Penile misdeeds transcend politics. Rebecca Collins' allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen have nothing whatever to do with donkeys or elephants and everything to do with dicks. It's not the political party — it's the hangy-down that's hard up for power and control.
Glance at the men who've brought shame and degradation to their families and professions for likewise dropping trou — President Kennedy, Kobe Bryant, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, President Clinton, R. Kelly, U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey — and obviously politics and even sexuality have little to do with sexual misconduct.
This concerns a hypocritical absence of character and a flagrant abuse of power that's made the blood rush to Allen's head. No condom in the world can cap that.
Top it off with Allen's infamous arrogance and smugness and his own assumption that he's beyond the reach of the law applicable to the rest of us, and we've got a Monster Truck Fall From Grace on our hands. The prosecutor goes down.
Citywide, folks are salivating to see Allen go down politically and professionally. My e-mail is zinging with notices from blacks stewing with long-simmering outrage over the woefully unsuccessful prosecution by Allen of officers like Robert Jorg accused of excessive force in the death of Roger Owensby Jr. To them, Allen's getting his comeuppance.
They're filing lawsuits against Allen, asking Hamilton County Commissioners to convene special prosecutors to have him removed from office. They're petitioning Gov. Bob Taft to have Allen wedged from the board of trustees at UC.
But this isn't solely about race, and relegating this to black-versus-white is misguided.
This is about ousting faulty power sources (who happen to be white men) infecting their environs with off-the-radar rules the rest of us would likely know nothing about unless someone came forward to yank off the covers.
Public bandwagonning on an otherwise moral (and private) issue is what makes Allen's predicament spectacularly titillating. What he or any public official does with his privates should be private, but it becomes public fodder when it turns the corner into alleged harassment.
Maybe Collins thought she could work her hand and get more than 10 minutes of pleasure out of Allen. Perhaps she filed suit only after Allen didn't deliver the promotions. Only Collins and Allen know for sure.
Should Collins' allegations be even remotely meritorious, however, what does it say about the way Allen, the city's top cop, runs his office, treats his underlings, prosecutes his cases and, most importantly, treats women? If she's done anything besides give talk radio in black and white ghettoes grist for Allen's grill, Collins has exposed the cold and heavily politicized climate of the prosecutor's office, where it's every man and woman for him or herself unless, of course, the boss asks for dictation.
I believe Allen is guilty. At the least he's screwed the "values" he's charged with upholding and enforcing, and, at the most, he's committed sexual coercion.
What made his "press conference" laughable and disingenuous is that he came forth only after settlement negotiations broke down and before the ugliness of his sexual relationship with Collins grew more salacious. Notice he didn't take questions? What's he gonna say, that he never had sex with Collins on his desk during work hours?
The real reason Allen's guilt seems probable is because more than a year ago I heard rumors of his alleged extramarital relationship. (I hesitate to romanticize it as an affair. That word is reserved for the movies.)
The rumor went like this: To curb overtime abuse among assistant prosecutors, Allen hired an investigator to substantiate overtime hours. Suspected of padding her overtime sheet, Collins herself allegedly ended up on the investigator's list, the investigator ended up outside her house and Allen — rumpled, wrinkled and disheveled — allegedly emerged from Collins' house at an hour when only drug dealers, donut makers and cheaters thrive.
I don't travel in the political circles where everyone keeps one another's secrets, so for that rumor to reach me means some morsel of the truth of Allen's personal life was growing as general knowledge. When your extramarital affair is being whispered about across town, it's a sign to break it off unless, of course, you don't give a fuck.
Proof of how powerless they are over their dicks as upward bound divining rods, men suffering from the Hangy-Down Theory® always go too far, steer into deeply dangerous waters and trash the value of their families, careers and educations — everything they've claimed to work their entire lives for — all for the lusty greed of a sexual conquest.
The most pitiful part of this debacle is the permanence and breadth of its documentation. In five years the children of Collins and Allen will Google their parents' names, and it'll all be electronically vomited back to them.
And Collins and Allen can explain to them what a dick is.
Kathy's collection of columns, Your Negro Tour Guide: Truths in Black and White, is available in bookstores now.