Two stories in the statewide news right now strike me as similarly hinging on how people should react to things said about women. The first is Katherine Gregg’s follow up report in the Providence Journal on the saga of Democrat Party Vice Chairman Joseph DeLorenzo and his expressions of doubt about progressive Democrat state Representative Teresa Tanzi’s allegations of sexual bribery in the legislature:
Having been roundly criticized by other Democrats, from Gov. Gina Raimondo on down, and urged to apologize by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, the 75-year-old DeLorenzo issued this statement: “I sincerely apologize to everyone for my recent unfortunate remarks.
“As a husband, father of two daughters, and grandfather to two granddaughters, I never meant to minimize the problems of sexual harassment, which is a very serious issue,” he said.
Now juxtapose that with Steph Machado and Shawn Towne’s WPRI mention of a union firefighter’s return to work after an unexpected, paid month-long vacation following an altercation with another firefighter:
According to a police affidavit, [Deputy Chief and union head Paul] Valletta and Lt. Scott Bergantino got into an argument about overtime, and Bergantino made a disparaging remark about Valletta’s mother.
The affidavit states Bergantino told police, “Deputy Chief Valletta approached him and pushed him up against the chalkboard, punched him in the head two times, and then threw him over a recliner and onto the floor.”
From what I’ve seen, however much Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo may want to insist he “belittled” Tanzi, DeLorenzo’s offense was simply expressing doubt about an allegation that another adult — a public figure and politician. Much of the Democrat Party in Rhode Island has called for his defenestration and will continue to shun and attack the 75-year-old supporter of their party.
Bergantino, on the other hand, allegedly made actually belittling and aggressive comments about a different woman — who was not a public figure, as far as I can tell. Sure, Valletta crossed the line into physical violence, but by the party’s standards, it would at least seem understandable that he would do so. Moreover, men have historically been able to move on, even to bond, after such exchanges of words and blows.