“I don’t want to stand overly simplistic, but this is how this country works. When it involves white people is when it matters.” –Rebecca Carroll
Well. Impeachment. We’re going there, at long last? I’ll believe it when I see it, but it does appear House Democrats are now presenting a united front in its favor. Hell, they even got Tulsi Gabbard on board. Impressive. After seven freshman Democrats in swing districts – including five women – banded together to pen a Washington Post op-ed calling for impeachment in light of The Whistleblower, it looks like the dam finally broke. CNN’s Dana Bash did a feature on this joint decision of Democratic reps Elissa Slotkin, Mikie Sherrill, Chrissy Houlahan, Abigail Spanberger, and Elaine Luria, calling them “unlikely leaders on impeachment.” Leaders? On impeachment?
Oh, what fresh hell is this?
Words mean things, Dana. And this is just gross. CNN displays a shameless level of tone-deafness here in erasing the progressive women of color who ignored polling and political caution and actually led the call for impeachment way back at the beginning of this democracy-trampling shitshow. CNN is erasing minority womens’ work in favor of not just the unwarranted elevation of milquetoast white women, but Bash threw objective journalism right out the window and didn’t even pretend she wasn’t slobbering all over these “badasses” with absurd misplaced praise. If they were men, we’d say CNN was metaphorically fellating them, but they’re all women. Did you know there is not a non-slang shorthand verb for performing cunnilingus, like there is for fellatio? I looked it up. There’s not.
First, some caveats. I don’t mind that they’re all banding together. I actually like seeing a group of women – long underrepresented in Congress – forming a sort of alliance and having each others’ backs. Calling themselves “the badasses” does make me wonder if they also trade bangle bracelets at lunch – come on, ladies, you sound like you’re in sixth grade – but nevertheless, the friendship is nice to see.
Secondly, I’m not even saying that this wasn’t a story. I think it was. Any additional members of Congress supporting impeachment IS news, as is a stronger number of freshman who flipped districts coming out for impeachment simultaneously. The initial decision to report was sound; the whitewashing and the unfettered exaltation were not.
For perspective, we should examine this impeachment timeline, right? The first calls for impeachment from Democratic lawmakers were back in April and May of 2017, and they hailed from Maxine Waters and Al Green. People of color. The Squad – freshmen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashaida Tlaib – followed suit almost immediately after taking their seats in January of 2019. None of these members – mostly women, all people of color – has let up. Nancy Pelosi publicly sniped at them, the mainstream media mocked them, and Donald Trump literally threatened their lives. Yet they held firm. They kept speaking up and lobbying their colleagues, all in the face of Speaker Pelosi’s dogged pursuit at avoiding impeachment in any manner. All the while, Trump continued to violate the Emoluments Clause, we learned of his campaign finance violations when he paid Stormy Daniels hush money, Michael Cohen testified against him to Congress, James Comey testified about a clear case of obstructing justice, another credible rape allegation, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is in there somewhere, as is a bunch of stuff I’m probably forgetting, oh, and he put kids in cages at the border. Then the Mueller report dropped. We saw the first slips in Pelosi’s caucus grip. A flood of lawmakers, mostly from safe blue districts, called for impeachment. Then Mueller testified publicly before Congress. More calls. This finally brings us up to last week: The Whistleblower, who offered evidence that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a sham investigation into Joe Biden’s son. That’s when the dam broke.
Now, where do these so-called “badasses” fit in on this timeline? Waaaayyyy at the end. We don’t see them until The Whistleblower shows up.
These women are not leaders. Maybe it’s fair to call them a tipping point. But they are, by definition, not leaders. Leaders do not wait until public opinion polls favorably on their position to then boldly declare what is no longer controversial. Leaders lead. They make the hard, unpopular calls and then they persuade others of their rightness and moral clarity. Leaders take risks, including the ire of their so-called superiors, to do the right thing and save democracy.
B-b-b-butttt, these women represent swing districts that Trump won in 2016. Waters and The Squad hold safe D seats and coming out for impeachment wasn’t a political risk. It’s apples and oranges. Okay. First off, repping a swing district is not an excuse to abdicate your constitutional duty. Secondly, they aren’t even leaders among the flipped swing district freshmen on calling for impeachment. Months earlier we heard impeachment calls from Katie Porter, Lauren Underwood, Tom Malinowski, Harley Rouda, Mike Levin, do you want me to go on or is the point clear? The “badasses” didn’t even lead among the Freshman Flippers. Hell, a fucking Republican* beat them to it! Calling them leaders is pathetic. They’ve exhibited exactly zero moral courage. They made a self serving political calculation that ignored over two years of flagrant corruption and lost lives. Jack Donaghy just walked in with their Followship Awards.
Actress Alyssa Milano tried to take credit for launching the #MeToo movement. Except #MeToo was created by black feminist Tarana Burke, over ten years prior. 47% of white women voted for Donald Trump, compared with only 4% of black women, yet white women centered themselves in the 2017 Women’s March and completely sidelined Black Lives Matter. Sadie Alexander, a black feminist lawyer, was advocating and extolling the benefits of women being in the workplace back in the 1930’s, but it’s Betty Friedan who gets credit for that idea in her “groundbreaking” book The Feminist Mystique, which wasn’t published until 1963. And let’s not even get started on the blatant racism of iconic suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. In other words, this happens a lot, this erasure of black women’s prescience and risks and hard work. White women, we’re not doing great. The five “badasses” have bonded in part over their shared national security backgrounds (three are ex-military, two are ex-CIA). Rep. Elissa Slotkin told Bash that the Ukraine scandal really hit home for them because it involves national security. I’m not saying it doesn’t, but does it bother anyone else that they only got off their asses and “made the tough call” once Trump’s rampant corruption specifically pertained to their area of expertise? In other words, they felt no compunction to act until it personally affected them. That’s not courage. That’s peak white woman. It’s time to do better.
*Rep Justin Amash is now an Independent.
Clams with Bacon and Sauerkraut
- A small drizzle of olive oil
- ½ lb. thick fatty bacon, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained (store bought is fine)
- 1 cup hard cider (you can sub beer, but do NOT sub regular apple cider - too much sugar)
- 2 dozen littleneck clams, cleaned (see Recipe Notes)
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Place a large, high sided skillet that has a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until crisped and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but about 2 tbs of the bacon fat. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cumin seeds, jalapeno, and onion slices. Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Now add the sauerkraut and hard cider. Adjust the heat so the cider is just simmering. Stir just to evenly distribute then add the clams. Place the lid on the skillet and let the clams cook until they open. I like to check every few minutes and pull the clams as they open. That way, you don’t overcook anybody.
- When all the clams have opened (discard any that do not, they aren’t safe to eat), place any early openers you’ve already removed back into the skillet. Shut off the heat. Add the bacon bits to the clams (or garnish as you serve) and spoon the clams plus all that tasty broth into 2 individual bowls. Serve immediately with torn crusty bread for sopping up the broth.