There. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way,
Now, let’s talk about what really happened in the Michigan Legislature when Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, silenced two female legislators because he and other GOP members didn’t like their frank language the day before.
What we think happened was that Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, suggested that the bill govern vasectomies as well as abortions. And Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, in rejecting the abortion bill, told the male-dominated chamber Wednesday: “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina. But, no means no.”
What we think happened was that the men in the room — and a few women who must call their nether parts something else — lost their minds. And the next day, Stamas would not allow the two women to speak — on anything. Not just abortion, but on any bill or to introduce constituents to the chamber.
But here’s what really happened in the Michigan Legislature this week: Democracy was shut down. And women’s voices were silenced. If our state’s other legislators, our voters and our patriots allow it, then we deserve what we get.
Lisa Brown noted that Michigan House Republicans never said why she was banned from speaking, but that all that she heard was criticism of the word “vagina.”
To be honest, I’m appalled/disappointed/outraged that Republican lawmakers in Michigan would stifle the voice of a duly-elected member of their body simply because they don’t like the fact that she criticized their efforts to insert government into her vagina – figuratively and literally. What’s more disconcerting is that what we’ve witnessed in Michigan doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. Here in Wisconsin, we had Republican State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald assert his opponent, Lori Compas, couldn’t possibly have been behind the effort to recall him not to mention her own campaign against him, saying, “I don’t for one minute believe she is the organizing force behind this whole thing.” Sen. Fitzgerald asserted Compas’ husband and labor unions were really behind the effort to recall him, as if the idea of a woman having political beliefs and the ability to act effectively on those beliefs was somehow impossible.
Ultimately, I think what we’re seeing is a generation of Republican elected officials who quite simply don’t respect women, and that’s a terrible message to send.