Why Mazie Hirono’s Sexual Assault Question is Unhealthy
When questioning Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono asked, “Since you become a legal adult, have you made unwanted requests for sexual favors, or committed any verbal or harassment or assault of a sexual nature.” This is nothing new for Hirono, but given that nobody watches congressional hearings on a normal day, it stood out as a question out of left field, mostly because it is.
Some might say, “What’s the problem?” if you have not, just answer as such and move on, but we should expect better of each other.
There is nothing to suggest Barrett has committed any of the acts Hirono asked about and even if she did she would never come out and just say, “Yeah, I’m a sexual scumbag.”
If you were to strip away the titles of Senator Hirono and Judge Barrett nobody would ever ask such a question. No conversation goes like:
Mazie: Hi, Amy, nice to meet you
Amy: Nice to meet you too, Mazie
Mazie: Say, have have you ever sexually assaulted someone?
Because in life it is necessary to trust others and to give them the benefit of the doubt. For their sake and your sake.
If a reporter from Fox or Breitbart or somewhere else were to ask Joe Biden if he ever murdered anyone and buried him the in the backyard, Biden would be well within his rights to scold the reporter. Saying “Well, Biden could just simply say ‘no’” would be to suggest it is a legitimate question despite there being no proof Biden ever murdered someone.
It is also not good for Hirono. Viewing everyone as a potential sexual predator is a deeply cynical and unhealthy way to view others. Hirono is essentially saying nobody can be trusted not to be a sexual predator and do not deserve the benefit of the doubt unless they explicitly tell her that they are not.
Hirono takes the usual advice of trusting others until they give you reason not to, and turns it on its head to where she does not trust others until they give her a reason.
It is not as if this hearing is a normal job interview. Barrett has been employed by multiple law schools, so she’s presumably faced the typical questions about criminal history or why one leaves one job for another that come up in the job application process and nobody there has stepped up to say she has a criminal past or a history of sexual misconduct. Neither did the FBI background check, because, again, if it did, we would have heard about it.
If there is an accusation that the applicant either lied about or the FBI missed, then it should be made by an actual accuser, not a third party political hack.