When the unthinkable happened on Election Night, many Democrats tilted towards tradition and congratulated the victor. Some were more conciliatory than others, but given the President-elect was an untraditional candidate who spent more than a year-and-a-half insulting sizable portions of the U.S. population, it’s a wonder why most Democrats even bothered to extend the luxury of decency to a bigot.
Thankfully, there have been politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who have not bothered with actions that could be considered gracious, opting instead for moves far more virtuous: sticking to one’s principles.
As some Black celebrities rushed to Trump Tower to kiss the ring and bend over for the burgeoning tyrant, Waters didn’t bother with pretense and pageantry. Speaking with MSNBC last December, the longtime congresswoman said, "I don't trust him, I don't believe him, I have no intentions of sitting down with him; I'm going to fight him every inch of the way."
Waters rationalized her stance by noting that the incoming president has "stepped on everybody and has no respect for his colleagues" or his political foes. As for Democrats in general, she argued that they tend to be too “nice” and are willing to “bend over backwards” to work with a Republican majority––an effort never made when Democrats control Congress. Case in point: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his delightfully hypocritical actions with cabinet appointment hearings.
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Not only has this party worked to actively obstruct and vilify the first Black president, they used a demagogue who sought to humiliate the first Black president as his successor. Why even bother pretending the Grand Old Party and its attitudinal new head are anything other than what they have shown themselves to be? What is the point in pretending you can work and play nice with them? Why not speak of them as the threats their actions suggest them to be?
Before the election, Waters categorized Tangerine Mussolini’s campaign rhetoric as “unpatriotic,” asking, “Who is this man and where did he come from?” Such questions have become more pertinent as the incoming commander-in-chief has picked fights with the CIA, plays the role of parrot when echoing foreign policy stances held by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and continues to provide reason after reason to believe he is ill-equipped for the job of president.
That makes it all the more important for Waters to continue to speak out. Last week, she sharply declared to a reporter, “The FBI Director has no credibility.” This week, in an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Waters said that if the President-elect is proven to have colluded with the Russian government in any way to help him win the presidential election, it is an impeachable offense.
Maxine Waters is an icon. pic.twitter.com/hD3WjnvwRo— deray mckesson (@deray) January 19, 2017
Of course, it’s her remarks on MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall that have gained the most attention this week. "I don't like him, I don't respect him, I don't want to be involved with him," Waters flatly stated. She went on to describe him as a “danger.”
Moreover, while it’s comforting to see now more than 50 Democratic members of Congress say they will forgo attending the inauguration, Waters recently declared on Twitter, “I never ever contemplated attending the inauguration or any activities associated w/ @realDonaldTrump. I wouldn't waste my time.”
I never ever contemplated attending the inauguration or any activities associated w/ @realDonaldTrump. I wouldn't waste my time.— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) January 15, 2017
I’ve always liked Maxine Waters. In my mind, she is Maxine Shaw from Living Single if Maxine Shaw left Kyle Barker, rode the maverick to Los Angeles, and aged gracefully while gloriously shutting down conservatives. That said, her refusal to speak about the incoming president with the language his pathetic antics deserve have led to an even greater appreciation for her.
As much as I adore Michelle Obama, the mantra “when they go low, we go high” has its limitations. The lowest of lows just won the presidential election. Treat him the way he plans to treat the marginalized.
Months ago, I wrote about the need for the Democratic Party to court more Black women to run for office, as they are their most loyal voting bloc. It is not lost on me that a few Democrats are unwilling to front for a would-be fascist, and Black women like Maxine Waters are the most outspoken. Hopefully, she will inspire more of her colleagues––notably in the Senate––to speak just as toughly.
A monster deserves nothing less.