Three anti-child politicians who should have lost on Tuesday
A progressive Kansas man. A controversial Georgia woman. A conservative Missouri politician.
All three won elective office this past Election Day. And all three have troubling records with or on sexual abuse.
A newcomer to politics, Aaron Coleman just won a spot in the Kansas House of Representatives. The trouble is, he admitted sexually harassing girls and engaging in revenge porn.
An incumbent, Rick Roeber, just won re-election to the Missouri House of Representatives. The trouble is that his now-adult children have accused him of molesting them when they were kids.
Another political novice, Marjorie Taylor Greene just won a congressional seat in Georgia. The trouble is that she believes in QAnon’s claim of “a global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles” headquartered in Washington DC. And that hurts dedicated child advocates by detracting and distracting from the real issues.
(One news account: “Sensational depictions of random kidnappings, coupled with inflated and unreliable data, undercuts the efforts already underway and distorts public perceptions of the reality of trafficking, experts said.”)
The New York Times notes that QAnon is “an online movement that has inspired real-world violence and been branded a potential domestic terrorism threat by the F.B.I.”
For other QAnon candidates, see
Tragically, with two of these politicians, the controversies don’t solely revolve around kids.
—Coleman was charged at the age of 14 with threatening to shoot a high school student. This week, party officials said they would try to oust him after what they saw as a threat he made against the top Democrat in Kansas. (He predicted that Gov. Laura Kelly would face “an extremely bloody” primary, adding “I’m not playing around. People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it’s real.”.)
—Greene tweeted that ‘children should not wear masks,’ rejecting the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health professionals,” according to the Associated Press. “She also posted on Facebook an image of herself holding a gun alongside images of elected Democratic officials encouraging people to ‘go on the offense against these socialists.
Thankfully, Facebook removed the photo by the following day, saying it violated the social network’s policies.
Greene has also come under fire for making derogatory remarks about at least three minority groups.
“So what? There are tens of thousands of elected officials across the country. Big deal if a few of them shouldn’t have won,” you might say.
But consider this: These candidacies attracted a lot of public attention. Think about the message they send to survivors of sexual violence.
Maybe the very saddest messages is this one: “Why should I speak up and report the horrors I suffered? It won’t make any difference anyway.”
And the very saddest effect of victims feeling too helpless to speak up is this one: others end up being sexually violated because predators remain in the shadows.
Here’s where you come in. Want kids to be safer? Then don’t do things that discourage victims from stepping forward. Don’t vote for or buy from or promote or praise ANYONE who’s been credibly accused of sexual violence. It’s that simple.
There are, however, at least three bright spots in all of this.
The Fraternal Order of Police withdrew its endorsement of Roeber when abuse reports against him were made public. Good for them!
And State Representative Keri Ingle took the lead in organizing a bi-partisan public letter urging Roeber to withdraw from the race. Thanks to these Missouri lawmakers who signed it: Senator John Rizzo, State Rep Bill Kidd, State Rep Ingrid Burnett, State Rep Crystal Quade, State Rep Greg Razor, State Rep Sheila Solon, State Rep Barbara Washington, State Rep Jerome Barnes, State Rep Jack Bondon, State Rep Ashley Bland Manlove, State Rep Mark Sharp, State Rep Shamed Dogan, State Rep Rory Rowland, State Rep Robert Sauls, State Rep Joe Runions and State Rep Yolanda Young.
(That declaration included this powerful passage: “We believe in forgiveness and the ability of individuals to change, but the honor of serving in the People’s House is a privilege that certain acts preclude.”)
Finally, there are the victims of these two men. They did the right thing. They may feel dismayed at the election results. But they’ll know, for the rest of their lives, that they did what they could to expose wrongdoers and protect kids.