What’s wrong with this picture?
Ok, I wanted to draw your attention to this because it’s part and parcel of what John Oliver recently described as “Whataboutism.”
Before we get to that though, you’ll note that the cartoon (which is making the rounds) would convey something completely different if Roy Moore were portrayed stalking local malls for underaged girls. Instead he’s portrayed as a victim wearing a suit and sporting a sad look on his face as though he’s some kind of martyr.
Besides that, “What about Harvey?” or “What about Al?” or “What about Charlie?” is an endless regression. Because the next question could very reasonably be “What about Roy?” to which someone could respond “What about Bill?” and then someone else could respond “What about Trump grabbing pussy?” and on, and on, and on to infinity.
But more important than either of those two considerations is the self-evident fact that you do not get to point to something someone else did to exonerate yourself when you have been accused of wrong-doing. That doesn’t make any sense and exactly no one would accept it if they were the one who was wronged.
Try to imagine this scenario. Someone breaks into your house and steals your television. The person is caught and you press charges. In court, the defendant’s lawyer stands up, looks around the room, and says this:
Ladies and gentlemen, this case has no merit. Millions of people have stolen TVs in the past. What about them? I rest my case.
In no world do you get away with a crime because someone else has committed similar crimes in the past. If that were a viable defense then any crime that has ever been committed would be de facto legal simply by virtue of someone having committed it before.
Murdered someone? That’s fine because after all: Charles Manson.
Committed securities fraud? That’s fine, because after all: Enron.
Ran a pyramid scheme? That’s fine, because after all: Bernie Madoff.
So please, let’s stop it with that shit and get back to reality where people who have committed crimes are held accountable for those crimes without reference to other people who have committed crimes.
Otherwise, there’s nothing to stop Harvey Weinstein from pointing to Kevin Spacey and saying “well, I think I should get a pass because look what he did.”