Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Holes of Davida: Allen West

There’s been some serious drama going on in the House over the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. Congress puts a limit on how much money the government is allowed to spend, and that amount will be reached in about a week. (Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner delivered a special address last night about it.) To fix this, Congress must raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit. Republicans are supporting the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, which bars any increase in the debt ceiling unless Congress first passes a balanced budget amendment. It wouldn’t actually balance the budget; it just demands that the budget be balanced before the debt ceiling is raised. It would also negatively impact the economy and put Social Security and Medicare in danger, according to the White House communications director.

Democrats are against the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the pro-Israel, pro-choice Jewish woman who is the Democratic National Committee Chairperson, is no exception. A week ago, she said about Allen West, a Tea Partier, “The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a Member from South Florida.” She also said that the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan “slashes Medicaid and critical investments essential to winning the future in favor of protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires, and companies who ship American jobs overseas.”

West emailed Wasserman Schultz, CCing several other congresspeople, saying, “Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district! I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior…which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

I think everyone, even across party lines, would be just a little taken aback at West’s diatribe towards Wasserman Schultz. She did not say anything that deserved such a harsh response. Certainly West has a right to defend himself and his opinions and counter what she said, but he took it an eensy bit too far.

It’s clear that West’s invective is horrifying on any level, but I wouldn’t have written about it on a feminist blog if it hadn’t been for his last sentence: “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

I’m assuming that West’s definition of being a lady is being polite and refined, a sweet little girl who blushes and giggles only speaks when spoken to. Well, guess what? Being a lady is totally overrated. It’s a heck of a lot more fun to say what you want to say when you want to say it, and the whole blushing and giggling thing gets really boring after a while. I just find it kinda sad that West will only respect women who act like that, and that he’ll call a woman who doesn’t “vile, unprofessional, and despicable,” accuse her of “heinous characterless behavior,” tell her to “shut the heck up.” If a male congressperson had said the same thing as Wasserman Schultz did, would West have responded the same way? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Feminists seriously need to work hard to end positive/negative perceptions of women. If women want to act polite and refined, they should be able to without criticism; if women want to say what they want to, they should be able to without criticism. They should be given respect from people of every gender, age, race, and creed for acting either way. We need to start calling people out when they say anything about how women should act, speak, dress, or anything else. It’s a woman’s choice, and she shouldn’t be judged because of it.

I dub Allen West an inductee into the Black Holes of Davida - people who let us feminists down by advocating misogyny, sexism, abuse, and other anti-woman thoughts and actions. 

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