The following article was submitted as a guest post.
I am writing this in regards to the ongoing situation with Representative Luke Simons. I can’t say how disappointed I am in the North Dakota House of Representatives for allowing this situation to continue.
Let me preface this by saying I do know Representative Simons personally, and have for more than a decade. I will also say, in all honesty, we have not always seen eye-to-eye on different things. Somehow, regardless of opinions, we have managed to have a mutual respect for each other and each other’s opinions.
My real concern is actually for the females in this situation, and every other female on whom this will reflect. I am appalled and disgusted at the way these ladies are being used as pawns and weapons against Representative Simons. Sitting here looking at this situation, if I could sum it up in one statement, it would be, “We can’t shut him up with our brains, let’s use bras!”
We as women have worked hard to achieve a place in government, and even in certain careers in society in general. This kind of thing sets us back decades. I’m embarrassed.
Let me elaborate. If you have taken time to read through the actual accusations, you will, I hope, have realized that most of what is being said is totally misconstrued bits and pieces of conversations. To accuse someone of harassment because of a compliment to your eyelashes, especially in a society where makeup and false eyelashes are worn to enhance and call attention to eyelashes…. Or taking a comment made by a barber (we do realize barbering is how Rep. Simons makes his living, correct?) about your hair completely out of context…. Comments about dishes and laundry are annoying. But, anyone who has raised children or conducted a classroom will tell you that the appropriate move when someone is bent on being annoying is to remove yourself from the situation. That happened. And since some of this was already dealt with by House leadership, why is it a problem now? Because there is motivation behind the removal of Representative Simons. You can ask yourself what that is.
I feel like as women, we should reserve these kind of slurs for actual situations of harassment or true inappropriate physical conduct, and not just to further an agenda. Overuse and misuse of the “pink card” leads to lack of respect for a female’s word. Do we not realize that when we allow our word to be misconstrued, everyone around us sees, and we lose respect of male and females alike? Is that what we want in our careers? That next time there is a true concern, no one will believe us, because we cried “Wolf!” on a grudge situation, and not because we, or our livelihood, was really in jeopardy?
I believe wholeheartedly that in a situation of physical danger or true harassment, it should be dealt with and the perpetrator should be prosecuted. But really. Not in a situation where a happily married man becomes an annoyance to the “powers that be” and women are being used as a weapon against him.
As a female, I am embarrassed by this situation. As a North Dakotan, I am ashamed. We see this at a federal level. I really believed in better things from North Dakota.
—B. A. Springer
B.A. Springer is a North Dakota transplant, mother, and educator with an interest in politics and a passion for writing.