Liberals LOVED it! Heather Digby Parton was inspired to write that Elizabeth Warren is the Badass America needs. Here's the tag line for that article:
Long after she took herself out of the running for president, Warren keeps making a bigger difference than anyone.My question is: how did that speech make a difference?
I doubt anyone thinks that a speech on the floor of the Senate changes the mind of any of her colleagues who serve in that body. So I don't think that is what Parton was talking about. But how about the American public?
For over fifty years now we've been having a debate in this country over a woman's right to chose. And let's be very clear - that's EXACTLY what this current bru-ha-ha over Planned Parenthood is all about. By now, most of us have figured out where we stand on that one. What role does a "badass" speech about it play?
The one thing we can say in response to that question is that it makes pro-choicers feel good to hear someone give vent to their own frustrations. It's also important for people to know that their own views are being represented in our country's most powerful deliberative body. That's a good thing. But does it make a difference?
I saw that article by Parton not long after I read this from the timeline of one of my Facebook friends:
For whatever it's worth, there was a time when abortion was considered the best option for my first pregnancy. It wasn't because I made bad choices, or was unmarried, or poor or sleeping around.What ensued was a very long comment section where a whole lot of people opened up about the questions they harbor about what it means to be pro-life/pro-choice. In other words, it created something we rarely see, an opening for an honest conversation.
Perhaps abortion is a black and white issue for you, I respect this. We should stand behind what we believe. But don't assume just because a woman has an abortion she's a slut or irresponsible or incapable of unselfish behavior, just because an ISSUE is black and white, PEOPLE never are.
It's not just about poor choices.
And yes, I am very definitely pro-life. But I'm also pro-compassion.
I would submit to you that, when we want to shore up our colleagues (i.e., take care of the business Bernice Johnson Reagon calls "home"), a speech like the one from Sen. Warren is just what the doctor ordered. But when we want to make a difference, we've got to engage our empathy with friends, neighbors, family, co-workers by listening to how they view an issue and then talk from our own hearts and lives. It's how we participate at a micro-level to create an opening.
Badass liberals have a role to play. But I still think that when it comes to the question of how change happens in a democracy, Barack Obama got it right way back in 2005.
I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate...
Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.