To be a modern progressive liberal, a person must do two things: project upon others that which is true of oneself, and insist that others do that which they are unwilling to do themselves. Repressive folks of the past called this hypocrisy, implying that it was a bad thing, but they just didn’t know how to properly execute such noble principles. Fortunately in Canada, we have Justin Trudeau to show us the way.
Two essential beliefs of the #MeToo movement is that all women must be believed, and you are not allowed to differentiate between a groping incident and rape. This second principle was demonstrated when actor Matt Damon (a white male) mansplained that there is a “spectrum” to behavior, that we live in a “culture of outrage”, and that “There’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.” Damon mansplained that “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question,” but “they shouldn’t be conflated.” He added, “All of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum. On this end of the continuum where you have rape and child molestation or whatever, you know, that’s prison. That’s criminal behavior and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross… I just think that we have to start delineating between what these behaviors are.” Woke Feminists were understandably outraged. Actress Alyssa Milano, a leading #MeToo activists, tweeted “I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt. And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted–even welcomed– misogyny.” Matt Damon’s ex, actress Minnie Driver, tweeted, “Gosh it’s so *interesting how men with all these opinions about women’s differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem (*profoundly unsurprising)”. Matt Damon eventually apologized for his comments and stopped trying to mansplain his position, because it was only making things worse.
In 2012, Alyssa Milano tweeted “Bill Clinton, I love you so much. Like crazy amounts of love.” Milano loved Bill despite numerous credible allegations of sexual misconduct and rape. When questioned on the appearance of a double-standard, Milano said “I don’t think Bill Clinton should’ve gotten that benefit of the doubt, in hindsight.” Milano added, “I think that as a nation, we were at a different time. I think that women were continually being silenced. And I think we gave him the benefit of the doubt, and we probably should’ve investigated the allegations against him as well.” Wow. Things have certainly changed since the dark ages of 2012.
Trudeau is a woke feminist, so Trudeau believes that women are to be believed. In January, 2018, Trudeau declared that “Sexual harassment is a systemic problem and when women speak up, we have a responsibility to listen to them and to believe them.” Never mind silly regressive concepts like due-process or the presumption-of-innocence. Trudeau has more than a little experience in such matters. He has lost a lot of male MPs to sexual improprieties. Even before he became Prime Minister, two members of his then very small caucus were accused of bad conduct by female NDP MPs who got to remain anonymous. Without waiting for – uh – evidence, Trudeau made a big public show of kicking these two men out of his party. Massimo Pacetti was accused of engaging in sex without implicit consent. By her own account, she willingly went up to Pacetti’s hotel room for drinks at 2 o’clock in the morning, she never said no, and she supplied him with a condom – but there was no implicit consent. Pacetti was also married, but adultery isn’t something anyone is supposed to care about anymore. Scott Andrews allegedly followed a woman home, groped her, and left when asked. Darshan Kang allegedly tricked a staffer into entering his Ottawa apartment, where he touched her hands, tried to remover her jacket, and tried to massage her feet. He also tried to enter her hotel room over her objections. All three deny key aspects of the allegations, but their men, and men are not supposed to be believed. Hunter Tootoo quit the caucus in 2016 after engaging in a “consensual but inappropriate” relationship with a young staffer. He was also dating the girl’s mom.
In 2018, Trudeau had Kent Hehr booted from his cabinet after women alleged that Hehr groped them or made verbally suggestive comments to them, and one said that she avoided being in an elevator with him because he made her “feel unsafe”. However, these allegations did not result in Hehr being booted from Trudeau’s caucus because – reasons.
“Believe all women” has been Trudeau’s stance for years, and in January, 2018, Trudeau told CBC Radio that he was confident no one would be able to accuse him of the kinds of sexual-misconduct that was bringing down certain high-profile men. Trudeau was asked if any of his past behavior could ever be misconstrued. He said no, declaring, “I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well”. It never seemed to occur to him that an accusation of sexual-misconduct doesn’t require any bases in fact, or that women might perceive an event differently. “The standard applies to everyone,” Justin Trudeau later declared regarding claims of sexual harassment and assault by members of Parliament. When asked specifically if the same rules applied to him, he said yes.
In the summer of 2018, 18 year old allegations surfaced against Trudeau. Suddenly Trudeau was no longer preaching that women making allegations should automatically be believed. In August, 2000, Trudeau was attending the Kokanee Summit Festival in Creston, B.C.; he was 28 years old. Following the festival, an editorial in the Creston Valley Advance accused him of groping one of the paper’s reporters, Rose Knight. The editorial quoted Trudeau’s apology where he reportedly said, “If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” The editorial asked, “Didn’t he learn through his vast experiences in public life that groping a strange young woman isn’t in the handbook of proper etiquette, regardless of who she is, what her business is or where they are?” When these allegations resurfaced, Trudeau declared that he didn’t remember any “negative interactions”. Later Trudeau declared, “I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago. I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently.”
Now many will no doubt dismiss this incident as trivial. After all, it is not as though the 28-year old Trudeau was yet a member of parliament, and it is not as if he was accused of doing something criminal (and he has done things that were criminal as both an MP and as Prime Minister, and very few of his supporters seemed to have noticed or to care). And it was 18 years ago, a groping incident at an alcohol-fueled festival. Also, Trudeau is gorgeous, so perhaps he assumed that women want him to get close and frisky. However, #MeToo requires that we treat this incident as very serious. Alyssa Milano and Minnie Driver made it perfectly clear that one cannot draw a distinction between groping a girl at a music festival, and rape. “It’s still cancer,” said Milano, and Driver declared that “differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem”. This is the trap Trudeau has laid for himself: Trudeau set an absurdly high-standard which he himself has violated, and has selectively employed a zero-tolerance policy that is supposed to be zero-tolerance, but that makes an exception for himself.
However, Trudeau seems to have navigated himself free from the trap. Unlike other #MeToo moments, there was no intense media circus, and Trudeau was only asked about the allegations a handful of times by Liberal-friendly journalists. There was no inquiry, no calls to investigate, and no feminist rallies denouncing him as a rapist while demanding that we believe his accuser. Trudeau is a Liberal and a feminist – so – apparently, he gets a pass.
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