By Janet Williams
It’s hard to imagine two people more different in politics and temperament than Tim Murphy and Harvey Weinstein.
Murphy, the Republican congressman from Western Pennsylvania, carved himself a niche as a conservative anti-abortion Christian. As a member of the pro-life coalition in Congress he has voted consistently to limit access to abortion.
Then there’s Weinstein, who has built his reputation the defender of liberal values from his perch atop Hollywood’s elite. He has donated to the right liberal causes throughout his long and award-winning career making films that appeal to the intellectual crowd.
Yet, step away from the rhetoric and bluster and you couldn’t find two men more alike. Strip Murphy of his pious self-righteous conservatism and Weinstein of his pretentious liberal values and you are left with hypocrites of the worst kind.
One masquerades as a defender of life and female virtue while the other pretends to be a champion of women and equality.
Murphy, soon to be a former member of Congress, made headlines in the past week when his former girlfriend — yes, he was married — complained about the anti-abortion posts on his Twitter feed. You see, he had suggested the girlfriend get an abortion when she had a pregnancy scare and the woman took note of the hypocrisy while he tweeted anti-abortion messages.
Murphy dismissed her concerns, telling her that his staff posted those tweets and well, they were a little overzealous. He promised to make them tone down the rhetoric.
Of course, you can imagine the faux shock and outrage when the girlfriend publicly shared his emails urging her to abort their unborn child when they thought she was pregnant. His pro-life colleagues in Washington are forcing him to resign from his very safe Republican district in suburban Pittsburgh.
Murphy stayed true to his hypocritical convictions until the bitter end, voting yes on a bill that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks.
Never mind that the so-called pro-life policies he and his colleagues support will likely drive up the number of abortions because of a rise in unwanted pregnancies. They cut funding to the very organizations, like Planned Parenthood, that actually help reduce demand for abortion by providing access to contraceptives.
Does any of this matter? Will a single person who aligns him or herself with the Family Research Council or LifePAC think twice about voting for another Tim Murphy simply because he mouths the right words about abortion?
They are hypocrites, all of them, from Murphy to the anti-abortion groups that stay relatively silent as his actions betray his words.
Let’s not forget that this disease of hypocrisy infects liberals as much as conservatives. It is a disease that spreads from the source to every single person and institution that remain silent when the sins of someone like Weinstein come to light.
Is it ever OK for men of power to exploit, harass and assault women as long as they say the right words about equality and opportunity?
Never. Actions matter.
At least the company Weinstein founded has acted decisively by firing him. We should rightly demand to know how long those same executives pretended not to hear the rumors or looked the other way as stories about his wretched behavior circulated.
If you think this is a Hollywood problem or a political issue, just ask the women in your life what they have seen and experienced. Many of them will have stories about how they caution each other about which colleague or boss to avoid or who they should never be alone with. They know who passes himself off in public as a God-fearing family man yet treats the women in his circle as his for the taking.
Perhaps this whole mess will encourage women who have been harassed or assaulted by the powerful men in their lives will feel they can safely come forward.
Maybe, just maybe the men and women who hear these complaints will act in the interest of the victims rather than weighing the cost to their own careers or businesses.
We can hope. But don’t hold your breath.
Janet Williams is editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. She can be reached at [email protected].