Commissioners’ president just needs to be quiet
In the Sept. 26 edition of The Calvert Recorder, an article by Tamara Ward titled “Slaughenhoupt defends controversial tweet” appeared on the front page. That article described the controversy that arose after the current president of the Board of County Commissioners, Evan Slaughenhoupt (R), posted a tweet that appeared to jokingly equate the childhood birthday “paddling machine” to the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that were the subject of the hearing last Thursday. In this article, Slaughenhoupt is quoted as follows: “Don’t use today’s standards on something that happened 35 years ago,” and “People need to be careful when you apply today’s judgment to something that occurred years ago.”
When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s explanation for his tweet displays either a shocking ignorance of the laws relating to sexual assault in Maryland, or a disregard for those laws. Let’s be clear. Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s explanation to the Recorder is not to question whether these allegations are true. Some have questioned the veracity of some of the allegations, and as of last Friday, the FBI has been asked to look into these issues. But that wasn’t Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s point. No, Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s explanation appears to be to state that “today’s standards” are significantly different than the standards 35 years ago when it comes to the actions alleged.
Mr. Slaughenhoupt is wrong. Shoving a 15-year-old into a room, holding her down on a bed with the weight of the attacker’s body, muffling her screams and groping her was illegal in 1982, and it is illegal now. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, a childhood game. It is ignorant to suggest that the behavior alleged is only condemned now in 2018, and was acceptable in 1982. Sexual assault was illegal in 1982, and is now. Individuals were prosecuted for sexual assault then, and they are now.
Sitting county commissioners, especially those running for re-election, should condemn Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s absurd explanation for his disgusting tweet. If the board’s rules permit, they should censure Mr. Slaughenhoupt for not only his tweet, but also his indefensible explanation.
Pamela Werner, Huntingtow