|Reid-Gate: Where Did Harry Go Wrong?
By Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D.
March 01, 2010
As Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid
unquestionably is one of the
nation's most powerful political figures. So, as Majority Leader,
could he be so wrong on Domestic Violence?
Arguing in favor of a jobs bill and speaking
uttered - even by Washington standards - some of the more unusual
comments to come from a politician.
Senator Reid's comments are quoted in The Hill. To really capture
full impact of his comments, however, you need to view them on You-Tube
for which this blog
contains a link. The Hill quotes Senator Reid as saying:
"I met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse.
It has gotten out of hand," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Why? Men
don't have jobs."Reid said that the effects of joblessness on domestic
violence were especially pronounced among men, because, Reid said,
women tend to be less abusive. "Women don't have jobs either, but women
aren't abusive, most of the time," he said. "Men, when they're out of
work, tend to become abusive."
Senator Reid likely was right in that, yes, unemployment may increase
the risk of Domestic Violence - along with a host of other negative
outcomes. It is unlikely, however, that unemployment only
the risk of Domestic Violence in men but not in women. Such a
would be inconsistent with the results of hundreds of social-science
research studies which find that men and women initiate Domestic
Violence in roughly equal numbers and more importantly that the most
recent studies indicate that the initiation rates for females have been
So, where did Harry go wrong? As a Developmental Psychologist, I
to early childhood personal experiences and my search was rewarded by a
2008 article in Newsweek titled "Up From Searchlight." Senate boss Harry Reid's book recounts
a rough road to power. Here I learned that Harry grew up in a
hard-scrabble mining town with 13 brothels and no churches, with a
mother and father who both abused alcohol, with a depressed father who
later killed himself, and who took his purpose-in-life advice from the
owner of a whore-house. Finally, and, perhaps most critically relevant
to his Senate comments, Newsweek reported: "According to Reid his
father beat his mother until, at 14, young Harry and his brother pinned
Pop down to stop the violence.
While anyone certainly can sympathize with young Harry's plight, his
personal experiences with alcoholic and abusive parents certainly are
not the stuff of which public policy and broad stereotyping statements
about men should be made from a position of high political power.
For his senseless and misandric statements before the Senate -- which
have harmed and negatively stereotyped all males -- Majority Leader
Harry Reid owes every boy and man in America a correction and an
Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Florida
International University in Miami. See
his faculty web site
“No Woman is Illegal”
Russert and Fatherhood: A Tribute
Reality on Domestic Violence
Escalating the War on Fathers and Families
and Economy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Woman’s Inalienable Right To Murder?