//Left, Right, Middle: Menendez is reelected despite sexual misconduct allegations in the #MeToo era

Left, Right, Middle: Menendez is reelected despite sexual misconduct allegations in the #MeToo era

LiberalNicole Cheney 

There is an inherent flaw in the system if during every election cycle the choice is between the lesser of two evils.

America’s party system boils down over and over to two candidates every major election, and this ultimately forces the sacrifice of some ethics in order to uphold those which are more important to the voter. Ideally, another strong Democratic candidate would have sprung up during the New Jersey primaries to represent party ideals both in office and by example. Ideally, the majority of Democrats would not have voted for an alleged sexual offender in the primaries.

But reality is not ideal, and the unfortunate reality of the system is having to choose what one considers the greater good at a given time. The Senate has key influence in many spheres of American society, with much contentious legislation at risk. Many popular issues today are almost strictly partisan, including immigration, gun control, reproductive justice, health care reform, and beyond. It is thus unsurprising that an incumbent mired in corruption charges has been reelected in a strongly liberal state.

 

Independent – Rick-kendy Noziere 

A few weeks ago, Bob Menendez was re-elected as a New Jersey senator, even though there were allegations against him for sleeping with underage prostitutes. You might be surprised to hear something like that happened during the #MeToo movement and just weeks after the Kavanaugh hearing.

One thing it says is that we are maturing as a society, where simple allegations are not
enough to destroy someone’s career. After all, that is what an allegation is: a claim that someone has done something ‘wrong’. Allegations are not always backed up with proof.

After some investigation, it was determined the girls were most likely paid to lie.  

Did we do the right thing by reelecting the senator? I believe we did, because we want to stand for the truth and what is just. The community is being very rational with this case by upholding the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. I am glad that at this moment, people want evidence and not just allegations.

 

Conservative – Beshoy Shokralla 

I solemnly believe that, while accusations of sexual assault certainly paint a poor picture of a person, they alone should not damn a person. The justice system is built on the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I’ve stated this in the Kavanaugh left-right-middle, and I’ll happily state it more so now. Senator Bob Menendez was in fact accused of sexual assault, but the fact that he was does say anything about him being re elected, or New Jersey for electing him. This is because he was not found guilty. Not only was he not found guilty, the government couldn’t find enough information to even charge him with under-age prostitution. The allegations against Menendez are even more murky then the allegations against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh had several names and faces to his accusers, victims that alleged that he had attacked them. Menendez had no such thing.

All allegations against him came from a single anonymous tipster: Peter Williams. This anonymous tipster first reached out to CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). The tipster alleged that Menendez had engaged in underage prostitution, but provided no names, and didn’t point to any specific witnesses that could corroborate the accusations. The witnesses that were interviewed testified that they never say Menendez engage in underage prostitution, or prostitution of any kind. While there were many links formed to Menendez’s friend, Melgen, who was separately found guilty of fraud, the only information that did check out was was that Menendez might have been in the same area that Melgen was when Melgen had sex with prostitutes. Even the executive director of CREW at the time agrees that the allegations were completely unsubstantiated.

Despite the many witnesses that corroborated that Melgen engaged with prostitutes, not a single witness could be found that could do more than merely confirm that Menendez was in the Dominican Republic around the same time. Unsubstantiated accusations should not, and cannot, be used to disqualify people from public office, and ruin lives. That severely undermines the courts, and the judicial system.

 

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Beshoy Shokralla