Thursday, May 11, 2017

No Honor Among Sleaze



Merriam Webster’s definition of the term honorable:

1. Deserving of respect or high regard
2. Entitled to honor or respect – used as a title for various government officials.

Now - an example of its use: The Honorable Robert Fisher wrote, “I’m going to say it—Rape isn’t an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot.” So much honor!

By now you’ve heard about Representative Robert Fisher of Laconia, the young man who created a forum for pickup artists and men’s rights activists to share their disdain for women and discuss tactics for getting them into bed.

The governor, the speaker of the House, and the chair of the NH GOP have all asked him to resign. He has refused.  

There was a hearing of the House Legislative Administration Committee earlier this week, to hear testimony from Fisher and members of the public. The committee may opt to expel him from the House, censure him, or do nothing. My money is on nothing. Even though the House Republicans have a big scandal every year with some badly behaved individual, they show no sign of cleaning up the increasing mess their party has become. Their only interest is in ideology, and if they need to use perverts to get enough votes, then perverts they will find and run as candidates.

At the same the committee was timidly questioning Fisher, former Rep. Kyle Tasker (last year’s big scandal) was being sentenced in court for trying to lure a 14 year old to meet him for a sexual encounter.

Thanks to all this, some women who serve in the legislature have been speaking out about the way they are treated by the men in the majority party. It’s no surprise, really. Here’s a look at some men who are currently serving: Rep. Brian Stone of Northwood was arrested for violating a restraining order against his former girlfriend. Rep. James Spillane of Deerfield was arrested for assaulting his former wife.  Rep. Frank Sapareto from Derry assaulted his former girlfriend’s children in 2012. In 2017, he’s the Vice Chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Rep. Michael Brewster lost custody of his children, and harassed one of the state workers in the Child Support Unit so much that a restraining order was taken out against him. He violated it and was arrested. Senator Kevin Avard was arrested for violating a restraining order against his former wife.

Not only are these men elected, they are given leadership positions. And the House Republican women remain silent. Not a one of them has spoken out against Fisher. These women send a strong message through their silence. They’re saying that they don’t mind serving with mean who hate and fear women so much that they assault them. Fisher bemoaned the fact that because of statutory rape laws, “perfectly viable women under the age of 18” were not available to him. Kyle Tasker was on his way to rape a 14-year old girl. From their silence, one can only infer that the Republican women in the House are on board with this behavior. Silence = complicity.  

Republicans elected a president who boasted of grabbing women by their genitalia. It should come as no surprise that this has emboldened the Republican men of the NH legislature. They are so comfortable in their loathing for women and their certainty that they won’t be held accountable that they are fearless. There are no behaviors they won’t defend. There’s no honor among sleaze.

These are men fought hard to keep a law on the books that allows adult men to marry 13-year-old girls. These are men who fought hard to keep a law on the books that allows men to use the “I didn’t know she was underage” defense when caught trying to purchase sex from a minor. These same men are desperate to legislate women’s lives; from making their personal medical decisions to how their divorces are handled. In  2014 a bill was passed making domestic violence a crime. Three men voted against it: Representatives JR Hoell, Michael Sylvia, and Frank Sapareto. Why? Because abusers might lose their guns.

I’m not letting Democrats off the hook either. Robert Fisher handed them plutonium on a platter, and House leadership has failed to take advantage of it. If the parties were reversed in this situation, the Republican howls would be heard on Mars. No such howling has been heard in the hallways of the NH House coming from Democratic leadership.

In an effort to deflect attention from Fisher, Republican Rep. Victoria Sullivan launched a false equivalency witch-hunt against Democratic Rep. Sherry Frost. Minority leadership seems more inclined to sacrifice Frost than to rock the boat by defending her. It’s curious, really. Are they afraid the Republicans won’t like them?

Here’s the thing- they don’t like you already. You might as well fight back (for a change) and earn some respect from voters desperate for an opposition party.

1 comment:

Lawyerlady said...

Good blog Susan,
and all true......but the Dems are just as bad in their complicity and participation in a failed system. I no longer aspire to holding office. I could lie and say I'm a Democrat, kind of like committing adultery in my heart a la Carter, but I think we need several new parties. The whole political mess just saddens me now.
Stay warm up in the North country!
Ruth