Friday, December 22, 2017
... and some are not only unexpected, but equally unwelcome and disturbing.
Just as I'm caught up in the wonder of watching the counter (now at 9.6 million!) that accompanies that 'lil ole lady park ranger good news video on the Al Jazeera web page, a call comes announcing that -- among the males caught up in the sexual misconduct controversy is Tavis Smiley, national public television host. Tavis also brought Betty the Author into public view, and served to introduce me to a national audience through 2 evenings of interviews that are still resonating out there somewhere.
Tavis also graciously wrote the foreword for my upcoming memoir, "Sign my name to freedom."
Before the questions could rise in my mind (what are the implications for the February book launch?), a call came from my publisher saying that within 24 hours of the release of the awful news Tavis Smiley turned up at their New York headquarters to request that his foreword be cut from the book, and that anything that carried his name be eliminated from the pages. "I don't want my problems to effect Betty's book."
Since the printing was in the final stages, but still open for minor changes, his request was granted, and, sadly, that beautiful foreword will now be replaced by a blank page... but it will remain in this blog as a legitimate event in my history.
I have no idea whether or not the charges made against him are fair or just, but I can surely attest to the fact that I've not witnessed anything but respect, support, and admiration from this man. That his readiness to protect whatever potential success may come to this first book author, is a testament to his generosity of spirit and deep sense of integrity.
The long overdue dialogue between men and women around the issue of sexual assault and harassment in this country is finally in progress. That fact is clearly indicated by recent headlines. Maybe we're at the beginning of a process that will bring an end to the abuses women have endured for centuries, but we must create a fair and just judicial process so that we can establish a system that will move us all toward a more caring future, together. It appears that Rep. Jackie Spear is on the way to achieving that, and by the look of things, the women and the feminists among the men of Congress are positioning themselves to support her efforts toward that end.
Maybe Tavis Smiley will be able to face his accusers and be vindicated, meanwhile ... I'm waiting for answers to this disturbing development in social dilemmas along with everyone else, and will continue to wish my friend, Tavis, success in reclaiming his good name and career when the dust has settled and the Earth is back on its axis.