By now, the case of Wyoming State Rep. Hans Hunt, who told a constituent concerned with Wyoming's decision to allow "concealed carry" that she could "by all means, leave" has gone thoroughly viral.
While Rep. Hunt himself has gained most of the attention, the woman who prompted his angry email - Rev. Audette Fulbright, pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming - isn't ready to back down, even given that she "was never treated so inappropriately by an elected official before."
TheBlaze reached out to Fulbright via Facebook, and we were able to get her side of the story, as well as her take on the viral traction it has gained, and the fallout she herself has received. While Fulbright did suggest the story had been slightly overblown, she was more than willing to explain how she sees the issues, even after Rep. Hunt's rather blunt public rebuff.
"I'm not sure there is much more to my side of the story," Fulbright wrote. "I wrote to a state legislator, he responded to my sincere concerns with disdain and rudeness, refused to apologize, and now folks are following his lead and seeking me out to be even more unkind. Fortunately, many people have also apologized and been warm and welcoming."
The reference to "folks following his lead" refers to a group of commenters who have swarmed Fulbright's website since the story went live. One such comment on the "autobiographical essay" section of her website reads:
"Congrats on making a TOTAL ass of yourself in Wyoming. ATTENTION INVASIVE PROGRESSIVE SPECIES: Stop leaving your HELLHOLES and moving to places with good people and policy and attempting to bring your brand of authortarian idiocy with you. States like Wyoming, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, Alamaba, etc...DOn't WANT YOU. Stay the F OUT. people like you are hated for good reason."
Fulbright wouldn't comment on how widespread such angry responses are relative to positive responses, instead suggesting that it wouldn't make any difference to her. "I don't see any usefulness in mentioning how many pro versus how many con, since I think that's not the best way to view this issue," Fulbright wrote. "I think our focus would be more effective if we took seriously the value of civil discourse in politics -and the role of elected leaders in being examples of how public discourse should be handled."
As to the accusation that she is an "invasive progressive species," Fulbright actually had a perfectly innocent explanation for her presence in Wyoming, which Hunt (and so many commenters) questioned, given her political views. According to Fulbright, far from being a naive mover who didn't understand red state culture, the move was for professional reasons, and she is already used to living in deeply conservative states.
"Our family moved to Wyoming because, as a minister, I was called to serve a wonderful congregation here," Fulbright wrote. "I had several other choices (in other states), and chose to come to Wyoming. I am from SC and lived for more than a decade in Virginia - both very conservative states, where I often wrote to legislators. I was never treated so inappropriately by an elected official before. I think I am not alone in being astonished by the inappropriateness of Mr. Hunt's response - or else it would not be news."
And did this change her approach to political activism? Not a chance. In fact, judging by her takeaway from the issue, Fulbright might well have been emboldened.
"The response by Mr. Hunt and his allies will make absolutely no difference in how I pursue my political activism going forward," Fulbright wrote. "I think we all must lend our voice and share our concerns about those public matters we must address as a state and a nation. If we allow ourselves to be bullied into keeping silent or constraining our ideas to only those we imagine to be of like mind, we have given up the most important privilege of being members of a democratic nation."
Rep. Hans Hunt's Follow Up: