Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Joe Barton, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, a host of Hollywood big-wigs, and especially Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore have faced a gauntlet of public derision after reports of their alleged sexual misconduct.
Yet, John Conyers’ sex scandal generates a ho-hum response in his hometown.
The credible accusations of disgusting behavior toward female staffers by longtime Democratic Congressman Conyers, which have prompted a national focus on whether he should resign, have apparently generated little interest within the lawmaker’s Detroit district.
Conyers, 88, the longest-serving member of the House, has represented Detroit in Congress since many of his constituents were in diapers, earning a reputation along the way as a civil rights icon. After being hospitalized for stress-related illness in the midst of this breaking scandal, Conyers has vowed to retain his House seat.
Yet, I suspect the relatively inconsequential status he carries among his constituents – as revealed by media interviews – would be more sickening to the congressman than any of the calls on Capitol Hill for him to quit.
The news site BuzzFeed sent a reporter to gauge the public response in an interesting place – on the street named after the lawmaker, John Conyers Boulevard, in downtown Detroit.
Overall, those interviewed on the street know the Conyers name but they don’t know the man – or the details of his allegedly creepy behavior.
Here is a bit of how BuzzFeed reporter Lissandra Villa described her Motown experience:
On John Conyers Jr. Boulevard in downtown Detroit, the eponymous street where one of the congressman’s offices is located, no one seems to know — or really give a lot of thought to — the sexual harassment allegations that have come out against Conyers or the growing chorus of calls for him to resign.
Despite mounting pressure to resign from his own Democratic House colleagues, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, nearly a dozen people told BuzzFeed News they were not aware of any sexual harassment allegations against the congressman as they stood on or near the street that shares a name with him on Thursday. While the influential congressman is a towering figure in his hometown of Detroit, there were few signs in the city that a boiling political drama has been playing out.
At least one of those interviewed was forthright enough to admit that he had never heard of Conyers. More significantly, the tremendous public blowback faced by others buried in the nation’s avalanche of recent sexual misconduct accusations has not materialized in Detroit against Conyers.
On Thursday, there were no signs or protesters near Conyers’ office, which is located inside the downtown federal courthouse. But there may have been another sign of abnormal normalcy. When the BuzzFeed reporter was escorted to the quiet congressional office, employees were present, to the surprise of a courthouse security guard.