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Michels: No Culture of Misogyny in Pierre, Just Like No Culture of Drinking at Universities

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels continues to staunchly resist allegations from multiple sources that sexual harassment is a big problem in our Legislature. The President of the Senate’s latest resistance stretches the accusations of a “culture” of misogyny into false universal claims:

…it is not fair when people say there’s a culture or things like that, then there must be various cultures at universities where everybody drinks. That’s not true [Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, interview, “Lt. Governor Says Sexual Harassment Incidents Need to Be Reported,” Hub City Radio, 2017.11.08].

Actually, Lt. Gov. Michels, we can refer to a culture of problem drinking on various college campuses, in which fraternity parties, tailgating, and other social events feature excessive drinking, without stating that every person on a university campus drinks, just as we can refer to a culture of misogyny in the Legislature, in which many women experience inappropriate sexual comments and advances paired with intimidation by powerful men, without positing that every man in Pierre treats every woman poorly.

No one is accusing every legislator and lobbyist of ogling, groping, or otherwise harassing women. It’s unfair and untruthful to try shifting the argument to that extreme, universal, and obviously untrue accusation. The allegations are about specific instances of sexual harassment and assault that are facilitated by power, booze, isolation, and other cultural factors that are real and should be addressed.


  1. mike from iowa 2017-11-09

    Gawd no, not another wingnut without a clew. But it is, but it is!

  2. MrsE 2017-11-09

    Well said.

  3. Dana P 2017-11-09

    Denial ain’t just a river, Mr Michels. It is postures and denial claims like this that gives tacit approval to this type of behavior continuing/not being addressed. I don’t think he wants to be on the “I was just shocked” if more allegations begin to come out (and they will)

    How does that old saying go? If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  4. Roger Elgersma 2017-11-09

    Dana P is right, when they did not fix the problem they became part of the problem. They would not pass a law against sex with interns until embarrassed into doing it. Most states have laws against having sex with a subordinate because the subordinate could not be able to risk getting fired or not promoted and would therefor be coerced without feeling comfortable resisting. Spinning the wording is bad both in coverups and exagerating a problem. Leadership does not mean, coverup.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-09

    Matt Michels does not strike me as a wingnut. He is not Neal Tapio. We don’t have to tie his mistaken understanding of the term “culture” to partisan politics. He does sound like a defensive beneficiary of the patriarchy grasping at bad arguments to protect his power.

  6. jerry 2017-11-09

    Maybe wingnut is too strong, so let me rephrase, a misguided cultural idiot, that was smart enough, in the culture of wingnuts, to get a damn good salary for nothing, there, fixed it.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2017-11-10

    A wingnut has a very extreme opinion or philosophy. Blaming us for thinking everyone is a drunk at university or all politicians are promiscuous, just because some are, is deceitful and just changing the subject by diverting attention from the problem to blaming the ethical accuser. That is called, corruptly covering up the problem rather than fixing the problem. That is the type that can destroy democracy.

  8. jerry 2017-11-10

    Okay, so how would you fix “the misguided cultural idiot” Mr. Elgersma? In your opinion, what would be the solution to misogyny by the party of fanatics? How would you characterize the thought patterns of this party of fanatics that now say that The Virgin Mary was not really a virgin and that older Joseph was exactly like Roy Moore in Alabubba and fooled around with Mary, the teenager? BTW, now that we are hearing the republican party rallying behind Moore, can we dare say Merry Christmas with the Book now being rewritten to fit republican mantra? How will it all work now? This seems to me to be a republican war on Christmas.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2017-11-10

    Here’s a first, as far as I know, the comedian Louis CK, whoever he is, admitted that the sexual allegations against him are true.
    When sexual abuse allegations were made against Weinstein, Spacey and others, the public assumed guilt and their careers are now in a downward spiral.
    When sexual allegations are made against Roy Moore and other family value republican offenders the operative word is “if”.
    Trump and many in the senate have said, “IF these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step-down from the Alabama senate race”.
    It is odd how this works, those in entertainment are assumed guilty and republicans squirm with word games.

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