But We Are Just Two Harmless Old Ladies!

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While having them arrested may well have been excessive, the emphasis on the two women involved being defenseless elderly women here in this post at Daily Kos was a bit much for my sensibilities. Here are some excerpts from the post, and then from the comments:

For a 61 year old woman, I had a terrifically interesting day. On Wednesday, February 20, 2007 I got arrested – along with a 73 year old woman named Dot. We entered Sen. Gordon Smith’s office and asked the receptionist if we couldn’t speak to Senator Smith or one of his aides. We were informed that Senator Smith was in Salem today – and no aide except one involved with immigration issues was present in the office today. I asked if Sen. Smith or his aides would be in his office tomorrow and I was told that in order to speak to the senator a voter would have to submit a request in writing. The receptionist’s answer was an acceptable response – but she ignored the fact I had just indicated that we would be willing to speak to one of his aides in consideration of the busy senator’s schedule. I did not believe a “written request should be necessary to speak to one of the senator’s aides so at this point I wondered, “Does this senator believe he has any obligation to the citizen – to his fellow Oregonians?” Why wouldn’t a telephone call provide the senator OR one of his aides with sufficient notice that one of his constituents had a desire to express an opinion on an important and pressing issue such as the Iraq war. I felt that the receptionist was being evasive – and that the senator was prepared to duck and dodge any request for a serious conversation on the issue. …

Imagine the gall of these women! Expecting someone as important as a Senator to speak with old, female constituents who obviously can’t contribute much money to his re-election is just un-American!

Naturally, a Senator that would have elderly women arrested for exercising their free speech rights is a Rethuglican!

I bet they would have been wrestled to the ground by SS agents if they had brought GASP COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, the humanity!

Smith’s staffers sure are weenies. Real Republican staffers would beat the old women with truncheons and stomp on them in their jackboots before “letting” the police take them into protective custody…along with their entire extended families.

Women in their 60s and 70s don’t need this kind of patronizing trivialization, not when this demographic group includes politically powerful folks like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. Or maybe subtextually undermining women like Pelosi and Clinton is the point? Encouraging an opponent not to take you seriously isn’t generally viewed as strategically effective, so something odd is going on here.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to But We Are Just Two Harmless Old Ladies!

  1. Diane says:

    That was bothering me, too. It reminds me of something I saw on television last week. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was going on and on about an “elderly” man who survived one of the twisters in his house. He was 64, for god’s sake.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    I know people in their sixties who run marathons, and people in their twenties who can barely climb a flight of stairs. In a strange way, maybe it is even a little encouraging that Smith’s staff didn’t stereotype the two women as weak, unthreatening old ladies, even if that is apparently how they think of themselves.