Following up on Sean Haugh’s article, Sexual Harassment at National? (discussed at IPR: Libertarian Party employee Sean Haugh: ‘Open season on women’ as long as Bill Redpath is LP national chair; Libertarian Party Transparency Caucus debate), Liberty For All has been publishing a number of followup articles.
In Sexual harassment at National: What to do about it, Haugh writes:
… the one question I really wanted asked has not been addressed at all. How can women safely and fairly exercise leadership at the national level of our party?
My reaction was so severe because the juxtaposition of events brought into focus a problem within our party of which we do not speak. If the clumsy hearing of the Resolution of Discipline against Angela Keaton had happened in isolation, I would still be upset but not moved enough to write so publicly about it. If M Carling had been named our party’s Parliamentarian with no other context, I might not have been upset at all. The fact that they both happened at the same meeting is the cause of my outrage.
Carling has a simple path out of this. All he has to do is openly admit what he did. If he does so, I would support public forgiveness of him.
Redpath’s way out is even simpler. All he has to do is rescind his appointment of Carling as Parliamentarian of the Libertarian Party.
The LNC’s way to resolve the immediate issue is also easy. They must not allow Carling a seat at their table until truth and reconciliation have taken place.
In another article co-written with LNC member Lee Wrights, Haugh goes on to say
Our silence has even damaged Carling more than if we had done the right thing and spoken out at the time. Three and a half years is time enough for someone in his position to atone for what he did and return to the good graces of the membership. Instead of serving that time, and restoring his good name through reformed behavior, something he did years ago has come back to haunt him.
And now that two of the co-conspirators have broken their silence, the damage is greater than it would have been if the truth had been revealed at the time. Some involved have risen to more prominent roles within the party and stand to lose more than they could have if we had done the right thing at the proper time. Once again, we find our “sin of silence” haunting us.
By not speaking up when these events occurred, we have lost three and a half years to address the underlying problems. If we had brought these problems to light then, maybe we would have a much healthier party today. We realize now if we had done the right thing almost four years ago, we could have avoided the shame of our sin.
The most recent installment in the series, LNC region 7 rep Rachel Hawkridge writes, Women make good leaders too!:
My first contact with the LNC occurred at the costume party in Denver, where one member of the LNC walked past me, fixated on my cleavage, leered and said “Va-va-voom!” When I attempted to engage my esteemed colleague in conversation, he was so enamored with said cleavage that he couldn’t focus on my face, and directed a few mono-syllabic words at my chest.
In dealing with State Chairs for region formation, I spoke to several (I need to point out here that none of them are my current State Chairs!) who appeared to have an attitude of superiority, and adopted a “just a woman” attitude. Several women at Denver gave me input about various State Chairs and other officers. “He hits on all of us”, “he makes me uncomfortable”, “he leers”, “he drools.” And even more troubling “Women don’t go to LP events in (our state or city) because they get hit on, or nobody listens . . . ”
On at least two occasions, our Presidential candidate leered at me, and then when he realized I was a party member, he proceeded to ignore me.
An internationally known female author, and blogger for Newsweek, came to our convention in Denver and was treated rather disdainfully. One of those who didn’t pay much mind to her questions was an LNC member.
Later, the same blogger came to a Presidential fundraiser. The candidate treated her like she was not worthy of his time or attention.
That blogger is a Jungian scholar, internationally known author and psychotherapist. She’s been published in (IIRC) 32 languages and 35 countries. Who knows whether Bob Barr treated her poorly because she’s just a blog, or because she’s a woman? We might have gotten a really great story out of it. We were lucky that she didn’t publish anything else on him. “After all,” she said, “he’s not interesting, and no one will vote for him anyway!”
I have found it particularly telling that in the last few days, as we have dealt with nothing *but* issues of sexual harassment, one member of this committee [LNC] has made references to pornography, and another has sent me off-color humor. And when informed that I found these to be inappropriate, one argued with me. The other pointed out that Mary Ruwart liked the joke.
Hawkridge recommends confronting the problem with “Absolute Honesty,” applying principles such as “The Worst Truth Beats the Best Lie,” “Don’t Kill the Messenger,” “Use Constructive Confrontation,” and more. She concludes,
My husband, longtime member and party stalwart, Gene says-
I know we all hate “political correctness” – but this isn’t about that. This is about polite, respectful, and gentlemanly behavior. It is about treating your sisters as the equals that they are.
And Rachel replies that it is *not* “political correctness” – it is, at a fundamental level, how we feel about, and as a result, how we treat, women.
And it’s a long way from treating women as intelligent, reasoning and capable adults.
As far as the fallout from the articles:
There was some speculation in IPR reactions to the initial article by Haugh that he had either already been told he would be fired at the San Diego LNC meeting, or would be fired as a result of his article. However, this past weekend, a former LPHQ staffer told me that in fact the chair can not fire HQ staff, other than the executive director, and that only the executive director can fire other HQ staff. He was not sure how these rules apply at present, since Kraus is not Executive Director, only Acting Executive Director. IPR has not yet found out whether Haugh has been reprimanded for violating an LPHQ policy forbidding staff from commenting on party controversies on blogs, or whether the policy has been rescinded.
In further fallout from the publication of the articles, there is some speculation that there could be unspecified repercussions for LNC members involved, especially At Large Rep Lee Wrights, who is the
editor of Liberty For All and co-author with Haugh of one of the articles. Some anonymous sources have claimed that the Keaton charges and resignation were just the first in a series of attacks by the dominant faction on the LNC to “clean house” and remove opposing votes on the committee.
Stay tuned to IPR for further installments of “As the LNC turns” and “Days of our LPHQ employees.”