Rage on, Rep. Rashida Tlaib!
Dance on, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!
You’re not listening to or being intimidated by the fake outrage from the Tea Bag Party (formerly known as the GOP) about your salty language, your appearance, your political views, your age, your passion or your dance moves back in college.
And I love it. Because I love strong, defiant, this-is-who-I-am people who don’t buckle under pressure or play the age-old political game of “Gosh, I hope no one’s offended.” For way too long, the Democratic Party has clutched its pearls. Democrats strove to not offend, to not raise eyebrows, to always take safe positions, to never give the opposition ammunition, all in the hope of meeking their way into national office.
It worked so well that, until this week, we had a federal government that was entirely Republican. At the state and local levels, while Democrats were playing nice, Republicans were restricting voter rights and manipulating voting districts. As a result, they have a hammerlock on many states that will take a decade to undo.
It should be a lesson: No one likes meek, just as no one likes Melba toast or damp saltines and weak tea. To win in politics today, you have to fight fire with fire. I know that’s not the Michelle Obama way, but unless you’re Barack Obama, taking the high road will take exactly nowhere.
I guess that’s why I love the injection of backbone and cheek that newbies like Tlaib (a Michigander, yay!) and Ocasio-Cortez are bringing to the Democratic Party. And I’m glad to see that they didn’t get to Washington, D.C. and immediately fade into the background and wait their turn to speak up and speak out.
We can probably thank the right for that. They immediately sought to test the freshman legislators, inadvertently giving each an opportunity in the process, which they immediately took. With Ocasio-Cortez, it was using the rather conveniently timed release of an old video of her dancing in college that has now been used to label her as young, trashy and insubstantial.
When the video was released and the trolls started trolling, I wondered what the response from Ocasio-Cortez would be. Would she go meek? Nope. She said: “I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous,” she tweeted. “Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance, too! Have a great weekend everyone.” With the tweet she posted a video of her dancing outside her new office on Capitol Hill.
With Tlaib, it was her use of the term “mother-effer” in reference to Trump. That’s not precisely what she said, of course. That’s the unleaded version. Even after 10 years out of newspapers, I can’t bring myself to type something that would give an editor or my AP Style manual the vapors. Plus, I don’t like the term. I think society – after being far too conservative and repressed for generations – has swung a bit too far to the crude.
My main quibble, though, is that, strategically, Tlaib may have been premature in telling a crowd, “When your son looks at you and says: ‘Momma, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t.’ Because we’re going to go in there, and we’re going to impeach the mother-fucker.” She’s absolutely right that many of us want Trump impeached, thrown in jail or both for what, in my mind, has been a treasonous presidency. But the best chance of that happening is the Mueller report. I doubt there are enough votes yet in the House to impeach. And the Republican-controlled Senate, right now, would never vote to convict him on impeachment charges. After the Mueller report, things will likely change. That’s what I’m waiting for.
But I love that Tlaib said it anyway and that she refused to back down when, for instance, she was immediately labeled a “foul-mouthed Islamic congresswoman” by the Christian Broadcasting Network.
It’s laughable that a party that elected and supports a man with Trump’s history of raw language, foul deeds and delinquent behavior is suddenly outraged over one term used by one woman in one defiant moment.
What’s funnier is that Tlaib’s comment seems to have hit the target. After it, Trump self-consciously tweeted: “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?”
Ha! Love it! Tlaib forced him onto defense. And she wasn’t wrong. Americans, not just Democrats, are indeed coming to impeach and hopefully convict and imprison the worst and most treacherous president in our history.
And at the front of the line will be some strong, smart, pissed off, sick-of-men-like-Trump women in Congress.
How’s that for just desserts, Mr. President?