We all get engaged in politics for different reasons, but the underlying theme is pretty universal. We want to make the world a better place for our friends, family and our communities. As we trudge through, forks in the road appear. The easy road is not always the right road to take. Sometimes we have to stand up and do the right thing because that is what makes us stand out as leaders. Even if it isn’t the politically expedient thing to do.
Mickey Kasparian is a local San Diego labor leader recently accused by one former employee of more than a decade of sexual harassment and another of gender discrimination and wrongful termination. On Christmas Eve, he posted a note on social media saying he “will not be distracted and will continue to focus relentlessly on improving the lives of working families.” Leaders from all over San Diego made it known that they stand with him and therefore against his alleged victims. That my fellow Democrats can stare into the faces of respected leaders in our community and say, “You don’t matter” is beyond me.
I cannot stay silent. I stayed silent, along with many Democrats, during the former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner scandal despite knowing it was wrong. I saw harassment and mistreatment of women happen during my time in the Navy where a young sailor would make an allegation against someone senior and it would just go away. Women deal with harassment on a daily basis and most just suck it up.
No decent human should tolerate this behavior, and allegations of harassment of abuse must be investigated in an objective and unbiased manner. When public figures are accused, especially those like Kasparian, who, as head of the UFCW Local 135 has the responsibility to fight for working families and publicly prides himself on empowering women of color, they must address them head on. It should not and does not matter whether they are a Democrat, a Republican, a labor leader or an elected official.