By Doug Newman – email me here.
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Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? I have.
Did you like it? I didn’t.
Did you want a chance to tell your story and clear your name? I certainly did.
It isn’t at all difficult.
Just because Person X says Person Y did something doesn’t mean anything. Person X has to prove that person Y did the deed in question. There is no “right to be believed”.
Credit: WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama.
I am not that much of a newshound anymore, so I have not been following the Roy Moore flap in much detail. The fact that his accusers waited 30 years to spill the beans and did so just a few days after Moore’s party had their heads handed to them in New Jersey and Virginia makes the whole thing very suspicious.
But not to Moore’s accusers and those who support them. A woman accusing a man – a conservative Christian, no less – of sexual impropriety is sufficient. It PROVES that the man is guilty and must step aside immediately. Such guilt can never be atoned for. And if you have any doubts, no matter how reasonable, just SIDDOWN AND SHUDDUP!
This isn’t merely a feminist phenomenon.
If a black person accuses a white person of racism, the media digitally lynch the accused. The truth doesn’t matter. Whitey is on his own. And, like accusations from feminists, his guilt can never be atoned for. And if you have any doubts, no matter how reasonable, just SIDDOWN AND SHUDDUP!
And this isn’t merely a leftist phenomenon.
Whenever there is an episode of police brutality, millions either look the other way or, worse yet, automatically take the cops at their word that their victim “did something to deserve it”. Because cops, ya know. And if you have any doubts, no matter how reasonable, just SIDDOWN AND SHUDDUP!
On that extremely rare occasion that there is a terrorist attack, millions automatically believe media reports that Ahmed Al-Skumbaggi – or whoever – Did It and that we shouldn’t even bother wasting time and money on a trial. Al-Skumbaggi Did It! WE KNOW HE DID IT! And if you have any doubts, no matter how reasonable, just SIDDOWN AND SHUDDUP!
Even non-Christians can get on board with the principles of reaping what you sow, of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and of not lying about others even if they don’t acknowledge the source of these principles. For Christians, these principles are sacred. (Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 25:18, Matthew 7:12 and Galatians 6:7.)
The framers of the Constitution set up numerous firewalls to protect the accused against, among other things, malicious accusers and overzealous police and prosecutors. Five of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights as well as the habeas corpus clause do just this. The Sixth Amendment spells out the details of the rights of the accused.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
Please note the word “all”. All means just that: ALL! Just because someone says someone did something doesn’t make the accusation true. It doesn’t matter if you like the accuser and hate the accused. It doesn’t matter if the accuser represents your particular faction and the accused represents the other faction. It doesn’t matter how serious the accusation or how intense the media campaign might be against the accused.
But this is politics, you say, so the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply.
If a public figure can have his reputation and, with it, his career and life destroyed because of gossip, slander, rumor, hearsay or some combination thereof, why can’t you? Imagine if you, reader, were up for a major job promotion and that promotion never happened because a few people got together and started slandering you all over the office. What goes around comes around.
The presumption of innocence is not just for legal proceedings, but moreover is a matter of fundamental human decency. Have you ever been on the receiving end of malicious high school gossip or, later in life, office gossip? I bet you wanted the chance to tell your side of the story and restore your good name. If we remove the presumption of innocence not just from our courts, but from society in general, anyone can say anything about anyone and never be held accountable, and those unable to defend themselves will be rendered helpless. Do you want to live in such a society? I don’t.
Among Lenin’s core beliefs was that of “who gets to do what to whom”? The “what” part did not matter, no matter how immoral it may have been. If the “who” was from some favored segment of society whatever they did to the “whom” did not matter. In contemporary America, we see the “who” in reckless accusers, rogue cops and playground bullies. Might doesn’t just make right. Might IS right!
If Roy Moore is guilty, yes, he does need to step aside and do so immediately. But if he is not guilty, he needs to stay in the race. He doesn’t “owe it” to anyone to exit. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like him.
And if he prevails and is elected, I pray this whole episode makes him more empathetic toward the rights of the accused.