Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill
February 8, 2017
Washington, DC – In approving Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, the Republican-dominated Senate showed its true colors. The white nationalism, misogyny and intolerance on view was appalling.
When Elizabeth Warren stood up to read from a letter the late Coretta Scott King had written about Jeff Sessions, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told her to sit down, and shut up. He pushed his colleagues into voting to formally rebuke her, using a Senate rule that has rarely, if ever, been subject to a vote. Not a single Republican Senator stood up to allow King’s words to be entered into the Senate records. They would rather erase history than recognize its lessons.
But while the Republicans follow a course of division, racism and injustice, others are charting a more courageous path. Senators including Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders, and Tom Udall took the floor to read the same passages from Coretta Scott King’s letter. Tellingly, after silencing Elizabeth Warren, Mitch McConnell did not invoke the same rule against his male colleagues.
Coretta King’s daughter, Bernice King, reminds us to “keep your message positive; those who oppose peace and justice want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.”
In that spirit, NOW expresses gratitude to the senators who are standing up for equality and fairness. And we celebrate the resistance movement that is daily finding ways to reject the white nationalist agenda being fomented by Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and the Republican Senate. Jeff Sessions may now be Attorney General, but he in no way represents our ideal of justice.
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