June 6, 1997 in City

Woman Deserves Her Day In Court Equal Justice Neither Big Hair Nor A Lower-Class Background Are Reasons To Deny Her.

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Imagine for a moment that Paula Jones’ story is true and you’re the $6.35-per-hour state employee invited by a state trooper to meet the governor.

You’re handing out name tags at a state-sponsored business conference, but you take a short break. You follow the trooper to the room, and there the governor, who can have you fired in an instant, unzips and requests oral sex.

What would be your first reaction? Confusion? Embarrassment? Anger? It probably wouldn’t be laughter.

The point is this: If this really happened, Clinton committed an act of sexual harassment - an arrogant abuse of power. It’s often a hostile attack on one of a woman’s most vulnerable aspects, her sexuality.

Paula Jones deserves the right to make her case in court.

When James Carville said, “Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there’s no telling what you’ll find,” reporters chuckled. Unlike Anita Hill, an articulate, polished law professor, Jones was reduced to a stereotype, the big-haired gold digger.

But legal journalist Stuart Taylor Jr. investigated the story for The American Spectator. He discovered a consistent story and two corroborating accounts. And once the Supreme Court ruled that the suit might proceed, the media began treating the story seriously.

The political circus surrounding this case has been particularly tacky. Too many Americans based their opinion not on Jones’ claim, but on their own politics.

Step back from the political show. Let the elephants lumber off and the annoying little clowns with greasy red noses disappear. Once the sawdust settles, the issue becomes clear. You don’t need a straight Republican voting ticket to recognize that Jones lives in a country devoted to equal treatment under the law.

If Jones’ story is true, she did not laugh when the governor unzipped; she ran back, shaken and upset, to her friends. Later, she swore them to secrecy, afraid of losing her state job.

This country’s sexual harassment regulations were written to protect women like Paula Jones, not just those of sleek hair and unfailing aplomb.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Dumb, dumber … and along came Jones

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely/For the editorial board

See opposing view under the headline: Dumb, dumber … and along came Jones

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely/For the editorial board


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