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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

‘Shameless’ is more than just a cable TV show

The growing number of famous men revealed to have sexually harassed women is mind-boggling.

Former 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer is one of

Former 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer is one of a growing group of powerful men to have lost their jobs or resigned their positions after claims of sexual harassment or improper sexual conduct became public. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Shame on you!

Did your mother ever say that when you did something you knew was wrong? Did your teacher? Good! You should feel rotten when you cheat, lie or do anything that brings shame on you, your family — or your nation.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about discussions with then-Russian Ambassador and alleged spymaster Sergey Kislyak. This just 16 months after Flynn whipped up the Republican National Convention against Hillary Clinton with chants of, “Lock her up!” Karma?

In Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, counter-protesters shouted “Shame on you!” at Nazis, KKKers and other white supremacists marching in their city. They were wasting their time. Didn’t they notice that Klan members were parading without the traditional hoods that hide their identities? Empowered by President Donald Trump, who said there were some “very fine people on both sides,” why not show their faces?

From mocking Al Franken after the Minnesota senator was accused of inappropriate sexual touching (Trump himself has more than a dozen sexual harassment claims against him), to wisecracking about Pocahontas at an event honoring Navajo code-talkers, the president continues to lower the bar on shamelessness. (Franken announced his resignation from the Senate floor on Thursday.)

Meanwhile, the growing number of famous men revealed to have sexually harassed women is mind-boggling. In the past month, both CBS’ Charlie Rose and NBC’s Matt Lauer were fired on claims of sexual misconduct. In Congress, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan on Tuesday announced his retirement after accusations that he demanded sex from women who worked for him, while taxpayer money was used to pay an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement against Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican who now pledges to repay the public funds. And, Rep. Trent Franks, a Texas Republican, is resigning, apparently over alleged sexual harassment.

But it’s not just Trump or media stars or congressmen who exercise control on shamelessness. On a somewhat lighter note, a former British Scrabble champion was barred from tournaments for three years for dumping lousy tiles back in the bag on the sly to pick better ones.

Lewis Mackay, who observed the sneaky move, posted on Facebook, “I thought I was seeing things at first — I was shocked to witness this at all.”

“Shocked” at shameless Scrabble cheating, Mr. Mackay? In 2017 America, that would be just another day.

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.

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