By Jackson Thoreau
In the couple of years I have written Internet columns for progressive Web sites, I have done my fair share of criticizing the mainstream U.S. media for not being aggressive enough in taking on Republican politicians.
Well, it's only fair I commend the members of the press when they do their jobs. And the Los Angeles Times did its job in sparkling fashion with its investigation of Arnold the Groping Liar published this week.
It was an excellent, explosive story, the kind of which American journalism needs more. It was not so much a story about sex, as the age-old abuse of power. And the Times showed that Arnold the Would-be Emperor really has no clothes - or morals or conscience.
The Times is about the only U.S. mainstream newspaper that has really investigated Schwarzenegger's history of sexual harassment, which as the paper showed includes incidents as recent as 2000.
Schwarzenegger's campaign is trying to say Gov. Gray Davis was behind the story, but that's not the case. As John Carroll, the editor of the Los Angeles Times, told the San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper had collected even more examples but had not included those incidents in the story because reporters had not had time to corroborate them.
One of those victims I put in touch with a Times reporter several weeks ago – a woman now in her 50s who said Schwarzenegger went so far as to sexually assault her in 1997 at a now defunct Planet Hollywood in Atlanta. She contacted me out of the blue after I wrote one of numerous columns and posts about Schwarzenegger’s history of sexual harassment and said I was interested in hearing from others who experienced the Terminator’s "charms."
She had nothing to do with the Davis campaign. As she wrote in her first email to me, she said she had "been through emotional 'Hell' since the attack, including nightmares and fears I can't get rid of. I see that liar's smile everywhere I look today. It may, somehow, help me to finally talk about the terror of being attacked, and how it affected me and my life since. My speaking up will certainly wipe that big smile off his face."
The victim said that she did not pursue charges against Schwarzenegger because she simply wanted to forget the attack. She didn’t think Schwarzenegger would come after her again, and she didn’t want to complicate her life at the time. But she found the nightmares and Schwarzenegger’s smile have not gone away. So she, like other victims, is willing to talk.
I won’t release her name, although she is willing to do so to a reporter. To me, it’s not necessary. I have heard enough similar stories to know there is a lot of truth to hers. Perhaps someday soon, her story will be told, and I pray it helps her find some solace. She sure won’t find that by any half-apology Schwarzenegger issues. His semi-apology this week in response to the Times article included a statement that he thought the women involved enjoyed his "attention." Think again, steroid-brain.
Since the evening two months ago that I sat stunned on my couch watching Leno yuk it up with Schwarzenegger and his inane comments about bikini waxes and pumping up Sacramento, I have searched for the truth about this guy’s past. What I have found has not been pretty. I have tried to tell it as honestly as I can. I have tried to not pull any punches. I have tried to give him at least as much of the benefit of the doubt as Republicans gave Clinton when he was president.
And I can say this: I do not work for Davis’ campaign. Davis’ people won’t even return my emails. I just work for myself in this unpaid Internet columnist job, trying to write the angels and demons from my mind.
Hell yeah, I get a certain satisfaction in seeing Schwarzenegger’s campaign unravel before our eyes. Hopefully, we can stop this guy before he emulates one of his heroes, Adolph Hitler. It’d be great if Schwarzenegger’s political career ended Tuesday, rather than began in the California governor's office. But that’s not the only reason I labor at this task.
The above-mentioned woman said as Schwarzenegger was about to leave her six years ago, that he did not mention his wife or kids. But he issued a directive, declarative, proclamatory, one-sentence statement to the effect of: "Don’t try telling this to anyone - no one would ever believe you."
In that statement, I see the soul-less vacuum that occupies Schwarzenegger’s innards. And I also see the courage inside this woman in defying the powerful Terminator to now come forward.
And something about that situation gives me reason to be optimistic and pessimistic about our human condition and future at the same time.
Something about it makes me search on, read on, write on…..
Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. He can be emailed at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.