To the editor:

Every woman knows a woman or is a woman who has experienced a form of male violence. Sadly, it is inherent to being female. November 16 U.S. House members were asked to cast a vote determining whether Rep. Paul Gosar should be stripped of his committee assignments for publishing a violent video depicting Gosar’s stabbing death of Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Johnson voted there should not be any consequences for Gosar. The question is, “Is it permissible to post violent acts against a workplace-peer?” Johnson’s answer is “Yes. No problem.”

South Dakota voters see what Johnson permits Gosar to do, and it is deeply troubling. What happens in Congress creates an echo-chamber. When the unacceptable becomes acceptable at the highest levels, permission is granted nationwide, in action and/or on social media.

Abusers and bullies are shaped through applause or complacency. Johnson did nothing to call out or stop Gosar. It was much easier for Johnson to watch Ocasio-Cortez sound a warning about her experience and jeopardized-safety than for Johnson to challenge Gosar.

Gosar left the hearing and retweeted the video as a symbolic middle-finger gesture to what conspired. This is startling, but not at all surprising, especially to females.

Ultimately, Democrats and two Republicans voted to dismiss Gosar of his committee assignments, which was the minimum punishment. What is deeply disturbing is Johnson, our lone representative, didn't find it within himself to find political or moral courage to do the same, and voters, especially females, should remember this.

Karen Walker


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