Posted by: minnow | November 3, 2019

I Would Not Resign

This week Katie Hill, newly elected millennial Democrat from California resigned from the House. In her statement she points out the double standard under which we operate. Still, she resigned. She pointed out how the person holding the highest office in the land was heard bragging about his sexual assaults and was still elected, supported by the religious right–the self-proclaimed “moral authority” in our nation. Yet she resigned. She explained that the pictures of her, which have caused the uproar, were taken and published without her knowledge and against her will. She further explained that she and those closest to her have received threats, including the threat of a slow leak of more photos which she believed would continue to be a distraction from the only person who deserves to be investigated–the President. So, her last act as a Congresswoman was to vote for the Impeachment resolution against 45. And then she resigned.

I would NOT have resigned.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not fault Ms Hill for acting within her own conscious but I would not have given in to the despicable behavior of the right. In my speech to Congress I would, perhaps, have pointed out the same double standard Hill highlighted but I would have come to a different conclusion for how to respond. Hill was elected to do a job. As far as anyone has seen she has been doing just that. Certainly being publicly dragged through the mud by ugly, vicious people whose only hope is that she gives in is not something we have a right to ask another person to endure. Feeling overwhelmed and having to explain to family, friends, colleagues, and constituents is difficult, maddening, and an embarrassment.  Yes, it would be a distraction. Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, threats are frightening. YES! Yes. yes… BUT–The double standard would have made it imperative for me to stand my ground.

Bullying tactics are used because they succeed. Lies are repeated because they work. And they work because nice people, kind people, empathetic people, moral people don’t stand up to bullies, don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to put our families, friends, and colleagues through the pain. We don’t want innocent people, whose only “crime” is being associated with us, to be targeted. Our mistakes or even our causes shouldn’t cause others suffering. When the cost is measured late in the game–after the dirt comes out or the struggle begins, it almost always becomes too great to let our allies bear. After all, they didn’t sign up for THAT.

I sound heartless, but I honestly believe we don’t care about the other, about justice, freedom, or truth. At least, we don’t yet care about them enough. Sure, the GOP and 45 have sullied our nation’s reputation throughout the world, but most of us think–even if 45 is re-elected, we’ll be able to weather the storm. Most of us may be a little worried about climate change, a little tired of endless wars, a little frightened by mass shootings, or a bit concerned about the cost of healthcare but most of us are still “doing okay”. We take care of our own and don’t know many people outside our immediate circles. Most of us don’t see the people who aren’t “doing okay”. The homeless guy panhandling outside the grocery doesn’t count. He may causes us a twinge of guilt as we pass by. But we tell ourselves he can go to the homeless shelter if he really needs help and chose to be irritated that we even feel guilty. After all, how can we know we wouldn’t just be feeding an addition.  When we get to our car we flip on some music for a distraction and forget about him by the time we pull out of the parking lot.

I understand that asking Katie Hill to stay and fight would be asking her to do something I haven’t signed up to do myself. And so, I don’t ask. Still, I wish she’s stayed. I’d like to be writing a blog defending her right to remain in Congress, to do the job she was elected to do. I want I be telling the double standard bearers of the GOP to go look in a mirror, which is kind of ironic. The saddest lesson in the whole Katie Hill saga is that until doing that which is right becomes more valuable to us than our personal comfort and security, we will continue to let the bullies win. Regardless of how well intended our ideas are, until defending them becomes a matter of personal integrity we remain a people protected by our privilege, insulated by good fortune, and unwilling to take an honest account of ourselves.

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