To be an official, you need a pretty thick skin. People will name you all sorts of names and take your words and actions apart.
But for a seven-member congressman who has certainly heard this before, a fart joke on a campaign sign was a step too far.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) Did not find humor in someone who changed the "o" in his surname into an "a" and changed his slogan to support the above mentioned flatulence ode. The Vandal also picked up a hot trend from 2018 and put some googly eyes on his face.
It is not clear when the vandalism took place, although Fortenberry tweeted on October 24 and the same day established a link between vandalism and political violence when pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN headquarters.
Fortenbery's chief of staff even approached a local political scientist who "liked" a photo of the sign on Facebook, reported it to the university chancellor, and told the professor he could spread the fact that he supported vandalism, according to the Lincoln Journal star.
After talking to Fortenbery's chief of staff William "Reyn" Archer III last week, Ari Kohen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, recalled the conversation with the Journal Star. "It was not at all clear what he wanted me to do, whether he wanted me to be different or to withdraw. He told me that they could make this public, that I liked vandalism and that that was basically bad for me, "Kohen said.
It sounded like a threat to Kohen. He reported Archer on Monday to the house's ethics committee with a record of their conversation.
Archer has refused to threaten Kohen, calling the conversation friendly and affirming his position that the professor should not have sanctioned any vandalism and that this contributes to the problem of lack of civil discourse in politics.
However, the American Association of University Professors saw it as a threat and had an open petition on its website requesting Fortenberry to reject the actions of its chief of staff.
"It should be understood that a legislator and his staff should not harass and threaten a faculty member for his or her social media activities, and that equating a Facebook joke with" favor "with support for vandalism is absurd. However, it is clear that this must be said in the current political climate, "the letter said.
Unfortunately for Fortenberry, the effort of its employees to say something about decorum has predictably given way. Because now it is not just the people in the 1st district of Nebraska, but the entire Internet makes Furzwitze at the expense of the congressman.
Maybe he should not have had such a big stink.