This thing that happened yesterday with Senator Elizabeth Warren has really gotten under my skin. It’s not like there haven’t been daily (virtually hourly) assaults on my state of mind since the inauguration. Every day is filled with anger and disillusionment. So much of my emotional energy and time has been spent these last few weeks on finding ways not to fall into a depression or, alternatively, not to walk around in a fury. But this…this has me seething on a different level. It has brought me back to every time I’ve experienced or witnessed a woman being “shushed” because the sound of her voice was just too much for a man to bear. It’s that feeling I get when I or another woman’s ideas are dismissed by a man who assumes that by virtue of having a penis he is smarter and his ideas are better. Yes, I understand, she was warned. Just as so many women have been warned throughout history that they must follow the rules, conform, be submissive and passive. Yes, I understand, she broke a rule. A rule that has rarely, if ever, been enforced since it was first passed––not even, apparently, when in 2015 Ted Cruz called the majority leader, himself, “a liar.”
The image of that 74-year-old white man taking Warren to task is all too familiar to those of us of a certain age. He and his colleagues can’t stand the sound of Elizabeth Warren’s voice and this was their chance to silence it. Clearly hearing the words of another woman, Coretta Scott King, read by Warren was just too much for their delicate ears. In doing so, they managed to silence another woman––this one of color, of course, which is too perfect, considering the historical silencing of both women and African Americans in this country. What’s more, the content of the letter was about the nominee’s silencing, in the form of voter suppression, of African Americans. Again, perfect. Warren is just the latest to “step out of line”––the word “uppity” comes to mind.
I have little doubt that oh so many men (and women, I’m afraid) deeply dislike Warren. She just won’t keep her mouth shut. She won’t play be the rules and be nice. Her voice grates on them because it’s “shrill.” Why does she have to yell that way? Why has she no decorum? Why does she have to use her podium like a bully pulpit? Why can’t she be more like…who, our current president?