The Important Thing

WASHINGTON — NOVEMBER 17: U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) leaves the House Republican Conference leadership elections alone on Capitol Hill November 17, 2006 in Washington, DC. Hastert is the longest-serving Speaker of the House but is now scorned for losing control of the House to the Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is the only thing you need to know about the spectacular awfulness accused of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert:

Jolene said she asked her brother why he never told anyone. “And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?'”

(Ross, Schwartz, and Capell)

This includes never.

And never includes the time before Mr. Hastert rose to lead the United States House of Representatives.

There will be continued scorn toward hypocrisy and his role in American sexual moralism, and when it comes to spectacular headlines accusing that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives is a serial sexual predator, there are certain things that might get lost along the way.

Jolene said she believes the abuse ended when Steve moved away after his high school graduation in 1971. Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. She believes Hastert’s alleged actions irrevocably changed Steve’s life for the worse.

This is what it does. This is why it cannot be.

“And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?'”

And that is every day in these United States.

This is an awful scandal. It will be spectacularly horrible. But there are things about this story that were true and important before it ever happened, remain so now, and will continue as such after the headlines have passed.

And those things require address.

So, you know, if there’s one thing to remember from all of this, we should probably make it the really, really important one.

____________________

Image note: Detail ― U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) leaves the House Republican Conference leadership elections alone on Capitol Hill November 17, 2006 in Washington, DC. Hastert is the longest-serving Speaker of the House but is now scorned for losing control of the House to the Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ross, Brian, Rhonda Schwartz, and John Capell. “Exclusive: Alleged Dennis Hastert Sex Abuse Victim Named by Family”. ABC News. 5 June 2015.

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