In the short—and seemingly epically long—time since 45 was elected, we’ve re-examined what it means to react and resist. This week, we want to celebrate a woman who, quite frankly, is in a league of her own. Representative Maxine Waters has served Congress since 1991, but in the past months, she’s come to rally for us all.
Back in January, Waters told MSNBC that FBI director James Comey had no credibility. She refused to attend the inauguration and didn’t short her words in telling us why. “I don’t honor him, I don’t respect him, and I don’t want to be involved with him,” Waters explained succinctly. And when New York Magazine’s The Cut asked her why she has been so outspoken this past week, Waters simply said, “I didn’t have a plot or a plan or a strategy; I didn’t sit down and say ‘I’m going to do this.’ I knew there were people who would be more cautious and a bit concerned about stepping out too far. [But] I decided to forget about caution. I decided to take the gloves off and to go for it.”
It’s not just her actions that set her apart—it’s her direct and naked honesty.
When Bill O’Reilly made a racist (and let’s be honest, ridiculous) comment about her hair last Tuesday, Waters shut him down. “Let me just say this: I’m a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated,” said the congresswoman to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “And I’d like to say to women out there everywhere: Don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are, do what you do, and let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country.”
Waters doesn’t allow the right-wing establishment to imply or assert that her gender, her race, or any aspect of her identity undermine her 40-plus years of earned authority. In doing so, she is an activist for all of us. She draws attention to the real issues amidst an overwhelming cloud of bullshit.
“We know that when a woman speaks truth to power there will be attempts to put her down,” continued Waters. “I’m not going to go anywhere. I’m going to stay on the issues.”