Harvard professor turned Senator (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren is a well-established progressive icon. She has spent her career as a politician fighting for economic justice, civil rights for women and minorities, and environmentalism. Now Warren has become an overnight feminist symbol of resistance in the face of old crotchety white male opposition.
Yesterday, when Warren took the Senate floor to protest Senator Jeff Sessions’s (R-AL) appointment as Attorney General by Donald Trump, her opposition decided that they had had enough of her opinions.
Warren began to read a letter by the late Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, decrying Session’s appalling history of trampling on the civil rights of African-Americans. The letter was instrumental in blocking Sessions’ appointment as a federal judge in 1986. However, Senate Republicans swiftly intervened, claiming that Warren was violating an arcane rule against Senators impugning other Senators.
In other words, they claimed that it is against the rules for Warren to criticize Sessions during a hearing about whether or not Sessions is fit to be Attorney General. Warren was not only prevented from reading Coretta Scott King’s entire letter, she was banned from speaking for the rest of Sessions’ confirmation hearing.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConell explained, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
McConnell on Warren: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”
Great life advice pic.twitter.com/asdIqPc3Fz
— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) February 8, 2017
McConnell’s words have become a feminist rallying cry: “Nevertheless, she persisted!” Women across America are extolling Warren’s persistence in the face of male adversaries and recalling that she is embodying the perseverance of the feminists who made history.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 8, 2017
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, #ShePersisted
(My late mother, 1963, and my aunt, 1961, arrested in FL.) pic.twitter.com/YtOgDLvGoA
— Tananarive Due (@TananariveDue) February 8, 2017
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) February 8, 2017
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) February 8, 2017
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 8, 2017
— Nathalie Baptiste (@nhbaptiste) February 8, 2017
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) February 8, 2017
"Nevertheless, she persisted." So must we all. You go, girl.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 8, 2017
— #RemoveTrump (@Blue______Wave) February 8, 2017
Ms. King's letter is getting more attention than if the GOP had let @elizabethforma read it. Do.Not.Silence.Women. #ShePersisted
— Sarah Paxton (@SarahEPaxton) February 8, 2017
Warren explained the dehumanizing effect of the Republican Senators’ actions. “I literally can’t be recognized on the floor of the Senate. I have become a nonperson during the discussion of Jeff Sessions.” This is compounded by the fact that two male Democratic senators were allowed to read the offending letter last night after Warren was silenced.
The fight is not over, but Warren’s resilience is inspiring; and in the age of social media, any attempts to silence a powerful woman only serve to amplify her voice across the globe.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.