“Nevertheless, she persisted,” are the words that Republican Senators used to justify the silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren from delivering a speech consisting of a letter Coretta Scott King had written 30 years ago.
The importance behind the letter goes back to 1986, when King wrote the letter in an attempt to block Jeff Sessions nomination as a federal judge.
In her letter, she urged lawmakers to reconsider Sessions under the grounds that he “used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”
The letter goes on to warn against Sessions’ corporate interests and racist tendencies. In the latest clash over Trump’s cabinet, Sen. Mitch McConnell objected and ordered Rule XIX, which according to the New York Times, “prohibits debating senators from ascribing to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”
Following the warning, Warren attempted to continue reading the letter written by the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but was ultimately silenced.
Sessions has been under scrutiny for being unqualified and an all around bad choice for attorney general. The Senate voted 49 to 43 to uphold the ruling, but claimed Warren “wasn’t punished for simply reading the letter, but for ignoring warnings about being silenced and delivering a disparaging speech.” Further proving sexist undertones in the government, male democrats including Bernie Sanders took to the floor reciting King’s letter the very next day without objection.
Not discouraged by Republican colleagues, Warren took to Facebook live and streamed to her national following to recite the letter as she had planned. Approximately 6 million people tuned in to heed the words of King’s letter that has just recently become available to the public. Proving that she will not be censored, Warren tweeted, “I will not be silent about a nominee for [attorney general] who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.” The twitter hashtag #LetLizSpeak exploded with popularity in support of fighting against the bigotry that is taking over this country.
The indisputable relevance of King’s testimony from three decades ago should be an indicator to lawmakers and citizens alike that the highest government positions are being given to the highest bidder. We are currently living within a flawed democracy that forbids a voice of reason and truth. The highest paid officials in charge of running one of the most powerful countries in the world are strategically being placed under the wing of President Trump, who is oblivious to how to fulfill his Presidential duties. These puppets on a string are absurdly unqualified to do the jobs they have been given. This country is resorting to archaic approaches that can only be perceived as authoritarian and manipulative.
When even members of the government are being censored from speaking out, it shows the voices of the public are no longer important to the system. The mindset of division, hatred and bigotry that is being set as a global example, is one that the people won’t stand for.
As King wrote in her letter, “It is essential that the people selected to be federal judges respect the basic tenets of our legal system: respect for individual rights and a commitment to equal justice for all.” Considering the President has no regard for constitutional rights, the historical and continuous fight for civil rights will be anything but hindered.