Saturday, November 16, 2019

Let us now praise strong women

You come on with a "come on"
You don't fight fair
That's OK, see if I care
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I'll get right back on my feet again

~~ "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar
Walking into the club like....
On Friday, November 15, 2019, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified before Congress in an open hearing. She was the third person to testify, and while all three State Department officials were impressive, Ms. Yovanovitch struck a special chord in me. 
I thought all three witnesses so far—George Kent, Bill Taylor, and Ms. Yovanovitch—were shining examples of exemplary government service. We hear about the petty bureaucrats, the sycophants, the do-nothings in Congress, the stonewalling in the Senate, the absurdities of the current administration, ad nauseam. It's enough to turn a person off of politics forever. We rarely get to see the hard-working professionals who do their jobs day-in and day-out with competence and integrity. It was a breath of fresh air to see three such knowledgeable, conscientious adults in service to our government, usually working behind the scenes in relative anonymity, provide an example of service. Their goals are not to advance their own positions; their goal is to advance the policies of the United States.
But something about Ms. Yovanovitch was special. Based on the response to my posts on social media, I'm not the only one who felt this way. I'll be the first to admit that I can be quite emotional at times, so I wasn't entirely surprised when the hearing ended and I started crying. The audience at the hearing burst into applause and cheers and gave her a standing ovation. That was what really got to me. In case you missed it, you should watch. 
The utterly ridiculous Gym Jordan (thanks to Esquire magazine for the name) of Ohio tried shouting about some point of order after Chairman Schiff had already gaveled the hearing closed. And then you hear the applause and shouts and see people standing as Ms. Yovanovitch leaves the room. It was something to see. 
But why did it make me cry? I cry at some really silly things sometimes, but there was something about this that got me right in the feels. In addition to being emotional, I am also self-reflective. If I behave a certain way and I'm not sure why I like to try to figure it out. Not that I think it will stop me from behaving that way in the future, but I do like to know the reasons behind why I behave the way I do! 
So I took a day to think about it. 
In addition to what I wrote above about how refreshing it is to see people in the government who are decent, knowledgeable, coherent, and conscientious, what got me about Ms. Yovanovitch is that she was subjected to the same bullshit women have been subjected to for centuries. She was removed from her job merely because she was standing in the way of the so-called president and his minions with their nefarious schemes. By all accounts, she was great at her job, highly respected in the diplomatic corps, and a very hard worker who was sometimes in very dangerous areas. Her good reputation was savaged by others in the furtherance of their shady plot. She did nothing but work for her country for decades and for that she was rewarded with this utterly shoddy and shameless treatment. 
Not to mention the fact that during the hearing, the so-called president went all meangirl on her and sent some nasty tweets her way during the hearing, saying things that were patently untrue and unfair. He did his best to intimidate and bully her. He took his best shot. And you know what? 
She was having none of his bullshit. 
She continued to testify (I can only hope I would have such fortitude), she did not get hysterical or angry (I'm looking at you, Brett Kavanaugh), she just calmly and coolly continued to answer every question that was given her to the best of her ability. She handled herself with strength and grace, and she impressed the hell out of me. 
She was not cowed. She did not bow before his bullying tactics. She was going to have her time before Congress and she was not going to be silenced. 
So when people in the audience stood and cheered for her (it's hard to tell, but it looks like it was mostly women), and I cheered and cried myself, we were doing so for every time people have tried to bully us or make us feel inferior. For every time some dude has mansplained to us. (Hey, did I ever tell you about that idiot ex of mine who tried to show me how to make hospital corners on a bed? Or how to load sheets into the washing machine? This was when I was in my 30s and I'd gone through college, been married for five years, and then lived on my own for ten years. No? Another day, perhaps.) For every time we've been harassed, belittled, objectified, and groped. Ms. Yovanovitch wasn't standing up to a jerk of an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband. She was standing up to the jerk currently occupying the White House of the United States of America. 
And to that, I say, "Fuck yeah!" 
It was vindicating, it was verifying, it was empowering, and there was a certain measure of complete, evil, satisfied glee. 
I don't know what is going to happen in the 2020 election, but I know that the majority of women in America have had it with putting up with this asshole who reminds us of every pig we've ever met in our lives. It seems that there is a segment of the female population who is somewhat masochistic and will never give him up. Kind of like the abusive husband who they stay with because when she tells him that that Mexican guy in the corner is looking at her weird, her husband goes over and beats him up. Yeah, kind of like that. 
But the rest of us are ready to kick that asshole to the curb and say, "I can do better than you. I'm worth more than the shitty treatment you give me. I'm finding myself someone who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I am DONE with you." Then we can top it all off with a nice kick in the nuts. 
THAT is what I felt after Ms. Yovanovitch's testimony. And I don't think I'm the only one.