After writing the letter to the Messenger, I learned that the two legislators who shared an apartment with Mr. McAllister belonged to opposing parties…one Democrat and one Republican. I apologise for having given the impression that both were Republicans and have sent a revised letter to the Messenger.
That being said, I don’t think we should focus so much on the partisan nature of who should have known and who didn’t. The point is that, over the years since the reported behaviors began, there must have been evidence of inappropriate relationships and questionable behaviors for any number of people to remark upon. It says something troubling about the culture of privilege when McAllister’s status as a powerful figure in farming and as a state rep shielded him from greater scrutiny for so long.
This is cross-posted from Messenger letters, where my GMD colleague, Mike McCarthy, has been taking an inexplicable beating for his comments on the implications of Mr. McAllister’s fall from grace.
Since Mike McCarthy’s letter concerning Norm McAllister’s inevitable replacement appeared in the Messenger he has been the target of a stream of angry letters.
This makes absolutely no sense to me. Where is his crime?
Mike McCarthy is not just the current chair of Franklin County Democrats, he is a young father whose anger is understandable when the victim is little more than a child herself.
I am not a Democrat; I am a Progressive. I agree with Mike that Randy Brock should not be the only choice the Governor has from the GOP. I would like to see Carolyn Branagan proposed for the seat.
She is a hard-working Republican legislator with plenty of practical experience and excellent people skills. Recently, she has played an important role in carrying forward the agenda to clean up Vermont’s troubled waterways.
She is also a woman; and considering the nature of Mr. McAllister’s alleged offenses, all of the women of Franklin County deserve more than just a token apology.
Under the circumstances, Rep. Branagan’s appointment would go a long way toward healing the Franklin County GOP and restoring confidence in our delegation.
This is important not just for the people who voted for Mr. McAllister but to all of his constituents, from all three parties.
Returning to Mike McCarthy’s original letter. I did not interpret it, as some were quick to do, as a condemnation of all Republican legislators. I believe he was referring to the fact that two of Mr. McAllister’s
colleagues who shared an apartment with him in Montpelier were aware of the fact that a very young girl…a child to most of us… was sleeping in his bedroom.
If those two gentlemen didn’t question that arrangement, they are either incredibly stupid or guilty of enabling the behavior at the very least. We don’t need to know whether or not Mr. McAllister can be charged under the language of any particular criminal code to know that this simply was wrong. He was a much, much older man in a position of power over her. That, of and by itself, is enough to brand the relationship as non-consensual.
End of story.
One can only hope that the constituents of those other two lawmakers (and their own party) have the good sense to recognize that they have demonstrated a remarkable lack of judgement and sensitivity that essentially disqualifies them from reelection.
There is a culture of enabling which allowed Mr. McAllister to become what he has. I don’t believe that he woke up at 60 years of age and suddenly became a sexual predator; and the suggestion by some that this behavior emerged from grief over his wife’s passing is at once unbelievable and utterly repulsive.
Let’s grow up and recognize that Mr. McAllister’s story should carry the lesson for all of us that there is exploitation of vulnerable people going on all around us, and apparently we need to do a much better job of knowing whom we entrust with representing us.