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KATIE ZERR: Is the country at a turning point?

Will the courage of individuals shown in the past couple of weeks have an impact on our country?
The Harvey Weinstein news is rattling the core of Hollywood according to headlines but there are so many more Weinsteins out there that believe they are doing nothing wrong. They continue to suggest, grab, intimidate and insinuate because they get away with it.
Or they throw blame at the victim, shaming them back into silence. It has worked for many high-profile people in recent history. Although Weinstein has fallen, there are prevalent examples of others who have been able to silence their victims with power and money, lawyers and threats. As long as these types of actions continue women will be subject to harassment.
Being raised in an era when it was commonplace and accepted as natural behavior, it is encouraging to see some backlash for reprehensible behavior that should never be accepted as normal. Some of us have been taught that we are strong, we are smart and we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to, while others have been raised to accept that our role is that of the lesser sex and we were put on the earth for the pleasure of men.
Unfortunately it will be a long time before this aspect of society is pushed aside. As long as there are those out there who can get away with intimidation and degradation to use as weapons, women will remain as we are today, measured by the way we look rather than our true value as human beings.
Senator Jeff Flake, who is definitely not a fan of the president, gave a memorable speech in the Senate yesterday. He called out the governing wing of the Republican Party to stand up to the wave of Trumpism that is overtaking politics. He pointed out that bullying and name-calling in the divide and conquer world of the president is harmful to our democracy. Flake called on his colleagues to take action against this “new normal” and warned against accepting this personal grievance and petty spite as a governing philosophy. Bullying and name calling to demean an adversary isn’t really a strategy or a solution. It is an immature, schoolyard tactic that we teach our children is wrong.
Will Flake’s appeal to fellow lawmakers get through to those in both parties whose heads are buried in the sand about the harmful course politics is taking?
One of the most important statements Flake made on Tuesday should echo down the halls of both the Senate and House, on both sides of the aisle and throughout this country.
“With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.”
Will what he said stop the march of disrespect and lack of civility that is our political climate? Or will he be dismissed with a flurry of tweets, name-calling and half-truths that have become the norm in our country?
Also this week a number of investigations have been opened by Capitol Hill committees. House Republicans on Tuesday launched new probes into several Obama-era controversies, including both the Justice Department’s 2016 handling of the Clinton email case and the administration’s 2010 approval for the sale of a mining company that gave the Russians partial control over American uranium reserves. It was reported that the FBI had evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives used bribes, kickbacks and other dirty tactics to expand Moscow’s atomic energy footprint in the U.S., related to a subsidiary of the same Russia firm according to news reports.
So if there were illegalities in this action, then let’s get to the bottom of it. If there is evidence of wrong doing let’s find it. That is the way these things should work after all.
News also came out this week that the House oversight and judiciary committees announced a joint investigation into the Justice Department and FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe. Nothing new here, just another investigation into what is a long-time investigation that so far has not proved any punishable activity.
Although caution should be in order as the same actions that are haunting Hillary Clinton are showing up as normal, everyday actions among White House staff now.
These investigations should get to the truth, but should also apply to all.
The constant turmoil that is our political system is harmful in more ways than we can imagine.
While we continue to back-bite, call names and feed the hate and distrust of the vast political division in our country, other leaders are taking advantage.
While the strength of character and values that was once basis of our world leadership is thrown aside, others who oppose those values become stronger.
This is all taking a costly toll on our nation.
As Senator Flake said, “It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? — what are we going to say?”
– Katie Zerr