There’s a headline that could go either way.
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There are many reasons for a human with a moral compass to despise the atrocious “Dear Colleague” letter of the overrated Obama years: the ghoulish civil-rights violations in the name of security for a crime epidemic; the two-faced neo-liberal strudel-hiders who completely disavow their credibility as advocates for criminal-justice reform because they couldn’t resist the chance to punish male sexuality — make no mistake, plenty of gay men get railroaded on this fiasco; the fact that the crime epidemic being used to justify the despicable overreach of Title IX just happens to be occurring during the largest decline of America’s crime rate in living memory, in what statistically has been the safest location for teens and twenty-somethings in all other respects to live for the last one-hundred years, and that the moment you opine the epidemic being a fantasy drawn from the same hysteria as the Satanic-abuse panic of the 80s, your accused of being a rape apologist. But worst of all, “Dear Colleague” has now forced me to stand up in favor of Betsy DeVos – and among other reasons, her support of federal dollars going to the teaching of creationism is still more than enough reason for me to hate the bitch for life no matter how much she needs support rolling back this unpardonable policy.
The recent #StopBetsy movement on Twitter could very well be the next #GamerGate in terms of whatever value a Twitter Hashtag possesses: a sexually-charged culture war between the left and right where the thrill of battle takes precedence over figuring out the truth. Like #GamerGate, I imagine left-wing cultural hegemony – damaged, though it may be – will pull far more people into standing up for what is otherwise obvious nonsense out of a sense of moral obligation to feminism, nevermind how the evisceration of civil rights to advance a proceeding that – best case scenario – doesn’t even end with actual rapists ever getting sent to prison has anything to do with advancing women’s rights to anything. Like #GamerGate, I imagine many alt-righters who gain attention from #StopBetsy will eventually poison the well by doing something similar to what Ethan Ralph, Davis M.J. Aurini, and Milo Yiannopoulos did to kill their careers (respectively: assaulting a police officer, blaming the Holocaust on the Soviet Union, and supporting their own childhood pederasty with a gay priest).
And, like #GamerGate, I also see how easy it would be for those on the left to flip the script if they chose to focus on different details in the same case. With #GamerGate, you have a first-generation son of immigrants from the chronically put-upon nation of Albania, repeatedly dismissed by the public as an abusive ex-boyfriend when he published screencaps on his WordPress site of his ex-girlfriend repeatedly admitting to cheating on him, and said screencaps have been confirmed real by the wife of the man said ex-girlfriend cheated on said Albanian with. It’s both a disbelief of a woman whose trust was abused by her husband, and the unfair dismissal of a man belonging to a historically-abused ethnicity. A reasonable person would never do this. Hatred of Albanians is more a Balkan or Arabian or Turkish prejudice than an American one, and the merits of Eron Gjoni’s claims against Zoë Quinn can be seen clearly enough by those looking at Chelsea Van Valkenberg’s record of failure in court and litigation towards her unfortunate former beau and her habitual hostility to reality (Quinn spent seven years pretending her brithdate was August 13th, just so she could say her birthday occasionally fell on Friday the 13th).
With #StopBetsy, you have a system which lowers protections against the accused in a country with the highest incarceration rate on the planet outside North Korea. A multi-ethnic country with drastically-deteriorating race relations and deeply disproportionate conviction rates for Black men (and Black women, for that matter), who also represent the highest portion of exonerations for sexual-assault in the entire country. Knowing these statistics, it’s easy to extrapolate; if Black men are more likely to be accused of crimes and later found innocent in actual trials, Black men will not see improvements when they lose the ability to cross-examine, 5th Amendment protection, protections from double-jeopardy, and the right to know what they’re being charged for – even without considering the statistics that show Blacks as disproportionately likely to be abused by the also hideous “Zero-Tolerance” policies in public schools wrought from post-Columbine hysteria, which itself happened during an era of declining school-shootings.
By both lean and robust standards of the term, “Dear Colleague” required institutional racism from America’s public universities. By their own standards, supporters of #StopBetsy are required to support racism, all for a proceeding that can’t even put an actual rapist in prison and a “one-in-five” statistic that’s clearly not even believed by its own promoters, or they’d’ve abolished co-ed schools altogether.
I have little hope DeVos dictum will mean what it should. She’s a widely disliked boss of a department in an incompetent and reviled administration. The hideous “Yes Means Yes” standard of consent shall remain the rule of the land in California, and the policy feeds just enough to the “Law and Order” psychopaths of red states to make friends among those who otherwise complain about feminism and political correctness. DeVos efforts could also very easily end up tanking due to the roving storm of incompetence, corruption, and disaster that swipes up all attached to the Drumpfstag – even if Mike Pence manages to survive 2020 with 270 intact.
But if there’s hope, it lies in the lawsuits. Every unjust expulsion, every abuse inflicted on the accused even when they’re lucky enough to be declared innocent at the end of the mess, not to mention the inevitable day when an actual rapist gets expelled but not imprisoned and goes on a Bundy-esque rampage that could’ve been nipped in the bud had the case gone to criminal court like all serious sexual-assault accusations should go at all times: all these create chances for lawsuits and lawsuits create payouts. Even places that charge four or five figures a month’ll grow sick of paying out the ass for a program that can only punish the innocent and let the guilty off with a slap on the wrist. No amount of SocJus screeching can save “Yes Means Yes” by then. The only question left is whether the length of time Americans allow this ridiculous panic’s continued infliction matches that of the Satanic Panic, or the ongoing War on Drugs – which still hasn’t managed to teach a moral lesson to the public consciousness in half a century.
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O.R. Welles is a current writer and aspiring independently-wealthy writer. He writes “never mind” as a compound word for the same reason he writes “be cause” as a compound word; and for this, spell-check can kiss his ass.
He would like to thank Twitter’s @notwokileaks for inspiring this article.