Unless you’ve been under a rock, you have noticed the “she persisted” headlines, memes, etc. covering your social media feeds.
During a speech on the Senate floor in which Senator Elizabeth Warren passionately appealed to her fellow Senators not to confirm Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, she was silenced by majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell.
He invoked an archaic rule (which was voted on and upheld along party lines) that states you are not to impugn a fellow senator on the floor. Despite the fact that she was reading a speech written by former Sen. Ted Kennedy, in which he, himself quoted CSK, the point of the hearing was to debate Sessions’ qualifications for the role of head of the Judiciary.
Not to question or revisit previous accounts of credible character witnesses because of his status was irresponsible and showed gross favoritism. If a nominee is a standing Senator, and thus the threat of rule XIX hangs over the proceedings, the purpose of the hearings cannot be fully carried out.
In his explanation for her silencing, McConnell said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”. Senator McConnell, I say with all due respect, YOU BET YOUR ASS SHE DID.
A white man silenced a white woman, reading the words of a black woman, in regards to the character of a racist white man. This is the same white man who failed to gain senate approval for a federal judgeship in 1989 because of his history of racist remarks.
Cecile Richards was quick to state that McConnell had just summed up the history of progress for women, in 11 words.
As unfortunate and disturbing as this situation was for many many reasons, Senator Warren did what so many other women have done and what we all will continue to do… she PERSISTED.
In true Warren fashion, as soon as she was silenced from the remainder of the debate, she read the letter in its entirety on Facebook Live, garnering millions of views— attention that she might not have received on C-span, educating and informing the public on Sessions’ deeply rooted racism.
The phrase quickly exploded on the internet, becoming the new viral battle-cry and call to arms for women and feminism everywhere, along with the hashtag #letlizspeak. In honor of Senator Warren and all other women who have persisted and continue to do so, today’s Thursday thoughts are dedicated to some of the many fearless female warriors of our past.