Com­mis­sion­ers’ pres­i­dent just needs to be quiet

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

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

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