I realize that in today’s world, exposing an elected official from the GOP for offensive behavior can actually play a beneficial role towards their re-election prospects, but I still think it’s important for people to know when someone in public office has crossed the line between poor taste and hurtful behavior.
Today, Maine State Rep. Lawrence Lockman, a Republican from Amherst who has been featured in the past on this blog and others, crossed that line yet again.
Here’s a post he made on Facebook this morning:
“As we enter the home stretch of the legislative session, I want to salute two of the most principled, articulate, attractive women at the Statehouse.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has stood strong under the barrage of slings and arrows from left-wing progressives who long to take Maine back to the days of busted budgets and a broken welfare system. She has worked tirelessly to move Maine people from welfare to work, and preserve the frayed social safety net for Maine’s most needy.
Mayhew has been ably assisted in carrying out this mission by my House colleague Rep. Deb Sanderson. She is the Republican lead on the HHS committee, and a strong voice on the floor of the House.
I have been honored to serve with these two strong conservative women. Maine is a better place because of their leadership in Augusta.”
Thing is, even though his rhetoric regarding liberals in Maine is totally uncalled for, that sort of thing has become par for the course when it comes to Lockman and other radical conservatives in Augusta- Gov. LePage laid the groundwork for that.
It’s that one word, “attractive,” though, that really stands out to me.
Not everyone is going to be offended or alarmed at the choice to compliment Mayhew and Sanborn’s appearance- I know because I shared his post on my own Facebook wall and received a few responses supporting the word choice- but to most people, the remark is troubling.
Sure, he meant it as a compliment, but suggesting that a woman’s appearance should play a role in their ability to do their job isn’t just simple passive misogyny, it’s also harmful, even hurtful.
Lockman’s inability to see why referring to the two women as attractive was a mistake is evident in his response to my sharing of his post on Facebook, in which he wrote, “you’re such an ass. But I know you crave attention, so have at it.”
Such a response is no surprise coming from the same man who also refuses to apologize for statements like this one:
No surprise, but still extremely troubling, because this isn’t just your average, run-of-the-mill bigoted misogynist, this man is a public official charged with making decisions that affect all Mainers- even people who he isn’t attracted to.