A lot of concern is being expressed these days over the Norm McAllister case. The disgraced Senator frets over the fairness of any legislative proceeding against him. A fellow Senator says he should be allowed to stay in office until the criminal proceedings are completed, no matter how long it takes. The head of his caucus frets about McAllister’s presence derailing the legislative session. The Senate President Pro Tem frets about establishing a precedent for dealing with the unprecedented: a sitting Senator accused of multiple sex crimes. The Senate Secretary tries to devise a process that’s true to the Legislature’s rules — and tosses a grenade in the direction of Vermont’s media corps:
You can’t do it just on what you guys are printing in the newspaper.
Yeah, how dare we print stuff in the newspaper.
Anyway. Notice anything missing?
Well, I’ll tell you. Nobody, except little ol’ me and some of my regular commenters, is talking about the voters of Franklin County, who have to suffer McAllister’s continued presence as their duly elected representative, or the people of Vermont, who have to suffer an accused sex criminal’s presence in the Legislature.
Maybe I’m wrong, but aren’t lawmakers elected to serve the people? Shouldn’t Our Elected Servants be, at the very least, paying a little lip service to the people they serve? Shouldn’t the Legislature’s internal processes be designed to further the people’s interests?
Guess not. Because Fairness To Good Ol’ Norm, and Protecting The Institution, come first.
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter if Norm McAllister is convicted or exonerated in a criminal trial. Because based solely on what we already know, his presence in the Senate is a disgrace to the state and an insult to the good people of Franklin County.
As the frequent commenter known here as “newzjunqie” noted, McAllister has acknowledged having sexual relationships with multiple women who were financially dependent on him. He had a relationship with a teenager who he says is a troubled young woman, and even brought her to Montpelier to be his “assistant” and overnight companion.
In conversations recorded by police, he acknowledged trading free rent for sex with a tenant, and admitted that repeated sexual acts were not consensual. He apologized to one woman for a sex act that caused her physical and emotional pain.
Senator Peg Flory holds out hope that her buddy, Good Ol’ Norm, will be exonerated of all charges — that he might be the victim of vengeful women.
Sorry, Senator, that horse is already out of the barn. We already know that Norm McAllister is a sleazebag, a bully, and a rapist. The only thing left to be determined is the magnitude of his crimes.
The Senate doesn’t have to hold an open hearing on McAllister’s guilt or innocence. They can, and should, expel him based on information that’s publicly available today.
They should do so as quickly as possible. And in the meantime, they might want to at least pretend to consider We, The People when they’re wringing their hands over how to handle this distressing matter.
Times like these, make me think we’d be better off cleaning out the entire Senate and replacing them with 30 Vermonters selected in a random draw.