Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stop Bullying Elizabeth Warren

It seems everywhere I turn in the realm of progressive politics I am exhorted to join the mass of folks pressuring Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, to run for president in 2016. I have a lot of respect for Senator Warren and if she wanted to run I would likely support her. She has stated repeatedly however that she is not running. It is severely disrespectful to continue badgering her on this point for several reasons.

Bullying Senator Elizabeth Warren disrespects her current power and goals. A quick scan through her wikipedia page reveals she has always cared about policies that effect ordinary Americans, particularly policies around finances and financial reform. This focus makes her attractive to the average person as a candidate for president but the average person doesn't know what the president does or what Senator Warren does on a day-to-day basis.

Senator Warren is on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Within that she is on the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, and the Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment. She knows what she cares about. She knows where her power lies. She has more power to change the things that she cares about where she's at than she would ever have as president. If you like her policy concerns, trust her to serve where she has the greatest power to fight for those concerns.

Bullying Senator Elizabeth Warren disrespects her judgement of her strengths and weaknesses. The office of the president is a very diverse job. Senator Warren, while very good at what she does, has not been a politician very long. During that time she has been very focused on the issues that she understands the best and that she is most passionate about. Do we know anything about how she would be in the other aspects of the presidency though. Do we have any idea what her foreign policy choices would be? She gets a lot of attention for her strengths but if she doesn't think she knows enough to take on the full responsibility of the presidency, I trust her judgment on that.

Bullying Senator Elizabeth Warren disrespects her choice on whether she wants to deal with the misogyny that will come from being the first female president. I don't know whether this concern is among the reasons why she doesn't want to run but I do know that racial tension has been on the rise under Obama. Part of this is because there are some folk who are angry there is a black man in the white house. Part of this is because there are some folk that think that because we have a black president that racism is dead and they don't need to worry about it any more. Part of it is because racism is still very much alive and Obama can't address these issues himself without losing political power he'd rather devote to other things. I don't see any reason why the same won't be true when we get our first female president. Issues affecting women will be things that either she would have to shy away from, or she would have to spend too much energy and political capital to make any headway on. As a woman, I'm not looking forward to this. Being president is hard enough. I will not bully someone with institutional disadvantage to put themselves in this position, though I will support them if they want to run and I believe they'll do a good job.

Bullying Senator Elizabeth Warren disrespects the power of the word "no." She is a grown woman who can make her own choices. I'm very uncomfortable with the fact that so many "progressives" are not taking "no" for an answer. This is coercive and disrespects her agency. Is this the message you want to tell your daughters. She may have ideas of what she wants to do but none of that really matters because people will pester her and pester her to do something else unceasingly.

With this I'm going to sign off. This issue has made me angry enough that I just needed to get my thoughts out in a place where I can just post a link whenever I see this bullying behavior and be done with it. Feel free to share your own thoughts about this in the comments.