A guest piece from Cody Woodruff, ISU student and school board member.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel
Since the story about sexual misconduct allegations against Senator Nate Boulton broke, I’ve been struggling with a torrent of thoughts and emotions. Sadness that this ever took place; anger at Nate; and heartbreak for the women who came forward, his wife Andrea, and the many young people who believed in him.
These actions are inexcusable, but, as difficult as it’s been to reconcile with them, I’m glad they’ve been brought to light. I appreciate that he’s not denying the allegations and has offered an apology, which I believe is sincere. Despite this, I and many others are dissatisfied and left wanting more. There needs to be a recognition that there is inherent societal power in being a man, regardless of the setting. We may not always recognize it, but it’s there. If Nate really wants to use his mistakes to advance the #MeToo discussion, and I think he does, then this must be acknowledged.
To other supporters of Nate who are still grappling with the allegations: I understand what you’re feeling, but I believe these women, and you should too. I poured my heart and soul into his campaign, and to see all of the work we put into a candidate that we deeply believed in disappear is crushing. Do not feel sorry for Nate – feel sorry for the women this happened to, the incredible people surrounding him who this affects, and the young people who’ve been let down by someone they looked up to.
To those young people: do not give up the hope you felt, do not let your passion falter, and do not let future leaders be defined by the actions of one man. You can carry the torch now, you have the ability to set the course forward, and you have the potential to be the brightest beacons of good that our state has ever seen. I believe in you.
I can’t take back the work I’ve already done or the vote I’ve already cast, but I can speak out and take a stand. As an elected official, a young man, and a human, I feel a responsibility to do so. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to form a response, but my spirit has been broken and my core has been shaken, so I ask you forgive my brief silence on the issue.
To Nate: you know how much admiration and respect I’ve had for you. Show the state and our party the person I know you to truly be and step aside, help heal the wounds you’ve inflicted, and face the consequences that await. You may not be able to be governor, but you can still leave a positive impact. There is more than just an election at stake; it’s the fight for the soul of our state.
by Cody Woodruff