You may have noticed my open letter to Justin Burnett and the Springfield, MO, City Council last week. Since its release the article has been viewed over 8,000 times (which is a lot for me!) and shared somewhere between 10-500 times (I don’t know how to track that), and I wanted to say thank you to those who read and shared. The issue of equality and fair legislation is clearly important to many people in my hometown and I wanted to write a follow up because some more news has come out regarding my buddy Justin Burnett.
I emailed Councilman Burnett the letter. I also tried to share it to his Facebook page, and I tweeted it at him. These have been my only real attempts at interacting with him. He has blocked me on Twitter, he wont accept my friend request, my approval to join the “We Support Justin Burnett!” Facebook group is still pending, and he has not answered any of my questions about whether or not he likes my nipples. So maybe we aren’t as good of buddies as I thought.
Springfield’s local paper, The News-Leader, reported a few new stories this week: one about a group forming to petition a removal of the councilman; the other about a group supporting the councilman in response to the first group. (I’d also like to just mention that the headline regarding the latter story begins “Nipple War Continues,” which is amazing.)
What this says to me is that if you have an opinion on The Free The Nipple Campaign, about equality, or about Justin Burnett as a decision-maker in your town, Springfield, this is the time to speak up. To get on the ballot, the recall petition needs 1,912 total signatures, which makes up nearly a third of the voters for Springfield’s Zone 2. That means Zone 2 has at least 6,000 potential voters (and roughly 7,500 possums). Do you have a friend that lives in Zone 2? Send them a news article and put a pen in their hand.
Also, real quick, I’d like to address the people who think this is just about nipples: this isn’t about nipples. You, stop thinking about nipples. This is hardly about Mr. Burnett thinking exposed breasts are naughty and gross. And to be fair, the young, cowardly councilman shouldn’t be forced to love “Free The Nipple” if he doesn’t want to (especially not the film related to the movement, as it only has an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For perspective, the first Paul Blart movie even has a 33% rating.). But his inability to see the purpose of the rally, and his lack of empathy for supporters of equality is bad news for a town that’s trying to progress. Supporters of the campaign will tell you that Free The Nipple is about exposing a double standard (not a euphemism), and female toplessness being criminalized is a symbol for gender inequality on a larger scale—it’s an indication of a much larger problem. Just like Justin Burnett’s misplaced concern and rash reaction to the demonstration is an indication of the kind of councilman he’ll be.
I was going to keep going, right at this part here. I was going to make this post longer, but the paragraphs were going to sound too serious and/or boring. And so instead I was trying to write a joke to end on, but I couldn’t think of one that helped this article’s point. So here are just a few pictures of Justin Burnett not knowing how to cross his arms, which I think is adorable and funny.
Thanks for reading, I love you, and I love Springfield most of the time.
PS- Here are a couple photos I saw people post on Facebook, which you can share if you want.