Katie’s Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do…

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It’s official. Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress today, but not before she voted in favor of moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump and giving a passionate speech where she blamed a litany of targets for her resignation. Misogyny, men being afraid of strong women in power, double standards, the right wing media, and so on apparently made her violate House ethics rules against having sex with subordinates while in office. News to me.

In the wake of this story (that I fully admit spending too much time thinking about), there are some questions I have, and since Ms. Hill has some time on her hands now, maybe she can see fit to answer some of them, but if not, here are my thoughts on the matters at hand.

Was what happened to you “revenge porn”?

This question is at the heart of the controversy, but too many people have already decided it was. Under both California and District of Columbia law, “revenge porn” is illegal and comes with some pretty stiff penalties, if you’ll pardon the expression.

On the surface, it looks like Rep. Hill was the victim, but in order to verify this we have to dig a bit deeper. The idea being anti-revenge porn laws is to protect victims from the actions of spiteful and vindictive exes. This begs the question of whether Hill’s ex-husband fits that description. So far, I don’t think we’ve heard from him, but we’ve certainly heard from Rep. Hill, who has described him thusly. It’s entirely possible he’s a scumbag, but without further information we can’t rule out he’s innocent, or at least not as guilty as some would have us believe.

There is also information out there that suggests her ex-husband posted the photos in question when they were together for the purposes of having a threesome or getting into a throuple (which is a couple with a +1 with benefits). If the photos were posted with her permission, there is no revenge porn, just incredibly bad judgment in the Internet Age. If the photos were posted without her permission, that’s an issue, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guilty of revenge porn. The timeline doesn’t match up. And speaking of timelines…

Why would these photos be published now?

As with any scandal like this, putting together a timeline is essential to understanding the ins and outs of the scandal itself. One question that comes to mind is why now. Rep. Hill already won her seat, and her District doesn’t appear to be that much of a Republican hotbed. A vindictive husband? Possible, but without more info, we can’t be sure. To derail President Trump’s impeachment? Unlikely, given Democrats control the House of Representatives and losing one vote wouldn’t impact the outcome to any extent. Right wing smearmongers out to destroy her? Don’t take this the wrong way, but we wouldn’t have known about you if the pictures hadn’t come out. Powerful men afraid of women in power? It was 11 years ago that these same powerful men voted to put Sarah Palin in the #2 spot of the Presidential hierarchy, and more recently have voted in women like Mia Love, Liz Cheney, and Joni Ernst.

The more we unpeel this political onion, the fewer answers remain that make sense. We either need more hard evidence or a reasonable explanation, and I doubt we’ll get either anytime soon.

Why did you take the actions you did at the time and are taking the actions you are now?

The former has been answered somewhat. Rep. Hill has admitted she made errors in judgment (ya think?), but it doesn’t quite explain everything, given what she’s said and done since the photos came out. There has to be something else there because it might explain the current situation better. Would Rep. Hill have constructed a narrative if it were as simple as “revenge porn”? I wouldn’t think so. The first logical step would have been to contact the police and file a report, not to pretend it didn’t happen only the change your mind once more photos went public. And contacting a lawyer to pursue legal actions doesn’t act as a substitute for getting the police involved.

This sounds a lot like other people’s victim narratives that aren’t borne out with any actions in response to the alleged crimes perpetrated against them. That leads to people not trusting alleged victims when they come forward, which is a common thread in feminist arguments about why women don’t report rapes. And it opens up scrutiny of the accusers.

I know the sexual side of this is personal, but in order to come to a conclusion, we may need to understand more of the past. Saying “oops, I screwed up” (again, if you’ll pardon the pun) doesn’t cut it.

Are the Daily Caller and Daily Mail guilty of distributing the photos, thus participating in the revenge porn?

This one is a bit tricky. Of the two, I would say the Daily Caller’s use of a limited number of photos was done not out of malice, but to bolster the story they found. Even if the photos found online were posted without her permission, we have to ask whether they had a prurient interest in posting them for the purpose of sexual or political gratification. Given what they used, I don’t think a good argument can be made that they posted it with malicious intent. Thus, I don’t think you’d prevail.

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, might have more of a legal headache coming their way. They posted several more photos of Rep. Hill, well beyond the ones the Daily Caller used, and didn’t really add to the story itself beyond more photos. By going to an extreme like they did, a case can be made their decision to run the additional photos would constitute a prurient interest and, thus, open themselves up to legal consequences. The problem then becomes whether England has similar “revenge porn” laws on their books or if the legal principles on our books would transcend a lack of similar laws.

Is there a double standard between men and women in power?

The short answer to this is no. The longer answer is still no, but it’s longer. (I gotta stop using these double entendres!)

Seriously, there isn’t a double standard between men and women in power, even though men are usually the ones getting caught being horndogs more than women. However, there is a double standard between Democrats and Republicans. Bill Clinton had a number of women accuse him of sexual harassment and assault, but he’s believed and still beloved in Leftist circles. Donald Trump is in a similar boat, but he’s hated by the same people who give Clinton a pass. I’m not saying Trump should skate, but I do see the standards shift whenever there is a Democrat in trouble versus a Republican in trouble. What you’re experiencing is what men like Al Franken, Mark Sanford, and plenty of others have dealt with before you thanks to the rules your ideological allies have set up. Congrats!

Who benefits?

This is a key question to understanding motive. Who would gain the most by having you resign? Republicans, a jealous ex-husband, Nancy Pelosi, possibly even members of your own party come immediately to mind. In politics, you make a lot of enemies, and some of the people who consider friends may be looking to stab you in the back at the first opportunity. In the current environment where Leftists are trying to hold President Trump to a certain standard, your actions certainly undercut that effort or at least make it look more like a political hitjob than a consistent standard. But one thing is clear: as a freshman Representative, you are expendable. Think about that, won’t you?

Why should we believe you?

And now we come to the Big Kahuna of questions. And let me tell you, Rep. Hill, this is not going to be easy to answer. With what I’ve seen and heard so far, your story has more holes in it than a wheel of Swiss cheese in the middle of a gang shootout. The actions you’ve taken (or not taken, as the case may be) and the statements you’ve made (and not made, as the case may be) do not inspire a lot of confidence in your truthfulness. You may have Leftists believing you, but these same folks believed Christine Blasey Ford in spite of a lack of specifics and an abundance of questionable arguments. If you want to be believed, give us something to believe in that makes sense.

And take responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made. Blaming a double standard or misogyny for your ethical lapses doesn’t fly with most of us. Man…err…Woman up.

Author: Thomas

I'm a small town boy living in the heart of Iowa watching the world go by with my wife and dog.