When John McCain gave that famous “thumbs down” to his party’s efforts to repeal Obamacare, the media heralded him as iconic. With that act—a reminder of his penchant for going his own way—the Arizona Maverick earned the undying appreciation of progressives, who deleted all of their mean tweets about him. The Man Who Saved Granny’s Health Care had paid his dues.
Well, that worm has turned. Now, liberals don’t much like Arizona Mavericks, and conservatives like me are kind of sweet on them. That is, if they’re named Kyrsten Sinema.
The current senior senator from the Grand Canyon State has been one of the two people in that chamber standing in the way of President Biden’s massive budget overhaul, the other being West Virginia senator Joe Manchin. Both senators have been getting a lot of pushback from angry Democrats who see in their resistance a bitter betrayal of the supposed progressive mandate in Washington. Manchin and Sinema the Maverick missed the memo.
While Manchin has gotten his fair share of criticism, it’s the woman who’s bearing the brunt of the attacks. This is not a column where I will be complaining about how mean it is that the people who always talk about women’s rights are trampling right over women they do not like. Instead, this is the column where I talk about how hypocritical it is that the people who always talk about women’s rights are trampling right over women they do not like.
Sorry to interrupt your reading – but take a look at this cartoon!
It’s nothing new, of course. In fact, it’s not even new for this column, where I regularly point out the inconsistencies of the left when it comes to respecting my sisters. If I hear one more pro-choice activist say that people without ovaries shouldn’t have any say in laws about abortion, I will stuff a copy of Roe v. Wade into her gaping maw while explaining that she is chewing on a precedent decided by a 7 man majority on an all-male court. It’s so easy to google these things.
And while I will admit that I have been involved in some anti-liberal vitriol (who am I kidding, about 20 years’ worth) I’ve never pretended to be a defender of rights assigned solely to women. To me, gender is irrelevant. I have represented more men who were abused by their wives in Violence Against Women Act cases than I have women. I have taught in all girls and all boys schools, and loved both experiences equally. People, to me, are more than the sum total of their reproductive organs.
But I have noticed that my friends on the left seem overly obsessed with the “dignity” owed to the fairer sex, except when that woman is annoying them. It was obvious when they attacked Sarah Palin, who is nobody’s idea of a feminist. It was fairly transparent when they went after Susan Collins and Joni Ernst, who were a bit more moderate but still right of center. And it slaps you in the face like a side of fresh beef when it comes to the Arizona Maverick in Manolos.
My friends on the left seem overly obsessed with the ‘dignity’ owed to the fairer sex, except when the woman is annoying them.
Senator Sinema is a lifelong progressive, pro-choice, a member of the LGBT community, a former social worker as well as a civil rights attorney. The whole blue package. The kind of woman Rachel Maddow should swoon over, and who makes AOC look like a screeching wind-up doll. Sinema has heft and legitimacy, the kind that got her elected to the Senate by those who Occupy Wall Street.
But now, those same people have decided to Occupy Bathrooms in their attempts to shame the senator into doing what they want her to do, as opposed to what she thinks is best for Arizona. They have somehow gotten it into their little activist minds that they pull her puppet strings, or that at the very least, she should accede to their demands because she’s “one of them.”
And when she doesn’t, the idea that we respect women evaporates like the malodorous emissions from bathroom stalls. When those young activists followed the senator into that most sacrosanct of rooms while she was attempting to do what comes naturally, they violated a fundamental precept of the pro-choice movement: privacy.
And the fact that so many of those who regularly spout off about the dignity of women supported their actions says a lot about their own hypocrisy. President Biden called it “part of the process.” Ana Navarro of CNN made excuses for what I now call “stall stalking” or “stall-king.” A writer on the website Jezebel wrote a column entitled “Absolutely Bully Kyrsten Sinema Outside of Her Bathroom Stall.” The list goes on.
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Again, I’m not someone who thinks that women should receive special treatment. Quite the opposite. Strong women do not deserve to be pampered, treated like Waterford crystal, wrapped in cotton. We can stand on our own two feet, thank you. And some of us do it in stilettos.
But I do think that hypocrites should be called out, especially when those hypocrites live in the White House. Joe Biden needs to stop speaking on behalf of “women’s rights” when he has the gall to suggest that a female senator should just “suck it up” when her privacy is invaded by some people with an agenda.
I have to give kudos to our local representative in Congress, Mary Gay Scanlon, for not excusing their behavior towards Sinema. I reached out to her for a comment, and she responded:
“While there are many possible forums for public policy discussions, a restroom is rarely, if ever, one of them. Bullying, harassment, and violence (or threats of violence) against public officials, and by extension their staffs and families, are neither persuasive nor appropriate forms of public discourse. These tactics often undermine, rather than advance, progress. We could all benefit from turning down the temperature a bit and remembering that accountability for elected officials ultimately comes at the ballot box.”
I could not have said it any better than that.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61