Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Edited to correct the name to Senator Allen’s in the title because I apparently can’t keep right wing legislators straight these days.
Turns out Sen. Sylvia Allen is a champion of unions. Who knew?
The “constitutional conservative” best known for her efforts to create state militias and close public meetings is hoping this year to boost protections for detention officers who find themselves in hot water.
Like, say, her son-in-law.
Last year, then-Navajo County Supervisor Allen tried to interfere with an internal investigation into her son-in-law’s conduct with female inmates in the Navajo County jail.
This year, Allen has moved on to the state Senate where she sponsored a bill aimed at ensuring that others don’t have to endure what she sees as a witch hunt against her son-in-law.
Son-in-law Timothy Hunt lost his corrections officer job and faces possible criminal charges over some gross things he did to captive women in the county jail. I do find the police union (a major one supports Allen’s amendment) angle interesting, as well as Roberts’ questions about Arizona Police Association’s legal support for Hunt and Allen’s attempt to draft Richard Mack to run for Navajo County Sheriff.
But I want to address the really egregious thing about this, namely the utter hypocrisy of Allen enthusiastically supporting legislation to punish people for their private consensual behavior (anti-choice, anti-LGBT laws) for years and then working feverishly to protect her son-in-law from consequences for his alleged (predatory) indiscretions. It goes to show something that writers like Matt Bruenig have been pointing out about moral scolds and their lack of empathy for people they don’t know.
I say this is a sight to behold because there has been a quiet story percolating that David Brooks is in the process of divorcing right now…
…According to Brooks’ own lesson, he and his ex-wife should be judged extremely harshly for this. And it’s not just him who said we should do this sort of thing. Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat shared similar recommendations in their book Grand New Party about the importance of cruelly shunning people who deviate from traditional family forms.
Yet, despite all of this, not a single shunning word about Brooks has yet to be uttered from anyone in this camp. In fact, when I fired shots at Brooks on Twitter last year for his divorce, shunning advocate Salam said it lacked civility and grace.
This sort of behavior presents an obvious question: why aren’t conservatives practicing what they preach regarding David Brooks? As a public figure, he would seem to be an especially important person to bully and demoralize as part of the norm-setting process. If people close to him just savaged him, that would get the point across that this isn’t something you can do without suffering serious social repercussions.
The reason they don’t shame him, I submit, is because they know David Brooks, they care about David Brooks, they think it would be rude and offensive to kick a hurt and down David Brooks. Moreover, they don’t know and can’t know what happened inside the marriage to cause its dissolution, and therefore probably aren’t in the right place to make sweeping pronouncements about its legitimacy. In short, they have humane concerns about their friend whom they respect as a fully formed human being. They aren’t willing to hang him in the public square to dissuade off others because that would be cruel and they feel that.
Allen obviously has the same humane concerns, possibly more about her daughter than her daughter’s icky husband (since this is about something much worse than a divorce), but she’s still deviating, with the herculean efforts she has made to shield Timothy Hunt, from the harsh, puritanical life script she wants to impose upon people she doesn’t know. Equally important to note is that Allen was really eager to find anything that would smear the women who alleged impropriety by Hunt, according to the investigators she was trying to interfere with.
Oftentimes people think dishonesty is the problem with hypocrisy but the real problem is lack of empathy. Moral scold hypocrites like David Brooks and Sylvia Allen arbitrarily project their “morality” onto others, whom they don’t see as human, while reserving kindness and understanding for themselves, and very often trying to codify that disparity into law. And that’s just immoral as hell.