March Madness

March is the time for brackets (shoutout Creighton for winning, but more importantly GBR), for flowers to bloom, and apparently, it’s also the time for Republicans to say the most misogynistic and vile shit you’ve ever heard.

On Monday, during a legislative hearing about LB441, which would ban books deemed “obscene” and “explicit” from public schools, Senator Steve Halloran of Hastings inserted the name of a fellow State Senator into an excerpt of a book’s rape scene.

During Halloran’s reading of the scene, he interjected Senator Cavanaugh’s name where the author listed their own, uttering disgusting phrases such as, “Give me a blowjob, Senator Cavanaugh”.

There are truly no words to describe how heinous it is to read a sentence of that nature, injecting a colleague’s name into it, on the public record of the Nebraska Legislature. If any individual said that about a coworker, HR would be contacted within the hour and the person would be fired. Hell, if we’re being serious, the police would even be looped in if the victim decided to press charges on grounds of sexual harassment.

Let’s be clear: Sexual harassment has no place in Nebraska. It has no place in the halls of our Legislature. And Senator Steve Halloran should resign for his comments.

To offer your comments, Senator Halloran’s office can be contacted at the following:

Phone Number: (402) 471-2712


Sign the official petition to call for Sen. Halloran’s here


There’s a cruel and disgusting irony to this whole situation. In his attempt to show how “obscene” books in public schools are, the most obscene and vile comments came not from the book, but from Senator Halloran himself.

The book that Senator Halloran read details the author’s experience of having been sexually assaulted in college. Reading this book isn’t supposed to make you feel all warm and cozy inside, it’s not supposed to be sunshine and rainbows, but it is the reality of life for the author.

Uncomfortable truths are not any less of truths than comfortable ones. Whether it be books with uncomfortable and explicit content or books that detail the dark moments of American history, these books represent important things to learn about.

Just because something makes you uncomfortable does not make it obscene, nor does it mean the content should be banned.

We learn in our discomfort. Through reading the personal experiences of sexual assault survivors, we learn how gross it is and how we must stop at nothing to prevent it from happening in the future. Through reading personal accounts about the darkest moments of American history, we learn from the mistakes of those before us as we strive to create a more perfect union.

By banning books, we are running from these truths. We are refusing to learn from the lived experiences of sexual assault survivors or those who have been discriminated against. We cannot allow ourselves to turn on the blinders when the truth is uncomfortable, as that only enables the same problems to occur in the future.

Unequivocally, Senator Halloran must resign. We must also use this moment to fight against the very obscenity that he wielded in a personal attack. Genuine and vile obscenity must be called out, and when we are confronted with it, those who perpetrate it must be held accountable.

However, this faux outrage over uncomfortable truths is not real obscenity. Obscenity is sexually harassing your colleagues in a public forum. Obscenity is interjecting a colleague’s name into a personal account of rape. Obscenity is NOT an author’s detailing of their own experience.

We cannot allow Republicans to redefine what is obscene. We must fight tooth and nail, both to hold Senator Halloran accountable, but also to ensure that Republicans like him cannot redefine what is obscene for generations to come.

“It’s Gonna Be a Bloodbath”

In a speech in Ohio last week, Donald Trump said, “Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s gonna be a bloodbath for the whole… It’s gonna be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it.”

That feels awfully threatening, Mr. Trump!

I mean, what’s in the water with these Republicans? If Trump loses, we’ll get a bloodbath. When Nebraska Republicans want to ban books, they sexually harass colleagues. What could possibly be next?

In the words of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are; believe them the first time.” The Republican Party is filled with folks who uphold values that enable sexual assault and political violence, it’s as simple as that.

There used to be a level of morality in politics. We would debate what to do with tax money, or how much farmers should be subsidized, but personal scandals were few and far between. Plain and simple, we need to stop electing bad people to public office. We’re better than this.

Our state is better than sexually harassing its women and our country is better than threatening political violence. We need to focus on electing leaders with a strong moral fabric because if we don’t, the fibers of our nation will only continue to tear at the seams.

In Closing

Thank you for reading this week,

Sexual assault are sexual harassment are not easy topics for many folks to read. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual harassment, please reach out to one of the professional resources below.

Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE


– Jack Schiewe

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