Mike Pence: Perv Or Just Not You?

There are few things that Vice President Mike Pence holds dear that I share, but then, so what? He’s allowed to have different values than I do. Or you do. Or anybody does. And that’s particularly true when it comes to how he conducts his personal affairs, no matter how weird they are to you. Why? Because you are no more entitled to dictate his beliefs than he is yours.

I know, how is that even possible? After all, your values are right and his are not only wrong, but bizarre and outrageous. Is he a perv or just sexist?

No one will be surprised to learn that Vice President Pence is not a loose, casual, fun-lovin’ guy. But many people were surprised to read this little tidbit in Ashley Parker’s recent Post profile of Pence’s wife, Karen:

“In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

It’s easy to make jokes about, and it’s also easy to argue that this is nobody’s business but the Pences’. But there’s a deeply troubling worldview at work here, one that has profound implications for policy — and we’re already seeing it play out at both the state and federal levels.

A “worldview at work” with “profound implications for policy”? Sounds serious.

He obviously thinks that every interaction he has with a woman is so sexually charged that it’s safe to be around them only if there are other people there, too.

“Obviously”? If it was so obvious, why bother to inform everyone of it. “So” sexually charged? Is that what’s “obvious”? Oh wait, that’s how it looks when you have an agenda to push, a soapbox from which to push it and shit for brains.

I’m sure Pence would say that he’s just being careful. But I wonder if he realizes the discriminatory consequences of his rule.

Are you really sure? Because you know him *so* well, that you can see within his soul to his deepest beliefs?

With the men, he can have complex relationships that traverse work and social contexts, build trust, and eventually help their careers. A woman who hoped Pence would be a mentor to her, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to avail herself of those opportunities, since he can’t even have lunch with her.

If a woman “hoped” the Vice President of the United States would be her mentor, is she entitled to it? But I digress.

Pence is old school. The “Billy Graham Rule” was one of propriety, of how men interacted with women. I don’t subscribe to it. I think it’s pretty asinine, but that’s me. And here’s the difference: it’s okay that Mike Pence has different values than I do. It’s even okay that he holds old school values. Even old school values informed by his religious beliefs.

But it’s not acceptable to others.

At its core, Pence’s self-imposed ban is rape culture.

Nor is that a label I assign lightly. “Rape culture” is a phrase so overused it’s become almost meaningless, like calling someone a Nazi on the internet. But it has a very clear meaning: the notion, whether conscious or unconscious, that men can’t control themselves around women because “boys will be boys.”

So it’s “rape culture”? No, it’s the intolerance of the self-righteous, who can’t seem to grasp that anyone who doesn’t hold their values might not be intrinsically awful. What’s striking about these beatings inflicted on Pence is that they not only demonstrate ignorance about norms of behavior they don’t share, but that they impute purpose into them as if it reflected Pence’s beliefs, when all it suggests is that those doing the imputing are intolerant narcissists.

The inability to grasp the distinction between objective reason and subjective values has made thoughtful discourse impossible. If someone else doesn’t adhere to your orthodoxy, they’re wrong. Worse still, they’re evil as well as wrong.

You believe that your values are right and true or you wouldn’t believe in them (except for those of you who can’t withstand peer pressure and go with the flow of your fellow travelers so you won’t be shunned). There’s nothing wrong with holding your values dear. You’re allowed. But so are other people, even when those values aren’t yours.

Is Mike Pence’s value of avoiding unchaperoned women odd? By my way of thinking, you bet. But then, it’s also protective of things beyond sexual temptation, the go-to assumption of the rape culture crowd. It protects him from false allegations of impropriety. It protects him from any concern that he might be perceived as straying from his value of his marriage. And from the very old-school, deeply prudish perspective, it’s simply the proper way for a gentleman to be around ladies.

But this doesn’t comport at all with the current notions of gender equity. And indeed, it doesn’t. So what? Just because you believe that men and women should behave in certain ways doesn’t mean everyone else must believe as you do, guide themselves accordingly and live out your gender narrative.

Tolerance. It’s a nice word. You use it all the time. You have no clue what it means. You are intolerant. You are the person you hate.

If you don’t care for Mike Pence’s personal values, then don’t vote for him. I know you didn’t, but enough people did to elect him as vice president. And if enough people don’t find his value as repugnant as you, perhaps the problem is with your values rather than his. Or perhaps it’s time to get over your self-righteousness and accept the premise that everyone who doesn’t share your values isn’t evil. Maybe you’re the one who’s wrong. And even if you are, you’re still entitled to your values. Tolerance.

29 thoughts on “Mike Pence: Perv Or Just Not You?

  1. Patrick Maupin

    Never mind impropriety, it might keep him out of jail by insulating him from rape-accusation culture.

    1. SHG Post author

      But that would start a conversation, which is more important than anything else, you rape-apologist shitlord.

      1. Marc r

        Nothing to add, but shit lord is likely George Lucas’ creation before his iPad edited everything to something about a sith.

  2. Patrick Maupin

    The consternation is understandable; the response isn’t.

    There is a culture, of which Pence may or may not be a member, that partly finds its power in heavily regulating interactions between the sexes, and I, for one, believe it would be bad if this culture became ascendant.

    Still, the shrill, OTT response is not helpful, and the faux personal anecdotes I have seen so far won’t damage anybody who works for a pussy grabber. Honestly, these SJWs have been screaming so long and loudly their brains are oxygen-starved. You’d think they want to keep the Republicans in power; if you’re going to make up shit, it should be shit that will damage your target.

    BTW, I noticed at a party the other day that Pence kept plying a young man with drinks. Pence didn’t have any himself — makes it harder to perform, don’cha know. Anyway, Pence and this dude disappear together for 45 minutes or so, and when they come back, the dude’s shirt’s not even buttoned up properly.

    1. SHG Post author

      I couldn’t care less about Pence. I do care about the level of stupidity in discourse. The dude abides.

  3. Christopher Best

    The only people making this a sexual thing are the people throwing stones.

    If they can look into Pence’s head, so can I: The reason he won’t have dinner alone w/ another woman is the same reason I won’t–not because I worry over the temptation but because I don’t want even a moment of doubt to enter my wife’s heart. This is not because of some failing on her part, or because we lack trust, it’s simply a recognition that humans are irrational beings, and no amount of logic will keep those dark thoughts from whispering to them.

    Lately it seems people go into the news media so they can just shout those dark thoughts from the rooftops…

    1. SHG Post author

      Wait, are you trying to tell me they don’t have mad mind-reading skillz, because I am almost certain they have mad mind-reading skillz because they know exactly why people they hate are doing horrifying things.

      1. Christopher Best

        If they have mad mind reading skills, then they’re idiots–they’re whining about the fact that some old white guy won’t be their friend instead of working the poker tables.

        I guess I’m kinda taking this personally. The mentor I was assigned at work when I got hired is a woman. I respect the hell out of her, and owe her a lot. We have a great working relationship, and the only reason I’m willing to put up with the bright office I’m stuck in is the benefit of sitting next to her and working directly with her. All that being said, she’d never invite me to a dinner with just the two of us (and it’s certainly not because she couldn’t trust herself around my fat hairy ass) simply because neither of us would find it appropriate. Yeah we’re old fashioned, but that’s our problem. We’ll continue kicking ass regardless.

        1. SHG Post author

          I go to dinner with women not my wife. But then, I would never do so without my wife’s knowledge and approval. I have no concern about my ability to control my toxic male sexual needs, nor to fend off any potential feminine wiles that might try to break through my defenses. Just don’t need any potential for problems or awkwardness. And I’ve mentored many women over the years.

          1. John Barleycorn

            Barbra Streisand has box at Lincoln Center.

            Don Giovanni opens on the 26th.

            Karen can’t make it. Something or another about her not being able to controll herself around bearded dudes and jewish chicks when the lights dim whenever it involves the opera.

            Mike still wants to go though. We were going to invite Ruth but she is going to be at a sorority slumber party after a graduation mixer bash for that devilishly handsome Gorsuch dude.

            Mind if we invite Dr. Sj?

            P.S. What happened to the third post about female coppers and manslaughter today? You’re usually on top of your knitting game and that cross stich of yours can be so wicked.

  4. Morgan O.

    Deep sigh, and ugh. One of the best pieces of advice I got, from a female Major (mandatory irrelevant justification complete!) was “never be alone with someone with whom you have a power relationship”. I’m paraphrasing, but it was a good point. Is it fair? Who cares? Door closed, it comes down to “I said, they said”. Pence knows he is a giant target. White, cis, Christian, affluent, male. Privilege check, check, check, check, check.

    Messaging tactics-wise, he could have phrased his rules better (gender neutral, perhaps). Then again, he said it in 2002. Perhaps he is merely a bargain Nostradamus, imperfectly predicting the hysterical culture 15 years later. Better release the hounds…

      1. Morgan O.

        My sarcasm detector is broken again, so I will take this compliment as a much needed bulwark against the definitely un-fascinating day I am about to have.

        1. SHG Post author

          Since one of the norms here is that its not the place for commenters to tell their personal anecdotes unless their personal stories are so totally fascinating, so much better than everybody else’s, that there is nothing other readers want more than to bask in the fascination of some other random person on the internet’s personal anecdotes, you should take is as a compliment. Because there is nothing I do better than give tummy rubs.

  5. Brooks

    Raised in an evangelical church, I was taught to avoid the “appearance of impropriety” from a young age.

    It’s something that I wish the current administration as a whole would hew to. For example, divesting business interests before becoming president to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Instead, we have the mere promise of an ethical wall erected between a habitual liar and his own children.

    Or not having undisclosed meetings behind closed doors with Russian diplomats and bankers. Instead, we have a string of claims that “We didn’t talk about the things we weren’t supposed to have talked about.”

    For whatever reason, a code of conduct for avoiding the appearance of impropriety only applies to the bearers of original sin, and not to billion-dollar business deals or Russians or anything else. It does at the very least imply that “I had lunch alone with Sally, but we’re not romantically involved” is less believable than “I never discussed sanctions with the Russians.”

    1. SHG Post author

      So your beliefs are different than his, you’re right and he’s wrong, and you’re an intolerant hypocrite. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Brooks

        Your reply is unintelligible in context. Did you accidentally reply to the wrong comment or something?

        Nowhere did I say my beliefs were different from Pence’s. Nowhere did I say that there was anything wrong with what he’s doing. Guy can live his life however he pleases. I don’t care who Mike Pence will or won’t eat food with.

        My observations were a critique of certain other members of the administration. I was wishing that the desire to avoid the appearance of impropriety extended to more serious matters with actual political importance.

        If you actually were responding to me: Might I suggest that you read comments before responding to them? I mean, it’s your website, so you’ve got the right to be ignorant just as much as you’ve got the right to be a dick. But firing off half-cocked comments isn’t a good look.

        1. SHG Post author

          You’re very kind to me, allowing me the right to be ignorant as well as a dick. Thank you.

          You are, in fact, correct. I got bored by the second sentence, skimmed the rest, and misread what you were saying. My response was unintelligible in context. Had I paid closer attention, I would likely have trashed your comment as you used your “appearance of impropriety” to go from the subject of the post down the rabbit hole, but I didn’t, I allowed it to post and my response was inappropriate. So, you’re right and my half-cocked comment wasn’t a good look.

            1. SHG Post author

              When someone (even if they call me a dick in the process) persuades me I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I was wrong.

  6. JimEd

    Can I make a rule where no one is allowed to be alone with me? I’ll claim whatever religious text you want.

    1. SHG Post author

      Since it’s a rule for yourself, you can make any damn rule you want. No need to justify it. It’s yours. Do what you want.

  7. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    I, too, have a rule similar to yours. My wife insists upon it.

    I never eat with a woman not my wife at the Hi-Way Diner between 2:00 am and 4:00 am unless, of course, the lady is willing to have chicken fried steak with me.

    Chicken fried steak is not on the list of 19 Aphrodisiac Foods Proven to Spark Romance, according to the Nebraska Kama Sutra for all things libidinous, the Readers Digest. (But compare Arugula).

    All the best.

    RGK

    1. SHG Post author

      Try the fried kale chips. They won’t do much for libido, but they’ll make you want to buy a Prius.

      1. Richard Kopf

        SHG,

        Priuses are for child molesters who are nonetheless acutely sensitive to the environment. Such vehicles have the secondary benefit of allowing kiddie predators to sneak up on tikes as they skip home from school hand in hand.

        All the best.

        RGK

        1. SHG Post author

          A blind lawyer friend of mine hates Priuses for the same reason, you can’t hear them sneaking up on you. But I’m unaware of anyone trying to molest him, suggesting rank discrimination against the disabled.

  8. Nemo

    Since the article’s author has allowed mind reading as a legitimate way of analyzing motivation, I will use my mad mental skillz (Bought military surplus. Soviet military surplus.) to determine that the real reason the author’s upset is because the practice negates the possibility of slinging sexual impropriety mud at him. That is clearly intolerable in this day and age, don’tcha know.

    And since I’m reading his mind, I can also truthfully report that the author doesn’t understand that any tactic you call upon as legitimate to use against those you hate automatically becomes a valid tactic to use against himself, by those who dislike him or his opinions.

    It is understandable, although not forgivable, considering all the people out there who don’t care to admit that Obama handed Trump “pen and a phone” authority on a silver platter. One of the problems with the tactic of always attacking and never admitting guilt is that once you begin going to that, your gyrations as to maintaining that stance become more complex (and ridiculous) as the argument progresses. And the progression of political arguments never ceases.

    Still, it is perhaps to be expected that those who eschew rules in favor of feelz will tend to overlook the fact that rules must apply equally, since they cleave to feelz, and feelz can be as unfair as they feel they should be. Because feelz = justice, or some such.

    There, I now feel comfortable, having stated the obvious on my way to fulfilling my quota for doing that today.

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