Nevertheless, #ShePersisted...A #Herald For #Change?
Hey Everyone!! :-)
Today, I wanted to talk about something that happened recently that really made me think. During the Senate debate over the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a man who said he would like the KKK if they didn't smoke pot and who called a white civil rights attorney a "traitor to his race," for Attorney General, Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King, widow of the renowned civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1986 when Mr. Sessions had been nominated for a federal judgeship. Ms. Scott King's letter was 10 pages long, so I'm not going to discuss everything that she spoke about in it. However, two things her letter said were that Mr. Sessions "used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters" and "to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens."
While Senator Warren attempted to read these statements into the record, she was silenced by Republicans and banned from speaking on the Senate floor. In an admirably defiant stand against tyranny, Senator Warren turned to the media and social media to ensure that her message reached the voters, in spite of Republican opposition to free speech.
I confess, I've had my doubts about Senator Warren's commitment to Progressive causes at times due to the fact that she occasionally seems unwilling to buck the establishment and fight for her principles. Still, there have been several instances during her tenure as a Senator when I wanted to give her a standing ovation for her willingness to stand up for regular Americans. Even with all those other examples of her desire to be a champion of the people, I consider her demonstration of strength and determination in her opposition to Jeff Sessions's nomination to be one the finest moments in her political career.
Due to all the public outrage over the way Senate Republicans treated Senator Warren, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was forced to issue a statement about why he thought it was appropriate to deny a fellow Senator her right to speak on the Senate floor. In his press statement, Senator McConnell said, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted." Those words expressed an arrogance and sense of entitlement that infuriated the American people, and I personally believe they may haunt Senator McConnell to his grave.
In fact, the phrase, "Nevertheless, she persisted" became a rallying cry for many on the left; a symbol of an instance when power tried to silence truth, but power lost. Those three words highlight the effectiveness of persistence. And at a time when many Americans are disgusted and disheartened by the hate and fear-mongers who have taken over our government, that symbol provided a much-needed boost for morale.
However, many on the right continue to mock that call to arms. I, personally, had a neighbor inform me that "Nevertheless, she persisted" is a "weak" rallying cry. I knew immediately he -- yes, of course, he -- was wrong, but I needed to think about it for a minute before I could put into words why he was wrong.
There are several memes circulating that point out those words are a good summation for the history of women's rights, and that's true. But that's not all those words represent. If you think about it, all human achievements, from the greatest to the smallest, both good and bad, throughout the whole of human history, can be described using almost those exact words. Again, think about it.
Two brothers dreamed of flying. Everyone told them it was impossible. Nevertheless, they persisted.
A group of people who had been treated as inferior for generations were determined to be granted equal rights under the law. They were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned, and even murdered. Nevertheless, they persisted.
A lonely young man, languishing in a prison cell, wrote a book in which he envisioned a Utopian future for his country. Given his circumstances, it seemed impossible that his goals would ever be realized. Nevertheless, he persisted...and in the process murdered millions of innocent civilians and plunged the world into war.
See, that's the thing. Persistence tends to pay off no matter who is doing the persisting or what they ultimately hope to achieve. And people who are evil seldom see themselves that way.
So, far from being a "weak" rallying cry, "Nevertheless, she persisted" neatly encompasses the enormity and indomitability of the human spirit, in all of its terrible beauty. The power of a single determined person is formidable. The power of a group of determined people is irresistible, and it can change the tides of history...for good or ill. It all depends on who persists the most and what target they've set their sights upon. I know which side I'll be lending my persistence to. Do you?