Nevertheless, She Persisted

One of the most disgusting events recorded in U.S. Senate history occurred last night while Senate Democrats held the floor to debate Jeff Sessions’ nomination as U.S. Attorney General.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell used a gag rule to stop Elizabeth Warren from reading Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee about Jeff Sessions’ efforts to suppress African American voters and his fitness to serve as a federal judge.

This is breathtakingly offensive.

A Senator denied a First Amendment right, unable to participate in speech and debate in their role on behalf of constituents.

The suppression of an historic written statement by an historic figure, presented decades ago to the Senate.

A woman Senator prevented from speaking as part of a governmental body whose composition is 79% men.

The quashing of fact regarding a cabinet nominee’s racist behavior as a former member of law enforcement, germane to their unsuitability as U.S. Attorney General.

And most horrifically, the use of a gag rule circa 1836, instituted by white supremacist members of Congress who prevented abolitionists from speaking about ending slavery.

The Party of Lincoln is dead. It is a zombie animated by hatred, intent on hurting any who pose a threat to its continued grasp on power. It doesn’t take seriously its oath of office, instead resurrecting archaic nonsense to deprive the people of their rights while encouraging corruption.

In summoning Rule XIX and cementing his wretchedness into Senate record, McConnell said about Warren, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

She will, indeed, persist, Senator McConnell. She and millions of Americans will persist in their rejection of white supremacy and fascism which relies on it. You have generously offered a rallying cry for our resistance.

And when your body finally relinquishes the venal energy which moves it daily, know that whatever memorial is mounted for you will be visited for the next hundred years by women and minorities who’ll paste it with mementos which read, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
20 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    This is a defining vote, and it had better be like the vote on DeVos — straight party line, zero defections.

    4.6 million Americans protesting on 21-JAN-2017 didn’t get through to McConnell and the GOP. That was only the start as the historic flood of anti-DeVos phone calls showed. This isn’t the end of it. They’ve pissed off teenagers, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers; as women they are used being slowed. But women will not be deterred.

    They will persist.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      WTF?  Where have you been?

      There was no straight-line party vote.  Hell, two republican female senators voted against Devos.

      The problem was that NONE of the other 4 republican female senators could find it in their hearts to break with their party.   Capito was best hope.  So vp pence cast the tiebreaking vote, allowing probably one of the most incompetent cabinet members ever (so far.  Wait for sessions).

      But these 4 republican female senators  fail:

      Joni Ernst (Iowa)

      Deb Fischer (Nebraska)

      Kelly Lyotte (New Hampshire)

      Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)

      The 2 female senators that get it:

      Susan Collins (Maine)

      Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

      • Rayne says:

        When I wrote ‘straight party line’, I meant zero defections from the Senate Dems. I know as recently as two weeks ago some Dems were still on the fence because 2018 and respect for the Senate. Which is just bullshit — if Sessions has his way with screwing voters’ rights, there will be no 2018. Senate Dems need to get their shit together and organize a long-term strategy for resistance to this theocratic coup or they can kiss every future election goodbye. There will be no winning anything; we might as well be Turkey.

        And fuck Murkowski. She could have voted no in committee. She was literally the vote which decided DeVos would be approved.

  2. Ed Walker says:

    The election of Trump has unleashed the inner pig of every one of these Republicans. Every single pig, hogs and sows alike, lined up behing chief porker McConnell.

    And I don’t see any Republicans willing to disavow this appalling display of barnyard domination.

    These are the people liberals are supposed to empathize with and work with. Fuck that.

  3. SpaceLifeForm says:

    From the-more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same department.

    (JQA was no dummy)

    https://users.wfu.edu/zulick/340/gagrule2.html

    John Quincy Adams: Gag Rule Controversy,
    Petition Purporting to Come from Slaves

    House of Representatives
    Monday, February 6, 1837

     

    Mr. Adams next stated that he had in his possession a paper, upon which he wished to have the decision of the Speaker. The paper (he said) came from twenty persons declaring themselves to be slaves. He wished to know whether the Speaker would consider this paper as coming under the rule of the House.

    The Chair replied that the gentleman having the paper in his possession was the best judge of the matter, but if the gentleman would send the paper to the Chair he would then decide.

    Mr. Adams said, if he sent it to the Chair it would then be in possession of the House whereas he wished to know of the Speaker whether it came under the rule before he presented it. The paper purported to be from slaves; and this was one of those cases, which it had occurred to his own mind was an imposition. The paper was signed partly by persons who could not write, they having made their mark, and partly by persons, judging from the writing, of little education. He would send the paper to the table.

    The Chair said as this was a novel case, he would leave it to the House, and take its advice and counsel.

     

    Mr. Haynes was astonished at the course pursued by the gentleman from Massachusetts, not only on this day but on every petition day for some weeks since, but his astonishment had reached a height which he could not express, when the gentleman rose and asked leave to present a paper purporting to come from slaves. He could not tell in what manner a proposition of this kind should be treated, but he had to express his surprise, that the measure should be brought forward. He moved that the petition be not received.

    Mr. Lewis. I beg to say that I hope no man coming from the South.

    Mr. Haynes. I withdraw my motion.

    Mr. Lewis rose and said, he was glad to hear the gentleman from Georgia withdraw his motion for a rejection of this petition. He hoped no gentleman from a slaveholding State would either argue or vote upon the question of reception. He thought that the Representatives of the slaveholding States should demand that the attempt to introduce such a petition should instantly put in requisition the power of the House to punish the member for such an attempt. If this is not done, and that promptly every member from the slave States should immediately, in a body, quit this House, and go home to their constituents. We have no longer any business here.

    Mr. Grantland. I will second the motion for punishment, and go all lengths for it.

    Mr. Alford inquired what kind of petition it was that the gentleman from Massachusetts proposed to present. [Loud cries of “He ought to be expelled!”]

    The Chair directed the Clerk’s minutes to be read, which set forth that it was “the petition of twenty-two persons, declaring themselves to be slaves, and wishes to know whether it comes within the order o the House.”

    Mr. Alford said if the member from Massachusetts should insist upon presenting his memorial he would move that it be instantly burnt. [Cries of “No!” “No!” “Expel him!” Expel the mover!”]

    ….

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nevertheless, she persisted.

    Indeed. That should be on the lips, mugs, t-shirts and tweets of every citizen not living in Greenwich, Bellevue, Sea Island or Rancho Santa Fe.

    People will not be able to rely on mainstream Democrats, let alone Republicans, who both treat main street Americans as obstacles to wealth and power, not as constituents.  Normal Democratic behavior would be to ask Mr. McConnell if they could speak, then seek permission about what to say, rather like editors and reporters for the New York Times.  Behavior that submissive did not work for Oliver Twist, when he sought more gruel to quiet his empty stomach.  It will not work when confronting a government overwhelming within the control of a single party.

    Thank you, Rayne, and thank you, Elizabeth Warren.

     

    • Rayne says:

      West Virginia Dems have some real challenges, have for years. I’m sure part of the problem is money to run — who has it who isn’t in coal? The entire state has been let down in the same way Michigan was let down in late 1990s-2000s; politicians only looked to the next term instead of working aggressively toward a green future with more sustainable jobs. Michigan has experienced a partial recovery, but now many future automotive industry jobs will be in places like Nevada with Tesla because of shortsightedness.

      Manchin represents the past, and a bad representative considering he actually considered switching parties not that long ago. WV needs to find Dems who aren’t afraid of the truth or the future — coal is done.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Reading a thirty-year-old defamatory letter?
    Put a sock in it. Its shelf life has expired. Candidate Warren will have to come up with something else.

  6. Duncan says:

    “… in their role on behalf of constituents…” That should be “her,” unless Warren has declared a preference for “their” as the third-person singular pronoun. The epicene third-person pronoun doesn’t apply to an individual.

    • Rayne says:

      No, Duncan. I wrote that particular sentence as gender neutral for a reason. No matter the gender of the Senator in question they were denied their First Amendment rights.

      Same in a later sentence regarding the Attorney General — the point stood without regard to the AG nominee’s gender.

      I addressed gender with regard to the percentage of representation in the Senate, but the sentence didn’t require “her.”

      Let’s get back to the topic at hand.

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