by Kathy Scott | Featured Contributor
Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, left a lot of women, including myself a little empty. “Leaning in” hasn’t been the problem. Often when women are leaning in, the men lean out and sometimes they even leave the room and slam the door shut, at least that’s how it feels when it comes to politics. Even more disconcerting is how viciously women are treated openly, eviscerated and humiliated publicly, while people simply stand by and do nothing.
I saw this kind of condemnation and personal attacks in South Dakota that went past the line of public discord. The unadulterated hate that was laser focused on former Senate Candidate Dr. Annette Bosworth made it all too clear why this small state consistently ranks five of the top 10 poorest counties in the U.S. Those who speak the loudest care little when it comes to important issues like poverty and the economy, instead, these “concerned citizens” have morphed into an overbearing dysfunctional group of mean-spirited South Dakotans who spend most of their time on a blog called the Madville Times led by a former high school teacher who lost his job for verbally abusing a student.
To understand Dr. Bosworth, you need to know that she believes that life is God’s plan. She wakes up every morning and prays. She uses her talents that “God gave her” and she is committed to the poor and elderly. That’s pretty suspicious in today’s America and honest mistakes can be construed as clever ruses to cheat the weak.
Dr. Bosworth’s troubles began in May 2012 when she wrote an op-ed chastising the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (SDBOME) for directing a physician who had just disclosed he had Multiple Sclerosis that, in order to practice medicine, he would be required to have an “approved” physician overseeing his work. Bosworth challenged the board’s decision citing the American with Disabilities Act. The board came back with a sledge hammer, spending the next two years charging her with everything from Medicare fraud to having an unlicensed physician’s assistant working with her at a Sioux Falls shelter where the charges were brought. The board took issue with orphaned children Bosworth was treating, claiming they didn’t need to be treated. To keep her license, she was required to go through a psychiatric evaluation, one that was eventually made public by the Madville Times blogger who made Bosworth his personal pet project, posting about her husband and children over more than a year. Nothing was taboo and his commenters salivated.
To keep her medical license, Dr. Annette Bosworth had to submit to treatment for mental illness. The South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners outlined Bosworth’s mental issues in its Petition for Suspension or Revocation of Medical License, dated May 7, 2012:
Following the medical examiners’ hearing, it was Dr. Jean Heisler, who teaches at the Sanford School of Medicine, that spoke out against the board saying that the hearing should never have happened. By that time, though, Bosworth and her family were living in an RV.
Cory Heidelberger, the blogger behind the Madville Times and the rabid hater of Bosworth (although it has not completely come to light why), began in earnest, with his small, but loyal group of gossipers to paint a picture of Bosworth that said more about their character than hers.
Headlines seemed more like the rantings of a schoolboy than a man:
Worst Campaign Video of 2014: Annette Bosworth
Fake Senate Candidate Adopts New Brand: “Dr. Annette Bosworth, Liar”
South Dakota Medical Board, 2012: Annette Bosworth Histrionic, Narcissistic
Annette Bosworth, Holy War-Monger
Bosworth Breaks State Law with Campaign Sign on Highway 38
Annette Bosworth, Republican, Also Digs Che
Heidelberger got his money’s worth from the innocent photo below of Bosworth’s Che t-shirt, never referring to the fact that Che was a hero at one time and took care of the poor.
Heidelberger kept up his war on Bosworth and the local press took note. He spent thousands to get copies of her election petitions (citizens have to pay for copying), petitions used for candidates to appear on the ballot. The Freedom of Petition Clause in the Bill of Rights was created to allow ordinary citizens to petition the government without fear of prosecution. In today’s partisan climate, election petitions are used as a strategy to get candidates off the ballot. In study after study, it is clear that these petitions can easily be challenged and more often than not, there are mistakes. Back in 1986, the Chicago Alderman election had over 200 petition challenges. Today, the well funded candidates use professional petition companies, but for someone like Dr. Bosworth, that is not an option, leaving the candidate pool skewed toward the rich.
The law of averages contends at least some names are unreadable and a few would be thrown out. Unfortunately for Heidelberger, his first challenge of Bosworth’s petitions were ruled unfounded, he continued to sort through Bosworth’s petitions, even posting them online and asking his followers to investigate the American voters that signed, a clear violation of the federal voter intimidation statues. He also worked 24/7 to stalk her social media and attempt to discredit her, but nothing was more vicious than going after her son.
In late December 2013, he posted the below. I have blacked out this boy’s name and face out of respect. Heidelberger did not. This boy’s social profile will now be attached to attacks on his mom:
Comments focused on painting her as a bad mother:
“My mom is totally out of her mind. I’m tired of having no home while watching other kids go to their nice warm homes.
See this snow? I’m tired of being cold. Please help me raise $2,000 to get my mom out of the country so I can talk to child services. That would be a great birthday present.”
She and her hubby are grifters and now they are teaching the second generation. It’s really pathetic.
I have a niece that is a doctor and you don’t see her wanting to leave her husband and three kids to go to the Philippines. She is also a person that when she was in medical school spent summers doing medical missionary work in different countries. She spent time in Siberia, and a couple other countries. She also had to raise money for her expenses, nothing was furnished. She did get help from the church she and her family attended, and did other fund raising things in order to go.
Sadly you are probably right Bree.
What I want to know is why she doesn’t just go to work and make the hubby get a job. She’s a doctor for gosh sakes, surely she has the ability to pull down a 6 figure income and Chad could get a job as a greeter at Walmart.
Nemec is the Vice Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party. It would be the trip to the Philippines that would bring down the doctor. After Heidelberger was unable to get her thrown off the ballot, he put Bosworth’s petitions on his blog. I can’t believe there aren’t privacy laws that forbid this:
And the Madville Times commenters were giddy:
This was the outcome> See Challenge.
The “team” would eventually note that six pages of the petitions were signed by Dr. Bosworth on dates when she was in the Philippines. The people who signed the petition were legitimate voters including Bosworth’s mother and sister. Following the primary, Dr. Bosworth was arrested for those six pages and charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of offering a false or forged instrument for filing. She was convicted on all felony charges and is awaiting sentencing. Her trial was televised.
Hypocrisy? Greg Belfrage who interviewed her before her arrest would go on to say that “oaths matter,” referring to Bosworth. Last month, Belfrage filed for Chapter 7 (meaning he will not pay back the people he owes). And NO ONE challenged Mike Rounds petitions, the wealthiest candidate and former governor. He went on to win as was expected.
Rep. Steve Hickey who partnered with Heidelberger in his assault on Bosworth is now having his own petitions questioned:
Several registered voters in Hartford who signed the petition to put state Rep. Steve Hickey’s name on the 2012 ballot say the lawmaker wasn’t present at the time, even though Hickey signed an oath that says he witnessed their signatures. – Argus Leader.
In May, Hickey talked about his assault on Dr. Bosworth in the Capital Journal:
The Rev. Steve Hickey, a legislator and Sioux Falls pastor, has spoken strongly against Bosworth on blogs, saying he’s acting out of both religious and political motives.
Hickey posted recently on a blog thread about Bosworth, in a reply to Howie’s attacks, on why he is adamant that she should be prosecuted: “As a Christian in the public sphere it is maddening to me that you and Boz – the most overt in displaying your Christianity – morning devotions put on Youtube – are known as the most unscrupulous. It’s a horrible witness. Boz in particular. She isn’t being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, as your recent post said. That’s ridiculous. She’s getting off easy.”
See Hickey’s letter against homosexuality: “A One Way Alley for the Garbage Truck”
Dr. Bosworth was never a viable contender against Rounds’ well funded campaign. The campaign of hate was organized and deliberate and it was vicious:
Heidelberger even called for her children to be arrested:
Why did Heidelberger go after Dr. Bosworth? Does he hate women:
Or does the answer lie in this anonymous post believed to be Heidelberger:
Or does he just want to control women? The Annette Bosworth trial is a great example of how some men (and other women) still want to control the outliers, women who step into a vicious arena. The comments and posts are petty and personal. Even if a woman running for office in your election isn’t your cup of tea, don’t let her be taken to the woodshed and assaulted. Women have the right to participate in politics, all women, even if they don’t fit the norm. Politics as usual isn’t working anyway.
Stand up for our GIRLFRIENDS. Ensure that they are respected. Several of Heidelberger’s commenters noted his obsession. It was personal and anyone that claims he was doing it for the voters hasn’t taken into account that VOTERS signed the petition to get her on the bill. Honest mistakes are just that. Hatred is also, just that. This story isn’t about Dr. Bosworth as much as it is about what a mob can do to one person and when it comes to women in public positions, it gets downright personal.
You can learn a little more about Heidelberger’s vendetta and the Bosworth petitions here:
This is how the Tony Awards got their name ti.me/1AOxVBs via @TIMEHistoryKathy Scott launched Me and My 1000 Girlfriends, That’s Who! in 2011 as a Facebook community of women poised to assist each other when asked to create and distribute emails, phone calls or letters. City council members, senators and governors were recipients of communication including Florida politicians interested in creating controversial 2011 Teacher Merit Pay Legislation, which planned to tie teacher salaries to students’ grades. The move would have hurt some underperforming low income areas where many teachers most wanted to teach, but would be unable to do so with the low pay rate. The legislation was hotly debated with 1000 Girlfriends doing their best to communicate to legislators. The law was later vetoed by Governor Crist.
Scott can be heard every Wednesday evening at 7pm ET at the Women on the Move Blog Talk Radio program. She recently launched her clothing and premium design – Women’s Party of America available on her Website under the Shop tab. Her success mantra is: Failure is not an option. Connect with 1000 Girlfriends on Twitter and at Facebook.