"Lauren Boebert has no moral authority to tell anyone else what they can and can’t do."
In this July 14, 2023, file photo, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

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There are some things you’d like to unsee. For me, this week, that would be a video of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, where my high school graduation was held many years ago. My parents frequently took me to plays and musical performances there. A highlight of my childhood was seeing the Broadway production of “Annie” at the theater complex.

It is where I grew to like classical music and maybe even Wiliam Shakespeare. But more than an appreciation of music or a theatrical performance, I learned about decorum. I learned to sit still and be quiet. I learned about being polite and respectful. I learned to enjoy the show, not put on one.

Last week, we learned that Boebert, a firebrand conservative representative from western Colorado, was removed from the theater, during a performance of the musical “Beetlejuice,” for being disruptive. Videos released last week showed Boebert vaping and using her phone to record the performance, both of which are banned there. She and a male companion were escorted out of the theater complex, during which time Boebert is said to have asked theater staff if they knew who she was. Theater staff warned Boebert of her misbehavior during an intermission, after several people in the audience complained, but the disruptions continued.

Last Friday, Boebert apologized for her behavior saying she was too animated and maybe sang too loudly, but she doesn’t remember vaping. She also blamed her behavior on her “public and difficult divorce.” Boebert filed for divorce from her husband in April.

Then another surveillance video from the theater surfaced. This one showed Boebert and her companion groping each other. It was their first date.

Here’s a bit of advice — if that’s what you want to do, stay home. Spare the rest of us seeing and hearing your antics.

Boebert’s behavior is embarrassing and likely made those around her in the theater uncomfortable. Surveillance video shows that children were sitting nearby. Local police aren’t charging the congresswoman for public indecency for the Sept. 10 events.

Worse, however, is her sense of entitlement and hypocrisy.

Boebert is a member of Congress’ self-appointed morality police.

She frequently claims that the left is “grooming” our kids by exposing them to LGBTQ+ people and images.

She and other conservative Republicans want to tell all Americans what their children should read and watch. They want drag shows and books about LGBTQ+ people banned. All, they say, to protect children.

Boebert and other conservatives want to tell women what they can do with their bodies by dramatically restricting abortion.

Yet, this champion of morality apparently thought it was fine to grope her date while he enthusiastically grabbed her breasts during a family-friendly performance in a Denver theater. And to flout theater rules and then be rude and belligerent to those who sought to enforce them.

Because Boebert can’t seem to control her own behavior, or even take responsibility for her public misbehavior, she has no moral authority to tell anyone else what they can and can’t do.

At that same performing arts center, I learned to broaden my perspectives and to open my mind. Sure, I wasn’t always thrilled to be dragged to another chamber music performance or an odd play, but I learned to love the artistry and skill of soloists and orchestra members. “The Tempest” set in outer space? Weird, but beautiful and maybe allegorical.

I also saw plenty of people who were different from me, on stage and in the audience. They were not to be feared, demeaned or diminished.

I understood that the theater was a place of entertainment, yes, but also of discovery and reverence. It was not a place for boorish and adolescent behavior.

But now when I think of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, all I can think of is Boebert’s lewd acts and disrespectful and entitled behavior. That is sad and embarrassing.

Susan Young is the opinion editor at the Bangor Daily News. She has worked for the BDN for over 25 years as a reporter and editor.