Why Congress Could Destroy Itself in the Future
WASHINGTON - January 6, 2019
The newly elected US Congress is the most diverse in the history of the country, with 102 women, including a majority of homosexuals, blacks, Latinos, two Native American women, a Somali immigrant and the first Palestinian woman. This portrait is against the background of white elderly men who ruled the House of Representatives for many years.
When Nancy Pelosi entered the House in 1987, there were only 23 women members. As of Thursday, there are 102, almost 90% of whom are Democrats. It was amazing when Pelosi went through a series that included democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Barbara Lee, Jahana Hayes, Lauren Underwood and Sheila Jackson Lee, all women of color.
This really happened. I am U.S. Congresswoman. Not bad for a girl from southwest Detroit who didn't speak English, daughter of Palestinian immigrants.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019
#13thDistrictStrong: You helped change Congress forever. Now, let's get to work to change our neighborhoods. #rootedincommunity pic.twitter.com/Xz511eIcyg
According to analysts, such an active manifestation of women in the political field is caused not only by the intention to confront the current Republican President Donald Trump but also by the desire to "shake" the Democratic Party's establishment from within.
The last famous breakthrough that women achieved in the US election was in 1992, the so-called “Year of Women.” At that time, 47 women were elected to the House of Representatives, 24 of them for the first time. Women also received an additional four seats in the Senate. Thus, their number in Congress has almost doubled.
A reflection of the trend of new elections can be found just walking around Washington: One of the busiest streets of the capital opened a shop with the screaming name "Outrage.” All products are dedicated to women and politics. "Year of women", "Voices for women", "Believe in women", "Respect my existence or expect resistance" -- these mottos emblazon nearly every badge, t-shirt, notebook, and even playing cards. The most popular images are those of former First Lady Michelle Obama and Christine Blazy Ford--the famous accuser of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
American experts note that Trump's bad attitude towards women along with the #MeToo movement motivated women to compete in the 2018 elections. It also highlighted the obstacles that women face in the United States.
What to expect next
So women today have succeeded and equalized their rights with men in politics. Some of the current Congresswomen are ready to fight for the presidency in 2020.
But let's imagine what could happen if a woman wins the presidential election, especially a black woman or the Muslim Ilhan Omar.
Most likely, the composition of the White House will leave much to be desired, with the first change in power placing women at the helm. All freedoms and rights will be focused on them, as more vindictive representatives, and the likelihood of war outside the United States will be huge. Most likely, it will mean war with major world powers such as China and Russia; it will mean the end of the operation in the Middle East, and therefore support for radical groups against Russia in support of Israel or England.
The domestic policy will be aimed at protecting women and limiting the rights of the male population. Women will avenge the once active work of Trump and his supporters; the first to be hit will be Trump, Kavanaugh, and others who were head and shoulders above the female half.
They will be a formidable force, trying to stymie Pelosi and others at every turn and frustrate the new, younger activists who are such an important part of her governing coalition. But change was everywhere, from the line outside the women's bathroom off the House floor (only gained in 2011) to the fans who practically overwhelmed Ocasio-Cortez outside Pelosi’s office.
It's frustrating that in a post #MeToo world women in power are still caricatured as inauthentic. Trump’s sneers at Elizabeth Warren, calling her Pocahontas, are meant to portray her as a phony, faking her ethnic roots. Pelosi, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, are often portrayed as stiff and inauthentic. It frightens the right wing to see urban liberals like Ocasio-Cortez amass real followings and assert their growing power. Thus the right wing tries to take them down with hackneyed caricatures and doctored tapes.
In the case of the Ocasio-Cortez dancing tape, the attempted attack completely backfired.
Of course, the tape went viral and clearly increased her popularity on social media and enhanced her status as a young sensation on Capitol Hill.
And she hit back in the best way--with humor. "You hate me cuz you ain't me, fellas," Ocasio-Cortez said. Then she quickly made a new video of herself dancing outside her new congressional office. In the lighthearted, 11-second clip, she dances along to a line from Edwin Starr's classic Motown hit War: "What is it good for? Absolutely nothing," she sings (or lip-syncs), pointing half playfully, half defiantly at the camera before bursting into laughter and flinging herself through the door of her office as if she had occupied her seat on Capitol Hill for years, not 24 hours.
This time felt like the start of something truly new and important. It was clear that it rattled the president, as he ranted about calling a national emergency to get his wall built and said he was willing to let the government showdown go on forever.
Today is a new day and it's not Trump's Washington anymore.