This is not an Onion story.At a Youth in Government event with Gov. Sam Brownback held in Topeka, Kansas last week 18-year-old attendee Emma Sullivan tweeted from the back row: “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.”
She had not, in fact, done any such thing, which may or may not been of interest to her then 65 followers.
But it was definitely of interest to Brownback’s staff who apparently monitors Brownback-related tweets with the determination of a teenage girl (no offence to teenage girls, who are after all teenagers).
Brownback and/or his overzealous, thin-skinned office was apparently offended enough that they complained to Sullivan’s school principal who in turn told Sullivan she would have to apologise.
Sullivan is wonderfully refusing to do so. She tweeted (to her 5000+ new followers) yesterday: “I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong.”
Since the story has gone national (thanks to Sullivan’s sister who alerted the media) just about everyone involved that’s not Sullivan has clammed up.
For her part Sullivan says she’d be happy to speak to Brownback face-to-face: “I think it would be interesting to have a dialogue with him…I don’t know if he would do it or not though. And I don’t know that he would listen to what I have to say.”
Update: Now Brownback is apologizing. He just issued this statement:
“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologise. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future. I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologise for our over-reaction”
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