Rep. Don Young of Alaska, a Republican, is a serious asshole. First he went to speak at Wasila High School, where a student had committed suicide only a week earlier, and, without knowing anything at all about that actual kid’s situation, blamed it on his friends — many of them in the audience — not being supportive enough.
The Wasilla school’s principal told the newspaper about Young’s comments, “When I heard ‘a lack of support from family’ and I heard ‘a lack of support from friends,’ I felt the oxygen go out of the room, but I gasped as well. It just isn’t true in these situations. It’s just such a hurtful thing to say.”
After a friend of the student who killed himself spoke out, saying that student did have support, principal Amy Sparo said Young responded: “Well, what, do you just go to the doctor and get diagnosed with suicide?” Sparo said that after his appearance, Young told her that the student “needs to learn some respect.”
Then the very next day he goes to a senior center in the area and doubles down.
Rep. Don Young is not backing down from his controversial comments about suicide, criticizing some of the students at Wasilla High School who challenged him and saying that Alaska’s high suicide rate is largely due to government “largesse.”
The Alaska Republican, speaking at a senior center on Wednesday, linked a rise in suicides in the state with government dependence.“This suicide problem didn’t exist until we got largesse from the government,” Young said at Alaska’s Mat-Su Senior Center, according to audio obtained by the campaign of his Democratic challenger, Forrest Dunbar.
“When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting the wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn’t have the suicide problem,” Young continued. “It comes from the largesse of saying you’re not worth anything but you’re going to get something for nothing.”
Later in the clip, Young added: “I’m not going to coddle anybody. We have a society today that coddles people.”
The congressman also cited his experience as a former schoolteacher in saying that some of the students at Wasilla High School who spoke out during his speech at the assembly on Tuesday were being “disrespectful.”
“I’m very upset with the school system that would take the side of individuals that are being disrespectful to their fellow students,” he said.
I feel no need to spell out why this makes him an asshole. If it isn’t obvious to you, I can’t help you.