Democratic Representatives Deb Haaland (of New Mexico), Ilhan Omar (of Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (of Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (of Michigan) gathered at Netroots Nation this Saturday, July 13 to participate in the “Making Herstory: The Women Who are Shifting the Balance of Power in Washington” panel. (Video clips embedded below and throughout, as a heads up.)
Moderated by Aimee Allison (Founder of She The People), the panel opened with a lot of energy and enthusiasm from the audience. Before these women appeared in conversation with one another, Pennslyvania Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, and Pennslyvania Rep. Summer Lee also wowed the audience.
A particular highlight? When PA State Rep. Lee called out the way we too often center whiteness as a norm—and that not everything in politics is about Trump. To much applause, she said, “I may not be a white progressive, but I'm the progressive that you need. When I ran it wasn't about toppling Trump, it was about toppling the system that created Trump." (Italics emphasis mine.)
Let’s dig into some more highlights, then get to the conversation that got the audience on its feet again and again... And spurred what is certain to be a thousand memes.
Rep. Barbara Lee, who sported a truly memorable earring reading “STAY WOKE” exuded a lot of the fun, passionate energy that buzzes around Netroots. But her words on stage weren’t just fluff—she discussed the importance of reparations, saying it is our “moral responsibility to look the brutal past in the eye.” She also discussed the Hyde Amendment, war with Iran, and how important it is for Democrats to win back the Senate and elect a Democratic president—“whomever she may be.” (Yes—she!)
Here’s the earring, by the way:
Even after she left the stage, Rep. Lee got countless nods from the progressive women in conversation with Allison. But before they got to talking, the representatives got a standing ovation…
Rep. Haaland talked with Rep. Omar about disrupting the status quote…
Rep. Omar also had a handful of powerful gems, including when talking about the kids currently jailed in detention centers at the southern border. "If there were dogs in those cages,” she said o the audience, “every single member of Congress would vote to make sure those cages didn't exist."
Like PA Rep. Lee, Omar also pointed out that while Trump is a problem, he isn’t the beginning or end of it. "I think it's really important for us not to normalize the behavior of this president and this administration," Omar stressed. "It's a constant pile of garbage that comes out of his mouth, the mouths of the people that speak for him, his administration."
Rep. Pressley is absolutely incredible here:
What to do about innocent children in cages? For Pressley, it’s not just about improving conditions—giving kids toothbrushes don’t make it suddenly OK. “If we improve the conditions of a child in a cage, they are still in a cage,” Pressley told the audience. "What is happening in these ICE facilities... they pilot how they can abuse privacy rights, how they can abuse human rights, and they scale that up.”
And on Trump, Pressley stressed that she’s over the “palace intrigue" which is, basically, the media circus surrounding the sitting president.
One of the most notable phrases uttered had to come from Rep. Tlaib, who went back to one of her original refrains after winning her election: Impeaching the mother f---er.
”We're gonna impeach the M-F-er, don't worry," she said to the audience, whose applause suggests they recognized her words. "We went from 'Oh, let's not talk about it' to close to 80 members of Congress coming out and supporting an impeachment inquiry into this president."
You can check out (free!) live streams here:
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