The big question discussed on Talk Shows this week is whether Bill Cosby’s work should be blacklisted in Hollywood.
Let me say at the outset that discussing what to do about Cosby instead of the real issues of our time is somewhat ridiculous, but I realize that talk shows need something to talk about and from their point of view, this is as entertaining as it gets.
The question is this. If I am not in support of making this issue, why am I writing about it?
Let me tell you why. Once the question is raised and people are talking about it, an important point needs to be made.
When Bill Clinton admitted his lewd behavior in the Oval Office, the nation debated his impeachment. Some argued that the person must be separated from the President. Further, almost every president was privately immoral on some level and if we impeach Clinton we must impeach them all. Others argued that he is a symbol of authority and must be removed.
At the time I made the point that the person is definitely separate from the president and so long as his immorality doesn’t hit us between the eyes, we can afford to look the other way. But once his immorality becomes public news, the question is not whether he can continue to serve as president. The question is whether the nation can afford to have a symbol of serial promiscuity at its helm?
To my mind, the price was just too high. It would be a de-facto declaration that morality is insignificant in America. In my opinion Bill Clinton was a fantastic President and I say this though I don’t agree with many of his policies. Just the same, by not removing him from office, we lost an opportunity to make an important moral statement to our youth and to the world at large.
The same question plagues Bill Cosby. He is surely not the only immoral actor in Hollywood. And there is even an argument to be made that when he plays a character, he is not being himself. Yet, to me the question is not whether Bill Cosby is entitled to the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is not about whether Cosby deserves to be punished. The question is whether we can afford not to.
When your child sees you watching a Cosby rerun and knows about his confessed crimes, he takes a message from that. Are we required to pay that price so that a confessed serial rapist can retain his entitlements?
To my view, the answer is no. The price is just too high.
Others have wondered why OJ Simpson was not removed from the Football Hall of Fame. There is an important difference. OJ was tried in a court of law and found innocent. We might not agree with the verdict, but we cannot claim with certainty that he is a criminal. Cosby cannot be tried in court because of the statute of limitations on his crimes, but he has confessed them and the world believes his confession. If you believe them, your children believe them too. Can we afford to look the other way?
What of those who don’t have children.
Let me remind you of a little secret we often overlook. What is bad for our children is bad for us too.