Murkowski and Collins Are Not the Feminist Heroes You Want Them To Be
A lot of people are identifying with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today, but a closer look suggests that they aren’t the feminist heroes they’re being made out to be.
The two women, along with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were “no” votes for Friday morning’s Obamacare “skinny repeal.” That makes them some of the more humane Senate Republicans, but the bar is pretty low.
The easiest explanation for why McCain is getting the attention and Collins and Murkowski aren’t is because we knew for several days that these two women would vote no. McCain was up in the air. The coverage focusing on McCain has more to do with his deranged theatricality, and the deranged theatricality of the news cycle itself, than it has to do with sexism.
Two Republicans do not good feminist icons make.
For example, Susan Collins offered a revisionist history of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing, defending him against accusations of racism. His policies, particularly the war on drugs, stand to ruin many innocent lives.
“Senator Collins is leading the fight to confirm the most racist, homophobic, anti-woman, anti-immigrant person we could possible imagine to be the defender of the U.S. Constitution,” former Maine State Representative Diane Russell told the Nation.
Collins also voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) when Warren read a letter aloud from Martin Luther King Jr.’s late widow, Coretta Scott King, that criticized Sessions’ treatment of African Americans.
“After Warren was rebuked, three Democratic senators, all men, read the letter aloud without any senator invoking the rule,” the Portland Press Herald reported.
Murkowski, for her part, is hardly better. In 2014, she added a provision to the Violence Against Women Act that made it so that Alaska’s native tribes had a harder time pursuing domestic-violence cases. Specifically, it made it so that Alaska tribal courts could not prosecute non-native tribe members in cases of domestic violence against a native tribe member. She later reversed her position after pressure from constituents, and the provision was repealed.
Anyway, I’m sure we can find some better icons than Collins or Murkowski. May I suggest that instead we “yaaaas kween” the activists who risked arrest to save Medicaid instead?