A disturbing event occurred last week in Colorado politics. The Denver Post reported that 20 years ago, Jovan Melton, a Democrat from Aurora, was arrested and convicted of a domestic violence charge, and that 10 years ago he was arrested again for a domestic violence charge (later dropped). The calls for resignation were immediate.
I find the treatment of Melton deeply troubling.
Melton was arrested, charged and pled guilty. In my book that’s miles better than the people who perpetuated and then covered up their bad behavior for years, never facing any legal consequences. I checked the law books and felons are not barred from holding public office. So why should a past offense automatically require resignation?
Call me crazy, but I think that instead of calling for his head, political leaders should put Melton forth as a role model. Here’s a person who clearly had some issues in the past, faced the consequences and then proceeded to lead a productive life serving the public. What a positive example to so many others who may have messed up and feel unable to turn the corner. People can change. Isn’t that, in fact, one of the goals of the justice system?
If his constituents decide Melton’s past behavior disqualifies him, they will vote accordingly; but to try to force a resignation is double jeopardy.
I have been a big supporter of #MeToo. It has been a powerful movement eliciting a much-needed sea change. But to me, #MeToo is about exposing cover ups and trying to fix a culture that allowed them to flourish.
Targeting someone who has actually gone through due process — unlike all the many others who have avoided the law — should not be the point of #MeToo.
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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