From Tragedy to Farce

Of all the lurid allegations flooding the media,  the story about Garrison Keillor (photo) seems the most improbable to me.

You may have caught Keillor on public radio.  His “Prairie Home Companion”  was aired every weekend for 40 years. It was the kind of show you could share with your kids – if they would  sit still long enough. Nothing remotely unseemly, just a good natured caricature of small town America that might make you smile.

Keillor, who is now 75 years old, came across as a mild mannered yokel with malice toward nobody. I could picture him saying “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am,” while holding the door open for a female companion – not “acting inappropriately” in any way.

But he was fired after a female colleague accused him of – I’m not sure what it was she accused him of.  Minnesota Public Radio said he was accused of “inappropriate behavior,” but did not elaborate.

Keillor recalled placing his hand on a woman’s bare back while consoling her and said he had apologized and was forgiven. Could that be the “inappropriate behavior”? If so, how would Minnesota Public Radio describe President Trump’s self-professed preference for placing his hands?

Yet Trump has not been fired.

Look, without a doubt, there is, and has been for a long time, an epidemic of sexual assault in the workplace. There’s no doubt that women have every right to cry, “Enough!”

But let’s not get carried away.

Let’s not throw mud at 93-year-old George H. W. Bush. If he gave some woman a pat on the behind, I say cut him some slack. I’m sure he meant no disrespect. After all, I understand that pinching women’s bottoms is a popular male pastime in Italy.

The rampant abuse of power being exposed in the media is a tragedy. Some of the allegations of “inappropriate behavior” verge on farce.

There’s a huge difference between placing your hand on a woman’s back and locking your office door and raping her. Or trying to rape her.

Men who lure women to their offices or hotel rooms and expose themselves are obviously sick, dangerously sick. They should be arrested and ordered to undergo treatment.

Men who inadvertently place their hands on a woman’s bare back are perhaps a little careless. I sincerely doubt they deserve to be fired for it.

Keillor’s explanation