[guest post by Dana]
If you feel an urge to mock someone because they don’t look like you, dress differently from you, and/or are of a different race or culture, maybe take a beat and say nothing. You are not obligated to open your trap and confirm to everyone around you that you are an ignorant fool. Most of us aren’t compelled to mock like that, and yet a number of politicians still don’t seem to understand the concept. It’s like they’re physically unable to keep their yaps shut, even while knowing that the word vomit forming in their pea brains and threatening to spill out of their childish mouths MIGHT BE OFFENSIVE to their intended targets. It’s hard to give these goobers the benefit of the doubt because I think they’re intentionally trying to be cute and get a chuckle out of their supporters at the expense of another individual. Shame on them.
Rep. Ponka-We Victors, a Wichita Democrat, made history Wednesday afternoon as the first Native American woman to serve as chair of the Kansas House of Representatives.
But the moment was tarnished when Rep. John Wheeler, a Garden City Republican, made an insensitive remark during a floor speech.
Wheeler told Victors he was “checking to see if that was a tomahawk” after she struck her gavel to quiet the body. He immediately apologized after the comment was met with a mix of laughter and vocal disapproval.
“I am getting a point that that is apparently considered offensive, if it is I certainly do apologize,” Wheeler said.
Just stop. You’re a grown man and an elected official. This really rubbed me wrong because the young Indian woman was singled out for mockery in front of her peers in a professional setting. And rather than being courteous and taking the opportunity to welcome Victors and offer his congratulations for being the first Native American woman to serve as the Kansas House chair, Wheeler fouled the event by displaying his bigoted underpants. And his “apology” was the weak sauce of playing dumb. He knew better. Own it, dude. Just own it.
NOTE: So, I just read this and to some degree, Wheeler has owned it:
[Wheeler] also said he has apologized to Reps. Christina Haswood, D-Lawrence, and Stephanie Byers, D-Wichita, and would call Victors-Cozad when he returned home.
“The world has changed a lot for this 74-year-old man,” Wheeler said. “I try to keep up, but today I had a slip.”
Here’s the bottom line: no matter his age and whether or not he is a true bigot, had he just used self-control and good manners, Victors would not have been humiliated.