“Horace, fetch me the Fainting Couch, this instant!”
One of the many things that kind of drives me batty about our current society is how we really are good at misplacing our priorities. For an example, look no further than last weekend’s women’s room confrontation between Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema and a progressive activist group Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) over the Reconciliation Bill, aka Joe Biden’s Agenda.
I’ll start by saying filming someone in a bathroom is not something I think is a good idea for various reasons, not the least of which is the collateral damage of someone who might just be in there to answer nature’s call and are not expecting to be a bystander in the current reconciliation bill fight. Maybe wait outside for her. And to be truly fair, Sinema could have said “please give me a minute, I can come out and answer a few of your questions.”
That said, the pearl-clutching that ensued was both frustrating and entirely predictable. It was reminiscent of the June 2018 Sarah Huckabee Sanders incident, where the Red Hen restaurant owner asked her to leave, based on her, well, let’s see…oh yes, blatant lying and supporting the tyrannical nut job we had for a president. Trump had pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal the previous month and the controversy over the appalling child separation at the border was in full bloom, but Sarah the Liar not being able to get past the cheese course before getting the heave-ho was the deep deep focus of the DC punditry. “Civility!” cried the columnists before collapsing on the Fainting Couch.
“Civility!” is the battle cry now, as it was then, and before. But civility often doesn’t get the job done and is used by more powerful interests to shut people down. Just look at ACT UP, the LGBTQ rights group that used some loud tactics to get people to give half a damn about AIDS during the 80s. ACT UP members were frustrated that their loved ones were dying and how it was being ignored by people in power. They weren’t being heard. Did they get results? Just ask a certain famous doctor.
See, these tactics that have the pearl clutchers rolling around on the Fainting Couch likely wouldn’t happen if the targets would do the thing that requires the least amount of effort: listening. Sinema has been rather fastidious at not listening to her constituents. She’s quite good at it. An activist posted on Twitter that following her into a bathroom was an act of desperation: