In the 1967 musical comedy, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” there is a running subtext about the role of women in the workplace. It’s meant to be humorous but it also reveals a lot about how things have changed over the last 50 years.
Working in a New York City office, J. Pierpont Finch starts out in the mailroom and watches his career skyrocket thanks to the advice of a handy book with the same title as the movie. There are some great laughs along the way, but we also see how women are regarded by their bosses as sex objects. There is even an ironic number called, “A Secretary is Not a Toy,” but that’s exactly what they are in Finch’s office.
That was then. As noted here, there are many movements of conscience today – “Woke” if you like - in which formally marginalized members of society are stepping up to claim their rights as human beings and as American citizens; minorities, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and women.
Where once pinching a behind or suggestive references to sex in a business meeting might have been acceptable, such behavior today is often an offense that will get a guy fired. I knew one high ranking public relations executive who routinely stepped over the line and was terminated. The firm he worked for was subsequently sued for millions by the women he harassed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has been credibly accused of sexual harassment by several women who worked for him. If the charges are true – an investigation is pending along with another probe into undercounting COVID deaths in nursing homes - how a smart fellow like Cuomo might put himself in such a position is beyond me. But Cuomo also has a reputation as an arrogant bully.
There are calls from the left and right for Cuomo to resign, but if we’re going to hold him accountable for sexual harassment then we need to make sure we hold accountable Republicans credibly accused of the same behavior.
We’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of 9-11, but so seared into our minds was the horrific terrorist attack on our nation, to many of us it seems like it was only yesterday. In its wake, we went to war and created the Department of Homeland Security to ensure foreign terrorists could never again stage another mass casualty attack on America.
What’s alarming now, however, is DHS officials citing domestic terrorists as the new, more imminent threat right in our own backyard. Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, neo-Nazis, and anti-government militias, they say, want to violently overthrow our democratic republic. A lot of them tried to do just that on Jan. 6 during the deadly Capitol insurrection and law enforcement believes that could be a preview of what’s coming.
I really don’t understand what beef these people have, why they feel the need to threaten armed rebellion against the country that has given so many of them so much, and so many others have sacrificed their lives to defend. If they feel that aggrieved, they should convince enough Americans to vote them into power. That’s how our Constitution works.
President Joe Biden convinced 81 million voters in November he could lead America out of the health and economic crisis he inherited. This past week marked the anniversary of the last normal week we experienced in 2020. With the realization the pandemic was for real, our lives were turned upside down almost overnight.
Today, there are 9.5 million fewer jobs than existed last March. During the presidential campaign, I wrote if he was elected, Biden needed to go big and pass New Deal-like legislation that would help suffering families and small businesses. With the approval of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, hope is on the way, even as vaccines become more widely available.
As they always seem to do when it comes to the middle class and the working poor, Senate Republicans
unanimously opposed the bill. They had all sorts of excuses, but none of them admitted what they really wanted to do was deny Biden and Democrats a huge political victory.
I’m a big fan of Dr. Seuss. As a kid I loved his books and my grandsons love them today. But when the publisher, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, made the business decision to discontinue six of the titles because they contained racial stereotypes, conservative media and politicians went nuts.
“(Democrats) outlawed Dr. Suess!” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lied.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the publisher said in a statement. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
Movements of conscience/ they’re here to stay/ there’s no going back/ that’s the American way!