The title of today's post is part of the state motto, "Manly Deeds, Womanly Words". Hey, I didn't compose it. But it's an absurd anachronism in a supposedly progressive state and it ought to be changed.
And while we're on the subject of anachronisms, I bring you this blog post from the great Josh Kurtz at Center Maryland. It's an extremely important blog post and I strongly urge all of you to read it.
The problem the post addresses is the fact that many of Maryland's men-- it's leading men, mind you, members of the General Assembly-- acting like pigs. Now, a disclaimer here. I have no knowledge of, nor would I imagine that, any member of the Howard County delegation, current or frankly, in the past 20 years, would have had any inappropriate behavior of this sort. But that sure as hell doesn't make it right.
And sadly, sexual harassment in the General Assembly is a Maryland tradition. In high school, girls who went to the legislature to be honored for earning scholarships, for 4-H achievements, and other things would bring back stories of "dirty old men" trying to look down their blouses or flirting with them. As an undergraduate, part of the reason why my school had no relationship with the General Assembly's Legislative Page program was because of how male legislators treated women. The Political Science professor who was the last JHU liasion to the program at that time told me I'd have "no problem there", but that he wasn't going to have a men-only page program. And as a founding Director of the Maryland Student Legislature, a college-level Maryland General Assembly simulation, I'd heard many stories of young women feeling very uncomfortable in the presence of state legislators. The words? Creepy. Disgusting. Gross. And many words I'll choose not to write this evening.
So for context, this encompasses the 80s through the present day. But any day is a good one to choose to make this end.
Tom Coale wrote a great post about this on Wednesday. He also called the Kurtz post "very important"-- hmm! I promise I didn't copy! I'm taking this a step further. By also writing about this post, I'm helping Josh and Tom shine a light on this silent shame we have in Annapolis. And I want all of you bloggers out there to do the same. Wherever you are in the state, or even out of state.... do the same. Please.
And if you don't write a blog, send an email to your state legislators. Tell them you've read the Kurtz piece and other blog posts about it and tell them that you don't stand for such behavior in Annapolis and that you want your legislators to create an environment where it's safe for the accused to come forward.
And maybe even better yet, one of the 188 men and women who represent all of us in Annapolis will stand up and do something active about it. Not just give a floor speech, but sponsor some legislation. Establish administrative grounds for censure and removal of any member who is demonstrated to be a sexual harasser. Do something, someone. Please.
This is nonsense and it has to stop now. Time for the General Assembly to join the 1990s in recognizing that sexual harassment is a problem that has to be dealt with, certainly and severely.
Let's be careful out there.
#centermaryland #MDGA #mdpolitics