I’ve been watching a facebook squabble over the past couple of days, as State Senator Stace Nelson has been attacking Dr. Tamera Enalls for taking issue with the false postcards sent out by the National Association of Gun Rights in her race, as well as attacking a commenter over at Dakota Posts:
That’s just been over the past few days.
When I went to see if there was anything more to it, I caught this post this AM, with Nelson attacking people yet again on social media, including Senator Mike Rounds and Jason Glodt, whom Nelson has obtained legislative housing from on and off during his legislative tenure.
Nelson attacking Rounds after the trouncing Rounds gave him at the ballot box in the US Senate Race where Nelson came in a distant third to Rounds has gone on for the past 4 years, and comes after a campaign where he declared “Hell No” when asked if he’d support the Republican Nominee, and has demonstrated bad sportsmanship ever since.
The environment Nelson has created with his constant attacks on Republicans he disagrees with is now bringing forth commentary such as you see above:
This person is literally wishing for Rounds’ untimely demise. I think that’s literally one of the most inhuman things I’ve ever seen that passes as commentary in a South Dakota political discussion. But, that kind of thing is not an unforeseen result of the negative on-line environment that Senator Nelson has fostered through constant on-line attacks and name-calling.
Towards the tail-end of the 2018 Legislative session, the Joint Committee on Legislative Procedure met and passed a rule that one might consider in Nelson’s constant attacks with those he disagrees with:
1B-3. Professional conduct and civility. The South Dakota Legislature will strengthen and sustain an atmosphere of professional conduct and civility among its members and with all staff and will not tolerate harassment or offensive behavior based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, or disability. Harassing or offensive behavior may include the use of electronic communications through social media or otherwise, whether actual or attempted. Legislators must refrain from any and all such harassment or offensive conduct. This prohibition against harassment also encompasses sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexually harassing nature, when: (1) submission to the harassment is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or other employment determinations, or (2) the harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
The question is really at what point are legislative leaders going to decide the line has been crossed for decorum and conduct by a sitting legislator. It’s really up to them to determine whether the level of abuse a legislator is heaping on the public via social media crosses a line.
But you can’t help but wonder if that line hasn’t already been crossed.