(BSDMS) – MASSACHUSETTS – Over the weekend critics warning of vague-wording accusing Alex Morse of inappropriate sexual behavior. Morse is the Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, he is openly gay and a political progressive who is challenging powerful Democrat incumbent Rep. Richie Neal in the state primary next month. Critics condemned the apparent unfounded smear campaign against 31-year-old politician Alex Morse along with a concerning example of “creepy Victorian moralizing” and shaming of consensual adult behavior as a way to make political gains.
Morse’s platform includes Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and challenging the establishment and corporate power.
The Daily Collegian, University of Massachusetts’ student newspaper first reported on the unfounded allegations that they received in the form of a letter from the UMass College Democrats chapter that alleges, while citing some non-specific stories they heard, that Mayor Morse and an instructor who works part-time at UMass Amherst, were in contact romantically and had consensual sexual relations with students from the college, who were all older than 18 and resided in the local area.
The student organization said that Morse is no longer invited to their sponsored events, which stirred up national headlines in major state and national outlets such as The Boston Globe, Politico, and The Washington Post, with almost all of them treating the accusations as having the potential to be a devastating scandal for the Morse the progressive candidate who wants to unseat Rep. Neal, a powerful corporate-friendly Democrat in the House of Representatives in a September 1 primary.
Morse responded to the accusations and gave a statement to UMass Democrats that said: “I want to be clear that every relationship I’ve had has been consensual. However, I also recognize that I have to be cognizant of my position of power.”
“As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my sexuality, like any young, single, openly gay man, I have had consensual adult relationships, including some with college students. Navigating life as both a young gay man and an elected official can be difficult, but that doesn’t excuse poor judgment,” Morse wrote.
Progressive and Liberal groups that endorsed Morse in his campaign so far were quickly suggested to withdraw support for Morse. Observers of politics such as Glenn Greenwald with The Intercept, who is also an openly gay man, argued that the accusations are a distorted example of misplaced outrage and unfounded moralizing.
On Twitter, Greenwald went into details about his critique Saturday episode that included why the implications of what started in the wake of the accusations are mainly from the so-called liberal-left and should be seen as widely concerning:
There are factions of the liberal-left as obsessed with regulating, controlling & moralizing over the private *consensual* sex lives of adults as the 1980s Moral Majority.
(Nobody claims lack of consent; he’s a 31-year-old gay man, a lecturer who slept with none of his students) https://t.co/vvihWXw9xp
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 8, 2020
“Gay men spend their lives afraid of the toxic stereotype that they are dirty sexual predators who want to lure children into their ‘lifestyle and now this is the bigoted trope many leftists deploy for *consensual* dates with adults if it violates their little moral codes,” Greenwald wrote.
“Constantly fixating on and trying to judge and control the private consensual sex and romantic lives of other people is, I guess, one way to escape having to confront what’s happening on your own. That’s just one reason of many why it’s incredibly unhealthy and creepy to do,” Greenwald tweeted.
Regarding political implications in Morse’s case, Greenwald mentioned it shouldn’t be lost about what is at stake when progressives such as Morse who challenge the establishment corporate power face the highly likely possibility of being derailed by controversies like this one.
“This was the left’s last big chance to remove a hideous reactionary incumbent from Congress and replace him with a progressive and they blew it all up over Victorian sexual moralizing, homophobia, and a desire to control how **adults** consent to have sex with each other. Pathetic,” Greenwald stated.
What the left is about to do to Alex Morse is fucking repulsive. They’ve given up on ever holding power or holding the powerful accountable, so they content themselves with ruining lives over ever more inscrutable moral prohibitions, which now includes consensual sex with adults. https://t.co/SfYZNF1BDX
— socialist fraternity x (@MattThomasNYC) August 8, 2020
UMass College Democrats have been getting large donations from Richie Neal’s Campaign in support of their activities. On Sunday group, and the College Democrats of Massachusetts gave a statement, which in part reads: “To suggest that our decision to send the letter to Mayor Morse was a quid pro quo with Rep. Neal, his campaign, or anyone else is untrue, disingenuous, and harmful.”
The groups also made it clear that “those affected by Mayor Morse’s behavior” were directly involved in writing the initial letter, but none of them want to come forward publicly to describe their relationship with Morse or how exactly they “feel uncomfortable” by him.
There weren’t any specific misconduct or sexual assault accusations in any reporting or in the student organization’s letter, and it didn’t even state it violated UMass policy that forbids consensual sexual relationships between faculty and adult students only when specific power dynamics exist, including active relationships between students and progressors. The allegations against what Morse is accused of doing was perplexing to people such as The Intercept’s Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim, who took time over the weekend to look at the story, asked probing questions about the details, and offered observations.
If he did actually have an inappropriate relationship with one of his own students, that’s way over the line. And it’s concerning he has not commented on that. But nobody seems to want to wait for that critical information. Or hear from an actual complainant.
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) August 9, 2020
“Would be quite something if the groups backing Alex Morse took a stand here on behalf of free, consenting adults not in a subordinate role to do what they want with their lives. Not counting on it but we’ll see,” Grim tweeted.
Morse responded to the UMass College Democrats and said his powerful opponent, Congressman Neal, is likely to “be eager to twist this into something it’s not to score political points, but I would caution him against indulging in old negative stereotypes about gay men. I will not apologize for living out of the closet, for going on dates, and having consensual conversations.”
Kyle James Lee – BSDMS – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.