A Funny Thing Happened at the Karen Fraser Picnic

Author’s note: I first wrote this in the days following the picnic. I was talked out of posting it at the time. People thought it might be considered negative or that people might think Clark was involved and it’d make him look bad. SO, FULL DISCLOSURE: beyond supporting Clark with my vote and my endorsement, I am in no way affiliated or connected to Clark’s campaign and Clark doesn’t know I’m publishing this post.

This story matters to me. We need to confront toxic masculinity when we see it, and I regret waiting this long to call it out.

There I was. Sipping a cold beer in the shade. Chatting with folks and having a good time. It was really a great evening  – with a mix of folks, young and old and across the spectrum… I don’t know how many total… 200?

And then my evening was derailed… for a moment at least.

Max Brown, a candidate for Olympia City Council was walking by…

… so I said hello and reached out a hand. He took it and seemed jovial. But then he stepped into my personal space, put his face exactly one inch from mine, and while hovering over me, said, angrily and directly into my ear,

MB: “Since when the fuck am I the conservative candidate in the race?”

RRT: “Who are you running against?”

MB: “Clark”

RR: “Well, there you go.”

MB: “Just because I’m not the most progressive doesn’t make me the conservative.”

RR: “Ok.”

And that was it.

You may not think much of it. He got worked up… campaigns are stressful. He hasn’t gotten a lot of organizational endorsements, the Thurston County Democrats, and many other progressive and environmental groups have spurned him – he didn’t even bother applying for many of their endorsements. He’s got views on issues that are not at all popular in Olympia, such as his position on abortion and a woman’s right to choose. He’s getting asked about that more and more as the campaign goes on.

I’ve never run for office so I don’t know how it feels to be scrutinized like that. I can imagine it’s frustrating.

But Max IS running and this keeps gnawing at me. This wasn’t just a candidate expressing frustration. This was a flashback to high school locker room bully type behavior. His inclination was to get in my face, use a threatening tone, and use profanity directly in my ear.

So I have to think of this as yet another juxtaposition between Clark and Max. It speaks to a WAY of being. Just like that audio tape on the bus last summer showed us who Trump really is when he thinks no one is listening, Max showed his own default way of being.

Using physical intimidation to either get your way or threaten someone who criticizes your political and social beliefs isn’t a quality I want in an elected official, and I think Max might have some maturing to do before he’s ready to hold office.

How do you feel about that?

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