There really is nothing new under the sun. The infamous Salem Witch Trials started with a group of young girls claiming they were doing bad things because they were possessed. They then said that it was witches who caused them to be possessed, naming them without providing any evidence. The “witches” were then summarily executed. Well, eight in total, over just a few months.
According to History.com: “The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts…”
Sound familiar? Eerily familiar?
The reasonably legitimate origins of the #MeToo movement, and illegitimate origins of the Trump investigations, have rapidly turned into a dreadful allegory of the Salem witch trials. Horrible men such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Les Moonves, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer are just the tip of the bad actors in power positions in Hollywood and the media to take advantage of their positions to sexually exploit women.
Things began to get questionable when it seemed that, as more women made accusations on more men, some were driven by money and some by politics. The movement was getting twisted, which was probably inevitable. But not until the unverified and then repudiated accusations against Brett Kavanaugh did it become clear how completely the movement had been hijacked for political purposes into witch-hunt land.
Really, this idea of women accusing men in heightened political atmospheres (almost entirely Democratic women accusing Republican men) really started with Anita Hill’s unsubstantiated and largely discredited accusations against Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court.
(In a different sense, the accusations against Bill Clinton were by dozens of women over a couple of decades, with a fair amount of substantiation, witness corroboration and payoffs on some of them. Yet Clinton was elected twice as the media deeply scrutinized the accusers in the 1990s with the help of Hillary Clinton.)
George W. Bush had vague accusations made against him. Herman Cain was derailed when the conservative black businessman ascended to the top of the Republican presidential nomination fight in 2012 by claims he denied and that were never substantiated. Then came Kavanaugh and the absurd accusations that were clearly not true — two of the three witnesses suggested by the accuser to corroborate her story said the incident never happened, while the third said she never heard about it.
While not burned at the stake, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Thomas are permanently stained for all of history by witch-hunt style charges. Their reputations are forever marred.
That, unfortunately, does not matter to those conducting the witch hunts.
Emily Lindin, a columnist for Teen Vogue magazine, tweeted during the Kavanaugh witch hunt: “If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.”
Meanwhile Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono astonishingly said Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve a presumption of innocence because of his “ideological agenda.” Given the chance to “clarify” that statement on the friendly CNN network the next day, she doubled down.
Of course, this extends beyond sexual assault accusations.
President Trump has been hounded on multiple fronts. (His sexual escapades, while tawdry, seem to have been consensual.) Most ominously and clearly, the entire Trump-Russia collusion accusation turned out to be a giant witch hunt conducted at the highest levels of the U.S. law enforcement apparatus.
It is quite obvious that after Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that cleared Trump completely of the collusion accusations, Democrats say it raised more questions than it answered — and the media reported that straight as though that was even remotely possible.
And now, Democrats in Congress have promised to investigate Trump’s business, Trump’s non-profit, Trump’s holdings, Trump’s tax returns, Trump’s family members, Trump’s friends and Trump’s business partners.
Calling it a fishing expedition is far too gentle. It is a witch hunt, and one swimming in a growing sea of witch hunts. These are just more sophisticated than those launched by the girls in Salem more than three centuries ago.
Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.