to put to Harvey, O'Reilly and the other power people who demean, or try to demean, women.
“Confession is good for the soul” the saying goes. But high ticket lawyers and platoons of PR people cannot make a case for the guilty. Perhaps we need to bring back the old days of the dark confessional box and all its sweat-inducing anxiety to force genuine contrition from perpetrators. Short of that every mother's son, husband and brother of decent women should stand up and say we are not going to allow sexual harassment to continue. Ever.