At a recent lunch with friends — good friends whom I count as stalwarts of the Democratic Party locally– I was dismayed to hear the outcry when I announced my excitement that Elizabeth Warren had announced her intention to gain more information about running for the office of President. “She’s too divisive,” all three asserted and with angry, raised voices and agreement all around. Now I’ll admit I’m no CNN addict as are my friends, so this was news to me. I didn’t disagree aloud, but I wondered to myself what they knew that I didn’t. Had I missed something about this woman that I consider to be one of the best senators around? She’s spoken out for the poor, for vets, and against Wall Street banks and most of all, she’s stood her ground against the current resident (CR, from here on) of the White House and his midnight meanderings on Twitter from behind the doors of the White House private biffy. More than stood her ground, she’s called him out. I admit that my friends’ reactions left me scratching my head.
After doing a bit of research, I found that one author, Rebecca Traister, asserts that Ms. Warren is being “Hillary-ed.” That thought had crossed my mind too as I recall some of my gym buddies telling me prior to the election of 2016 that they just couldn’t agree with HRC’s policies. “Which ones are those?” I’d ask, but somehow the subject would drop. One of my dearest friends said, “Her voice is just too screechy!” Wow! I thought — I wonder how many people dislike others because of the quality of their voices. “When she gets angry, she just screeches!” she added. Well, duh! most of us women do not possess the low- timbre voice of males. When a female raises her voice, it’s not a boom for the most part. This kind of unfair comparison is just one of the issues with which women in politics must contend.
I remember clearly in one of the debates between Hillary and the CR, how he lurked behind her, crossing into her space, seeming to threaten her physically by using his height as well as his bulk, his physical power to try to rattle her, to threaten her, to do her damage. But I digress…
Getting back to Ms. Warren, probably the most damning article came from her home state’s Boston Globe editorial which called her “a divisive figure” and possessing “a very liberal record.” As far as I can see, these labels stem from the fact that she’s stood her ground on many issues against the very person whom I see as the most divisive figure in American history: CR. Like a deranged cleaver-wielding butcher, he’s divided this country down the middle, but I don’t hear the term applied to him. Another figure who stood his ground and came out a few times against CR was John McCain. Nobody’s calling him anything but a “hero” and the “Senate maverick.”
Could it be that misogyny is rearing its ugly head once again? Peter Beinart, writing for the Atlantic states, An article published in 2010 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, (by) “two Yale professors, Victoria Brescoll and Tyler Okimoto, showed identical fictional biographies of two state senators—one male and one female—to participants in a study. When they added quotations to the biographies that characterized each as ‘ambitious’ and possessing ‘a strong will to power,’ the male state senator grew more popular. But the female state senator not only lost support among both women and men, but also provoked ‘moral outrage.’
“The past decade of American politics has illustrated Brescoll and Okimoto’s findings again and again.” Beinart maintains. ” During the 2012 campaign, Republicans attacked Nancy Pelosi in television commercials seven times as frequently as they attacked her Democratic Senate counterpart, Harry Reid.” Just recently, Nancy Pelosi withstood a brutal campaign against her bid as Speaker of the House. She was seasoned, intelligent, certainly qualified — and yet members of her own party countered with charges of needing a “new face for the party.” I was gratified to see how experience, intelligence, and firm leadership steadied that ship as she faced off against CR and came out looking quite good, thank you.
Elizabeth Warren has shown the same intelligence, experience, and leadership skills in her various causes in the Senate. Additionally, she has stated that “If the if the cost of taking a shot at the hot-air balloon known as @realDonaldTrump was that I had to take a few hits of my own, then so be it.” She sounds fearless to me — not divisive.