Due Process. Why Now?

Accusations are not proof.

There was plenty of piling on during the MeToo era. People were quick to pursue the trophy heads of accused sexual predators without due process during the Trump years. Why are those same people calling for proper procedural protocols today?

Dahlia Lithwick wrote a thought-provoking piece titled:

Maybe It's a Good Thing Andrew Cuomo Is Still Governor - The MeToo movement should welcome due process.

She writes:

Perhaps Democrats who demanded that Al Franken depart the Senate before any formal investigatory process was undertaken haven't so much soured on the possibility of bringing sexual predators to justice as they have come to realize that insisting on resignations before there has been an investigation is not a good strategy. 

The push to reinstate the concept of due process at this point, simply because a Democratic hero like Cuomo became entangled in the MeToo web, is quite illuminating. 

During the height of the MeToo public courtroom dramas of 2017, most on the far left viewed the concept of due process as a remnant of a legal system bequeathed to us from English common law—a white man's oppression system. Although this is the standard of justice applied to individuals in courtrooms, it was perceived to be unjust. This was a movement-wide attack on the conduct of justice as we understood it in courtrooms all across America. 

Abandoning due process wasn't a thought bubble that emerged during the Trump years. There were real-life examples of profound injustice in the years before MeToo. An ideological latticework around this idea was put into practice long before Trump was part of the political landscape.  

The Obama administration's effort to end sexual assault began with college campuses, Title IX, and the 2011 Dear Colleague letter. This directive advised colleges to adjudicate claims of sexual assault on campuses in closed tribunals. Although it might have been a worthy goal to tackle sexual assault, the administration quickly went too far with Title IX changes. Definitions of what constituted sexual misconduct were vastly inflated. Investigative procedures to adjudicate misconduct were often stacked against the accused, who were overwhelmingly young men. In the end, many of the decisions were unjust, which resulted in reversals in actual courts of law. Colleges had to pay substantial damages to the abused. 

Due process wasn’t championed during the height of the MeToo explosion. Many suggested the evidentiary standards necessary for someone's conviction for the crime of sexual assault were too onerous and burdensome. According to the supporters of MeToo and the campus rape hysteria, the requirement that one had to face your accuser was too traumatic. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and then-Senator Kamala Harris declared they knew what Brett Kavanaugh was alleged of before hearing either party's testimony. The disregard for unbiased and impartial fact-finding in their rush to embrace the slogan #BelieveSurvivors may actually have helped confirm Kavanaugh.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has not been immediately removed or cast out by Democrats—at least not yet. This is despite the calls from certain politicians and media personalities. Today, two more women have accused the governor of behaving inappropriately.

In The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg wrote about the reasons for Cuomo's sexual harassment allegations not leading to widespread condemnation within the Democratic party—suggesting a diminution in the power of #MeToo. 

If this scandal had broken a few years ago, high-profile Democrats would have felt no choice but to call for Cuomo's resignation.

She claims this could be a result of a public pivot away from gender to race concerns and the possible regret from progressives about ejecting Al Franken from the Senate. There may be some rationality seeping into the zeitgeist. It's quite a contrast to what we saw back in 2017 and 2018. 

There were many valid reasons why #MeToo happened. When rich, powerful men have faced accusations of sexual misconduct in the past, their accusers were very often smeared in the press. They were called sluts, liars, or other degrading labels. This lead to people not speaking out, and instead, serial predators went un-punished. Why would someone bother coming forward when their reputation could be ruined, and few people believed their story? 

If people felt Republicans kept getting away with being sex harassers and assaulters, is the new standard that it should only be "fair" to allow Democrats to get away with the same? If we start reinforcing a culture of impunity for those accused of sexual harassment, it might destroy what good resulted from the #MeToo movement. Sadly, those who are victims of sexual assault and harassment will be collateral damage.

Accusations are not proof. There should always be an investigative process when it comes to accusations of wrongdoing and criminality, even for people like Andrew Cuomo.

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Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain't Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University's School of Business and is a 29 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including "Tick, tick…BOOM!Altar BoyzMemphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson's Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Spongebob Squarepants, The Musical, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.

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