Along with a seat in the state legislature comes a powerful, albeit local, platform of visibility that is far too easily abused. Nebraska State Senator Bill Kintner recently came under fire for retweeting a tweet by conservative radio host Larry Elder.
The tweet contained a picture of three women holding signs that referenced President Donald Trump’s inflammatory “grab them by the pussy” statement and Elder’s own commentary, “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”
Words like this highlight the deep-seeded misunderstanding many people have of rape and rape culture: they think it’s about love, lust or attraction. In reality,rape is about power and control. Kintner has since resigned after claiming the message “was being misconstrued.”
In reality, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. It’s not a joke, and any outrage aimed at Kintner is well warranted. The job of a state senator is to represent the residents of their state, including sexual assault victims
Additionally, this isn’t the only incident Kintner has had while in office. He made national news more than once for his discriminatory words and childish actions. He threw a pen at another senator when a vote didn’t go the way he wanted. An abundance of his public statements are inflammatory, including calling his colleagues “monkeys” and “prostitutes,” despite being well known for accepting free meals from lobbyists.
Kintner’s resignation was not just appropriate, it was long overdue. In the summer of 2016, his incident of using a State of Nebraska issued laptop to engage in cybersex with a foreign sex worker came to light. The woman convinced him to disrobe for the webcam and used those images to extort him.
Kintner was charged a fine of $1,000 for misuse of government property, and though there was talk then of expelling him from the legislature, nothing of the sort came to fruition.
Kintner’s repeated use of slurs and derogatory comments has become both a state and national embarrassment. His resignation should have come much sooner than it did, and it is relieving to know that such a person is no longer making laws for Nebraskans. Instead of a medium for public outreach, his Twitter became a way to share horrifying opinions and it makes perfect sense that eventually Twitter would be the medium used to remove him from his platform.
No longer will Nebraskans be forced to accept that “God and my wife” forgave him, so they should too.