Tom Fulks

Sometimes, we’re jerks. But not all of us men are sexual harassers

My sweetheart’s girlfriend and sister came over last week after we’d all enjoyed some live music at a Morro Bay nightclub.

The ladies were downstairs, talking, laughing, hanging out, away from me. I was upstairs, washing dishes, listening to music, mellowing out, away from them.

All was good. Then, suddenly, inexplicably, a spike of paranoia pierced my reverie.

Always wary of any assemblage of more than one woman who knows me well, I wondered, as surely most sentient American males have done lately:

Do they think I’m a sex monster? What are they saying?

Tom Fulks

Washing the flatware, I inventoried my life, assessing if I’d done anything to cause women to hate me.

My dad answered from the grave, looking over his half-glasses with that all-knowing tone: “Of course you have, son.”

OK, on occasion I’ve been stupid, arrogant, insufferable, drunk, a jerk. I’m so sorry about so many things, I’ve developed expertise in the mystic arts of apology and guilt.

Yet, upon review, I’ve never sexually abused anyone. Never forced myself on anyone. Never pulled out my junk and wagged it at anyone.

I’ve never engaged in any of the perversities committed by far more men than I’d imagined: demented movie moguls, twisted high rollers, a Bible-thwacking office seeker with a “thing” for teens.

The ladies downstairs, they had nothing on me. I relaxed.

What women do have right now is newly acquired, righteously earned political power, attained in a blitzkrieg obliteration of America’s foundation of alpha-male dominance — often enforced, we’re learning, through sexual predation.

After months of public outings of powerful men who’ve abused women, after a year of withstanding the presidency of a man who bragged that he could “grab ‘em by the pussy,” American women savored payback at the polls on Nov. 7.

Women coast-to-coast swept into elective office, electrifying America’s moderate base — the true silent majority — right as the 2018 midterms are ramping up.

Women dominated in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. They swept legislative races in Virginia and picked off local seats from Maine to Colorado.

In Washington state, a woman won a hotly contested state Senate race, providing Democrats with majorities in both houses of their Legislature.

That one victory supplied the lynchpin for Democratic control of legislatures in California, Oregon and Washington, each with Democratic governors.

Donald Trump promised a wall. Democratic women delivered a Big Blue Barricade against Trumpism along the entire West Coast, from Canada to Mexico.

Making Elections Great Again, this ripple in America’s political waters portends a Democratic MEGA tide next year.

Why were so many women running for elective office?

Finally fed up with political inequality? Tired of second-class economic status? Sick of being punching bags for too many bad men with too much power?

Or was it the cascading disclosures of high-profile sex scandals in business, entertainment, politics and religion?

Or the nonstop slaughter of fellow Americans in gun massacres? Or Big Pharma’s profiteering opioid pogrom targeting our nation’s young?

Or the likelihood that our president and some of his crew are Russian agents, witting or not?

Whatever their reasons, women planted a firm hand on the wheel of American political power, loosening the double-fisted grip of men — men who haven’t, as yet, been outed for assaulting, groping, harassing, molesting, pestering, propositioning, stalking or masturbating in front of fully clothed women.

As with any political success, the next key step would be consolidating the progress made in order to cement the changes into place. Backlash and backsliding are ever-present possibilities.

Trump’s reckless, immoral grifterism sparked this month’s electoral rout. And consider the backlash against an undisciplined Bill Clinton (losing Congress two years in) or the Tea Party pushback against President Obama’s heady, hopeful start.

To help secure lasting change, newly powerful political women might recognize the good guys who’ve been allies and acknowledge the many who’ve been at their side all along.

Glad to be rid of the blots on their gender, good guys cheer the downfall of sexual predators. Good guys shouldn’t be tossed with the carrots into the men-are-all-pigs boiling caldron.

The addictive nature of a righteous political groundswell can provide hope and propel rational, moral people of both sexes to political power.

Organizers of the Women’s March plan a rally Jan. 20 at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo to commemorate the 10,000-people-strong march in the city’s streets last January.

Hundreds of male allies will be there, as they were a year ago in the thousands.

As a female presidential candidate once said: We’re stronger together.

Liberal columnist Tom Fulks serves on the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee. His column runs every other Sunday, in rotation with conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand.

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