Target: Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana
Goal: Demand a public apology for formally silencing Senator Warren during a debate at the U.S. Senate.
Republican members of the U.S. Senate voted to formally silence their democratic colleague Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts, during the session to discuss the nomination of Senator Jeff Session as the new Attorney General. While reading a letter by iconic civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, Ms. Warren was interrupted numerous times and then ceremoniously silenced by a room full of men.
Gender inequality takes many forms, be it unequal pay or different access to education. Women have made great strides in our society, from the suffragettes to the modern working mom. Still, as women step forward, their voices are too often diminished or silenced, their attitudes, actions, and clothing over-watched and over-scrutinized.
The last public exhibition of how women can be treated unfairly despite their achievements was given by how Republican senators addressed Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren chose to present her opposition to the nomination of fellow senator Jeff Session by reading a letter from 1986. Written by Coretta Scott King, the letter gave clear and robust arguments to question Mr. Sessions’ suitability to the post of Attorney General due to his dubious racial bias. Senator Warren was barred from speaking on the floor throughout the remainder of the debate. Republican senators invoked the so-called Rule 19, a senate procedure not mobilized when other senators, such as Bernie Sanders (Vermont) and Jeff Merkley (Oregon), read into the record the same letter brought by Sen. Warren.
Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, was presiding over the chamber at the moment when Sen. Warren was interrupted, and decided to accept Republicans’ objections and send Senator Warren back to her seat. Sen. Daines should publicly apologize for allowing his colleague to be silenced. Sign our petition demanding this, and show solidarity with Senator Warren and all other women who speak up and persist fighting for gender equality.
Dear Senator Daines,
The U.S. Senate recently hosted a session to discuss the nomination of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. What could have been a demonstration of productive democratic debate instead became an expression of lasting double standards in our society. Senator Elizabeth Warren, from Massachusetts, could not finish her remarks based on a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King.
Republican senators argued that Sen. Warren violated Rule 19, which bars any senator from impugning the motives of any other or imputing conduct or motive unworthy of a senator. However, there is evidence that Rule 19 was arbitrarily mobilized against Sen. Warren, particularly since other Democratic senators were later permitted to read the very same letter.
While presiding over the chamber, it was your responsibility to guarantee equal opportunity for speech and avoid any gender-biased attitude. I urge you to apologize to Senator Warren publicly, and express respect for your female colleagues.
[your name here]
Photo credit: C-Span