Silencing Senator, or Silencing Freedom?
On Wednesday, February 8, Senator Elizabeth Warren was unexpectedly interrupted during her address to the Senate by fellow Senator, Lindsey Graham, and ultimately forced to leave the Senate floor mid-articulation; speech unfinished and voice unheard and disregarded.
One would think that a notion such as freedom of speech would be not only embraced within political proceedings, but also so profoundly practiced. Personally, I was astounded to watch the video of Senator Warren getting attacked by a fellow Senate member, who clearly had issues with what she had to say, and was forced to cut her speech short and take a seat, because a few members of the Senate were offended.
However, I feel as though there is more to this action than it just being flat out rude. Senator Elizabeth Warren is a very outspoken and liberal Democrat, both characteristics that stray very far from the current political state of the government. Warren, speaking in opposition to the appointment of Jeff Sessions to attorney general, has received much opposition and disdain from Republican figures for speaking her mind, and it seems as though as soon as Warren’s speech became just the slightest hint of “controversial,” she immediately is interrupted and denied the right to speak her mind. However, upon pondering this action, I find it disturbing that the words of Coretta Scott King from years prior were considered such a scandal amongst Senators. Moreover, the accusation that the words of Martin Luther King’s should be considered defamatory and unsuitable for a platform of discussion within the political system under the public eye.
The issue with regards to the, “bigger picture” lies in the fact that a liberal, educated woman was silenced within the political system. And I personally am surprised that the backlash of this occurrence isn’t larger, for just the simple notion that an elected official was told they could not continue to speak their mind for the sake of a colleague’s reputation is unsettling. We place our trust in the political officials to voice the opinions, in theory. And one of the biggest reasons why our country continues to utilize elected officials in government is because in theory, we believe they are voicing our opinions and discussing the issues that matter most to we the people. Furthermore, seeing as though the majority of offices held in the current state of our government appear to be more conservative republican, heterosexual males, it seems as though the voices that once spoke out on behalf of the underrepresented are slowly diminishing, and it is truly disheartening to see that the few that are still attempting to speak are being told to be quiet.
To further this argument, if our political officials can’t even speak their mind, what makes us think that we will be able to as well? Its a very disheartening notion, and by no means do I think the best course of action is to lose all hope and succumb to the silence. But I believe that the masses need to become aware of these types of instances that are becoming to frequent the lives of individual’s who least expect it. The hold on our so-called freedom is becoming tighter and tighter, in subtler ways than one might think, and its the accumulation of these subtle instances that has snowballed into the tremendous feeling of dissidence that has began to shadow over the government. And given the circumstances, I feel as though our nation has been as vocal as ever, refusing to be silent in the face of oppressors, with such great and recent examples being the Women’s March, the protests that happen almost every week now, and with Senator Warren reading the remainder of her speech outside the Senate doors. The citizens of this nation are showing a great amount of resilience, and with that in mind is enough to feel confident that try as they might, the masses will not stay silent anymore. For too long people suppressed their voice because they felt fear of being viewed as dissident, extreme, or un-American. However, with the most recent presidential election, I believe that we have reached the breaking point, to where our working class citizens have decided to say enough is enough.