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Facebook post gets Missouri senator into hot water

by Shelby Toth - Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 26th 2017 08:00 pm

Missouri senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has been censured by the Missouri Senate after her Facebook post went viral. Chappelle-Nadal wrote “I hope Trump is assassinated!”, after being frustrated by President Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the summer. 

This received immediate backlash from many people, calling for her resignation. While she did not  step down, she deleted the post immediately and apologized to President Trump, something she was not initially planning on doing, according to New York Post.

 Despite this, Missouri lawmakers voted 28-2 to censure Chappelle-Nadal.

As explained by New York Post, a censure is an act “carried out in the attempt to get someone to resign or admit guilt. It includes publicly reprimanding an official’s conduct and expressing disappointment in the individual.” While this might not seem like much, Chappelle-Nadal lost all of her committee assignments as well. This was the first censure to take place in the state. 

Around the same time this was happening, another Missouri lawmaker was getting in trouble for a Facebook post. Rep. Warren Love, unhappy with the defacing of Confederate memorials, wrote that those individuals who committed the act should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.” 

While this post also caused a mass outcry, lawmakers elected to open an ethics review board of Love. According to The Washington Post, an ethics review board is not much more than a slap on the wrist, and a much lesser punishment than that received by Chappelle-Nadal. Love was even allowed to keep his committee assignments.

There is an obvious difference in punishments doled out here. It is also worth mentioning that Chappelle-Nadal is a black woman, whereas Love is a white man. Many have criticized this obvious case of bias, but Missouri lawmakers stand with their rulings. 

When asked whether they should have received the same punishment, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said, “That’s the silliest thing I ever heard of … it’s about a comment … against the president of the United States. I mean, God forbid if I’d have done that, I’m sure I would’ve been under the same pressures to resign.”

I do agree that both parties should have been punished for their actions. Calling for the death of individuals on a social media platform is not something someone in a government position should do. However, they should have both been submitted to an ethics review board or censured. The president’s life, and any threat placed against it, does not necessarily matter more than any citizen of the United States in this case, but lawmakers seem to not agree.

Another disturbing thing to point out is the obvious similarities you can draw between Love’s words and the historic systematicof black people. Love defended his word choice by calling it a “Western term”, but even if it was, those words were probably developed to describe lynching. Since he originally posted the comments due to anger over the vandalization of Confederate memorials, it is safe to assume his words were racially loaded. 

This type of bias should not be something we struggle with in America today. Republicans in Missouri had even repeatedly said that the punishments for Chappelle-Nadal and Love should reflect each other, but that did not happen. How could anyone look at these two cases and decide that Chappelle-Nadal was the one who needed more punishment?

When the next election rolls around in Missouri, it is safe to assume Chappelle-Nadal will more than likely be voted out of office, if they don’t return to the issue and remove her before then. Despite this, she promised that she will continue to work hard for the remainder of the time she is in office. 

“The voters of my district elected me to represent them. I will work tirelessly for the remainder of my elected term to bring about positive change for my constituents and all Missourians.”

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