Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

Denver – one of Adhering to principles in politics is not going to happen. If you have votes, you vote. If you do not, you do not.

Add to the list of things blown up by the #MeToo movement on Friday in Denver. When Colorado’s all-female House Democratic leadership expelled their own caucus, Rep. Steve Steve Lesok, for sexual harassment that morning, as Speaker Christian Duran confirmed to me, “We had no idea we had any Republican votes.” is.” Did not know that we have all Democrats. But we knew it was the right thing to do. “

Expelling a member takes two-thirds of the vote, or 44 of the 65 members of the Colorado House. If all Democrats (minus the accusers) voted, they needed nine Republicans.

After seven hours of emotional debate, Lebosk was expelled In a landslide, 52–9. He was the first member of the Colorado General Assembly to be expelled in more than one hundred years, and the second this year removed from a state legislature for sexual harassment.

This was a notable bipartisan achievement by the Colorado legislature and for the culture change movement that is #MeToo and #TimesUp. And it was also a statement in Trump’s age, human decency can overcome tribalism and party loyalty.

Cartoon on President Donald Trump

When the House is away from the vote count at 9 in the morning, expectations are raised that LeBosk will retain his seat with a slight margin. And then that all changed.

Duran told me, “I asked Vishwas (Rep. Winter) to speak first after the resolution is gone. I think the tone has been set.”

Winter was the first woman to go public with her name among the Libsock accused. Bent Berkland, a longtime Capital Reporter for NPR affiliate KUNC. Broke the story Several women accused him of crude sexual offers and a pattern of misconduct. As Winter rages again on the ground,

“I said five times. Not five times. Not once, not twice, five times. I used all the tools women don’t have to say. I blew it in laughter; I made them go to my girlfriend’s house. Told for; I did not say directly. Nothing worked. Every time I said he is not, he got angry, he was standing close, he was standing on top of me. I felt insecure … Today is not about sex – it is about power. Sexual harassment is about power and power that it isolates others.

Without this vote, we will tell women that their experience and voice does not matter. We are our colleagues, our apprentices, our advocates, our fellow representatives and yes, you must be telling me that our voices do not matter. We keep telling each other in whispers that avoid keeping each other safe.

Without this vote, today we are sending a message for any future oppression or attack that his experience and his voice is no less important than power with us. Our time in this building is temporary, our time with power is temporary, and I ask you today to use your vote and your voice and yes it is your power to indicate that we are indeed building a democracy. All are welcome where doing. ”

You could then hear a pin drop across the room. It took up to two and a half hours for Lebosc to speak and defend himself. He was not – he spoke very sparingly, attacking mostly independent investigators who found the claims credible and disputing the timing of events. Despite some unpleasant complaints about the process, one of his colleagues did not speak directly on his behalf.

Instead, many legislators on both sides recalled his #MeToo experiences, reading letters from other victims and downplaying LeBosk’s repeated attempts at retaliation, including a 28-page manifesto that went deep Going after the accusations and his allegations in person. Conditions. Two male legislators said they were wearing bulletproof vests, fearing what they might do.

Which brings home the true point of #MeToo: oppression is about power. It is about instilling fear. It is about the ability of Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump and Steve Lebosk of the world to bully and abuse women and all those around them.

It took women in power at the Colorado State Capitol themselves to say: We are working. #time’s up.

And it needs to be higher in the halls of Congress in Hollywood (thanks, Francis McDormand) and in state capitals around the country.

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