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View Full Version : Allen West: sexual harassment or not?


Little Nemo
07-21-2011, 11:51 PM
In my opinion, not.

The background for those who haven't followed the story: West is a Republican congressman from Florida. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Democratic congresswoman from Florida. They hold opposing positions on cutting government spending.

Wasserman Schultz was speaking before the House and commented on West's position: “Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable for a member from South Florida.”

At the time West was not present. He apparently was angry that his name was brought up when he was not present to respond. He sent Wasserman Schultz an email:Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!

Obviously the two of them have their differences. But it's now become a larger issue than just these individuals. Because several other Congresswomen are accusing West of sexual harassment based on what he said in the email.

Which, to me, is not an issue here. West clearly doesn't like Wasserman Schultz (and it appears to be mutual) but all the evidence is that it's based on political differences not gender.

boytyperanma
07-21-2011, 11:59 PM
IMO sexual harassment would take a pattern of like statements.

That was an email? His complaint is she didn't say things to his face. She should just tell him he has no balls and is not a man for refusing to say that to her face.

If she was speaking before the House what's his excuse for not being there? Did she know he wasn't going to be there?

Odesio
07-22-2011, 12:15 AM
Is his use of the word "lady" supposed to make it sexual harassment? Because I'm just not seeing it.

Guinastasia
07-22-2011, 12:18 AM
If that's sexual harassment, then I'm Kim Jong Il.

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 12:43 AM
If she was speaking before the House what's his excuse for not being there? Did she know he wasn't going to be there?It's not like Congressmen have to punch a timeclock. They're not required to be present at all times when somebody is speaking.

Implicit
07-22-2011, 12:49 AM
IMO sexual harassment would take a pattern of like statements.

That was an email? His complaint is she didn't say things to his face. She should just tell him he has no balls and is not a man for refusing to say that to her face.

If she was speaking before the House what's his excuse for not being there? Did she know he wasn't going to be there?
I'm not sure if she knew he'd left, but according to this interview (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/07/20/interview_with_dnc_chair_debbie_wasserman_schultz_110666.html) yesterday, he'd spoken before her.
SCHULTZ: But, Wolf, understand, the hard feelings are one way. I simply debated a policy issue on the House floor. He had spoken directly before me and I got a tirade in response out of the clear blue sky. It was really unfortunate.

To the OP, who is claiming that West's email was sexual harassment?

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 12:52 AM
And just like that, Allen West gives up the moral high ground.

He has now made a statement that the reason Democrats are attacking him is racism.

I try and take a conservative's side on something and he just throws it back in my face.

Captain Amazing
07-22-2011, 12:56 AM
I don't think it was sexual harassment, any more than the reason Democrats are attacking him for it is racism. I do think it's an asinine overreaction, though.

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 12:59 AM
To the OP, who is claiming that West's email was sexual harassment?Apparently five Representatives, although I only have the names of two: Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Gwen Moore.

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 01:05 AM
Apparently five Representatives, although I only have the names of two: Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Gwen Moore.Okay, I think the other three were Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Miller
07-22-2011, 01:21 AM
I could see an argument that the note was sexist, although I don't think it's a particularly strong argument. But sexual harassment? Absurd.

tumbleddown
07-22-2011, 01:30 AM
Sexual harassment, no. Sexist and degrading, absolutely. Inappropriate beyond bounds considering their relative positions? You'd better believe it.

One thing that arose in the reporting of this is the fact that West doesn't live in his own district, but in fact lives in Wasserman-Schultz's. I had no idea that this was possible. Can someone actually represent a district that they don't live in, or is this a result of recent redistricting, does anyone know?

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 01:32 AM
One thing that arose in the reporting of this is the fact that West doesn't live in his own district, but in fact lives in Wasserman-Schultz's. I had no idea that this was possible. Can someone actually represent a district that they don't live in, or is this a result of recent redistricting, does anyone know?I've seen the issue mentioned in some articles. Apparently it's legal in Florida.

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 01:37 AM
Personally, I'm not even seeing sexism in this email. "You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!" is just the direct equivalent of "You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Gentleman, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!" West is saying Wasserman Schultz is ill-mannered (along with being vile, unprofessional, despicable, and a coward) but he isn't saying or implying that she's these things because she's a woman. In fact what appears to be the situation here is West treats Wasserman Schultz the same way he would presumably treat a man who he was mad at.

The bottom line is you have to decide: do you want equality or do you want respect? Because if you ask for equality, you'd better understand there are plenty of people I don't treat with respect and you might end up being one of them.

BigT
07-22-2011, 01:38 AM
And just like that, Allen West gives up the moral high ground.

He has now made a statement that the reason Democrats are attacking him is racism.

Link? Because that didn't happen here. This sounds more like a guy taking as hostility when none was offered.

Though I have to admit that anyone who claims this is sexual harassment is going way, way out. I think the Congresswoman, in the interview linked above, has it right. He's being pulled two different directions: one by his constituents, and one by his party and/or people who donated to his campaign.

zoid
07-22-2011, 01:39 AM
He has now made a statement that the reason Democrats are attacking him is racism.

[Elaine Benes] Shut UP! (pushes Little Nemo) [/Elaine Benes]

Did he really make that claim? Bizarre.

ñañi
07-22-2011, 01:59 AM
I'm idly wondering what a capital-L Lady is, what is the "due respect" afforded to one, and how Rep. West believes women who are not a capital-L Lady ought to be treated.

Reading that email, I'm not inclined to call him a Gentleman.

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 02:25 AM
Did he really make that claim? Bizarre.West was doing a radio interview with Mark Levin.Levin: If you were liberal and Wasserman Schultz was a conservative, people would accuse her of racism....

West: "Think about what John Stewart said about Hermann Cain -- the remark he does not want to read. People who are black conservatives — I grew up in the inner city, strong values, came from a strong military family and background — (and) what we do is we totally invalidate the liberal social welfare policies and programs...

“I’m a threat because I’m the guy that got off of their 21st Century plantation. And they cannot afford to have a strong voice such as mine out there reverberating and resonating across this country. And even more so, they’re not used to anyone that says ‘I’m going to fight back against you.’ That is absolutely reprehensible to them. And that's why all of a sudden you have about four or five different websites that went up today saying that Allen West hates women, which having been married for 22 years to a woman with an MBA and a PHd and having two beautiful daughters, that to me is the epitome of the falsification of the truth"

Cite (http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2011/07/allen-west-im-the-guy-that-got-off-liberals-21st-century-plantation-.html)

Captain Amazing
07-22-2011, 03:45 AM
I've seen the issue mentioned in some articles. Apparently it's legal in Florida.

It's legal everywhere. The only residence requirement to be a member of the House of Representatives is that you be a resident of the state your district is in. Politically, though, it becomes difficult if you're running in a district you're not a resident in. In 2009, for instance, Jim Tedisco ran in my district in the special election to replace Gilibrand, who had become a US senator. He did this in spite of the fact that he didn't live in the district, but my district leans Republican, and the district he lived in was solidly Democratic (so he couldn't run there). His lack of residency became an issue in the campaign, and he lost to Scott Murphy.

tumbleddown
07-22-2011, 07:44 AM
Personally, I'm not even seeing sexism in this email.
The sexism is inherent in two things. First, the "greeting." West is not Wasserman-Schultz's friend. They don't speak. They have no personal relationship, and yet he calls her by her first name with no honorrific. This is a very old and easy way to diminish women, assuming use of their names without regard for their position or titles. The second is the reference to her "failure" in West's eyes to be a lady. The presumption that she has an obligation to meet his standards of lady-like behavior, the presumption that he has a right to determine what is and isn't lady-like behavior, and the presumption that she is only due respect if she meets his standards of lady-like behavior is pure sexism.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whatever you think about her, isn't some chippie on a street corner. She's the chair of DNC and therefore the 2nd most powerful person in the party (after the president) and an esteemed senior member of the House. She's also West's representative. Whatever West thinks of her (completely non-objectionable) comments, he doesn't get to diminish her that way, and certainly doesn't get to do so on a gendered basis without being called out for being a rampant sexist.

By the by, West tried to cover his ass by saying that he was trained in the military to talk to dishonorable women without respect. Think on that one for a minute. This guy is so full of it, his eyes are brown.

Giles
07-22-2011, 08:03 AM
The sexism is inherent in two things. First, the "greeting." West is not Wasserman-Schultz's friend. They don't speak. They have no personal relationship, and yet he calls her by her first name with no honorrific. This is a very old and easy way to diminish women, assuming use of their names without regard for their position or titles.
I would have thought it normal for members of Congress to address each other by their first names in emails, even if they are mortal enemies. Is there any evidence that Mr West addresses male members of Congress in some other way?

Little Nemo
07-22-2011, 08:04 AM
Calling a woman by her first name is a form of sexism?

furt
07-22-2011, 08:08 AM
If she was speaking before the House what's his excuse for not being there? Did she know he wasn't going to be there?Traditionally, it's congressional etiquette that you don't take the podium and directly criticize members who aren't in the room.

Of course, traditionally, it's been a matter of congressional etiquette that you don't fly off the handle and go nuclear when another member violates matters of traditional congressional etiquette.

The claims of sexism and racism are both obviously asinine.

Jack Batty
07-22-2011, 08:15 AM
I don’t think the email show's Alan West to be a sexual harasser; or even that he's being sexist. I think it shows him being a total pussy. Wasserman was doing what congresspeople do ... openly debating on the House floor. And this gigantic tool gets all butt-hurt, calls her "the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives" and then goes crying to mommy and daddy ("I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip").

Pussy. Pure and simple.

FinnAgain
07-22-2011, 08:23 AM
The sexism is inherent in two things. First, the "greeting." West is not Wasserman-Schultz's friend. They don't spea

This is absurd, she doesn't get special treatment because she's a woman, and rudeness directed at a woman is not suddenly "sexism". If it's rude to address someone you're not friends with by their first name, then it's rude. There's nothing sexist about it.


The second is the reference to her "failure" in West's eyes to be a lady.

In English, we have gendered adjectives and nouns. A man who behaves properly is a gentleman, a woman who behaves properly is a lady, a woman who behaves badly is a bitch, a man who behaves badly is a bastard, etc...
Also no sexism there.

otternell
07-22-2011, 08:27 AM
I have read somewhere that some of the sexism claims came also because he said that she should "shut the heck up", as in a woman (excuse me Lady) should not be talking back.

I'm not really sure I see much of anything beyond an over-reaction. Which honestly, I have totally been guilty of myself, which is why you never, never, ever, ever send an email when you're pissed off.

And then again, If he has a problem with people talking about him (note she never said his name) behind his back, then maybe he shouldn't make his speech and then leave the room. Is she supposed to do a quick head count to make sure he's there, and if he's not then what? "Oh I guess he's not here - I've got nothing to say."

Giles
07-22-2011, 08:29 AM
And then again, If he has a problem with people talking about him (note she never said his name) behind his back, then maybe he shouldn't make his speech and then leave the room. Is she supposed to do a quick head count to make sure he's there, and if he's not then what? "Oh I guess he's not here - I've got nothing to say."
I don't know what Congressional etiquette is, but in some other bodies that I've belonged to, it's considered rude to leave immediately after making a speech: you should at least listen to the next speaker. And that's partly because that person may be responding to your arguments.

Zeriel
07-22-2011, 10:10 AM
Calling a woman by her first name is a form of sexism?

Only in context. We'd have to know if, when mailing letters to his fellow representatives Joe Blow and Jane Doe, whether he addresses them as "The Honorable Mr. Blow" and "The Honorable Ms. Doe", "Joe" and "Jane", "The Honorable Mr. Blow" and "Jane", or "Joe" and "The Honorable Ms. Doe".

The latter two cases would be obviously sexist in different directions.


I don't know what Congressional etiquette is, but in some other bodies that I've belonged to, it's considered rude to leave immediately after making a speech: you should at least listen to the next speaker. And that's partly because that person may be responding to your arguments.

+1. If you leave right after your speech, you lose your right to complain about being addressed when not present by the person following you and rebutting you.

kayaker
07-22-2011, 10:17 AM
Anyone who sees this as sexual harassment needs to grow a set.



:D

Lightnin'
07-22-2011, 10:27 AM
I'm not really seeing any sexism.

I am, however, seeing a remarkably thin-skinned politician.

Barkis is Willin'
07-22-2011, 11:31 AM
It's not sexual harassment. I don't think it's sexism, either. Poor form, yes.

If saying, "you are not a lady," is sexism, then what term, applied to a woman, is the equivalent of "gentelman?" Because I do not think that saying a man "is not a gentleman" would be sexist.

zoid
07-22-2011, 11:52 AM
Well at least he didn't try to shake her hand.

The Second Stone
07-22-2011, 12:58 PM
I don't think its sexual harassment either. It's bizarre and unhinged.

Really Not All That Bright
07-22-2011, 02:55 PM
I don't think it was sexual harassment, any more than the reason Democrats are attacking him for it is racism. I do think it's an asinine overreaction, though.
This. "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". Especially when the person in question says things like this:
...that's why all of a sudden you have about four or five different websites that went up today saying that Allen West hates women, which having been married for 22 years to a woman with an MBA and a PHd and having two beautiful daughters, that to me is the epitome of the falsification of the truth.
"I can't be a sexist! Not only am I married to a woman, I have daughters!"

Ibn Warraq
07-22-2011, 03:06 PM
Obnoxious, yes. Sexist, no.

Sitnam
07-22-2011, 03:57 PM
Not sexist, but DAMN did Colbert burn him.

Toucanna
07-22-2011, 04:15 PM
This is my test for sexism. Had Ms. Wasserman Schultz been a man and had Mr. West said, "You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Gentleman, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!" would it be sexist? No. Ergo, Mr. West's statement to Ms. Wasser Schultz is not sexist. As for Mr. West's behavior in general regarding this incident, IMO, he is not behaving in a gentlemanly manner.

Furthermore, replying to charges of "-ism" with, "How can I be? I'm married to one/friends with some/hire them all the time!" does not necessarily impress me, regardless of who says it.

Regards,

Omg a Black Conservative
07-22-2011, 04:22 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.

Giles
07-22-2011, 04:29 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.
Does that just apply to Allen West? Or is any person racist if they think that any member of Congress is sexist?

zoid
07-22-2011, 05:06 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.

I'm sorry but I have to ask, you're kidding, right?
I just don't pick up on these things sometimes.

Kolga
07-22-2011, 05:31 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.

Is there a difference between what someone does, and who they are? (http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html)

Qin Shi Huangdi
07-22-2011, 05:34 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.

I wouldn't say a racist but they're a feminist fanatic though.

Miller
07-22-2011, 06:21 PM
Think on that one for a minute. This guy is so full of it, his eyes are brown.

That's so racist!

/joke

joebuck20
07-22-2011, 08:35 PM
"I can't be a sexist! Not only am I married to a woman, I have daughters!"

I guess he can only be sexist if he's married to a man. :)

MOIDALIZE
07-22-2011, 08:38 PM
Everybody just shut the heck up and calm the frick down!

Indygrrl
07-22-2011, 10:16 PM
The dude is a hypocritical asshole, but I don't see this as sexual harassment at all. I do agree that he wouldn't have sent a male colleague an email like that, which makes it sexist, not harassment. The immature and ridiculous behavior from some of these politicians amazes me. It's like they do not care even a little bit how stupid they look.

ñañi
07-23-2011, 01:06 PM
He cared enough to restrain himself to using "shut the heck up" (Underline Added).

Seeing as how he is now using this incident for fundraising purposes (I've even seen online donation ads asking me to help Rep. West "keep fighting.") I doubt he sees this email as a mistake.

I do wonder why he claimed to have apologized and then took it back.

Really Not All That Bright
07-23-2011, 07:31 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.
What if I think he's a moron?

Lobohan
07-23-2011, 07:36 PM
What if I think he's a moron?Well, then you're smarter than the average Republican.

zoid
07-23-2011, 07:39 PM
Anyone who thinks that Allen West is a sexist is a racist.

I'm sorry but I have to ask, you're kidding, right?
I just don't pick up on these things sometimes.

Did we ever establish if this was a whoosh or if Omg a Black Conservative was serious?

Khristy
07-31-2011, 08:10 AM
Don't forget also that Wasserman Schultz is Jewish. Therefore West is also a filthy, lowdown antisemite!!!

:rolleyes: