Throughout the ongoing attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare), female Republican senators have been at the front of a push for a reasonable plan that does not hurt millions of Americans. In June, Senators Murkowski and Collins stood up for women's health -- and specifically Planned Parenthood. And on Tuesday, July 25, Senators Murkowski, Collins, and Capito all said they would vote against repealing Obamacare without a replacement. Without their votes, that plan failed.
Also on Tuesday, Collins and Murkowski were the only two Republicans to vote against opening a discussion on repealing Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence had to come in to be the tie-breaker to get Republicans the vote.
These women had been left out of the conversation while Republican senators were working on their version of a health care bill -- and, clearly, the men now see they need their help if they want to get anything done.
Now, these three female politicians are facing backlash from their party -- and it's taking on a violent tone.
On Monday, July 24, Blake Farenthold, a Republican congressman from Texas, said,
There are some female senators from the Northeast — if it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.
So, yes, he said that he would want to challenge Murkowski, Collins, and Capito to a duel. And if you haven't seen Hamilton or taken AP U.S. History, an "Aaron Burr-style" duel likely refers to Burr shooting and killing Alexander Hamilton.
President Donald Trump took aim at Murkowski on Wednesday morning, July 26. He tweeted that she "really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday," by voting against party lines on health care.
This opened the door for more criticism made against Murkowski by Republicans for a lack of party loyalty.
And thus, on Wednesday afternoon, Representative Buddy Carter of Georgia spoke on MSNBC, where he was asked what he thinks about the president going after Murkowski. Carter answered,
I think it's perfectly fair. Let me tell you, somebody needs to go over there to that senator and snatch a knot in their ass.
No, really, he said that:
Now, it's understandable for there to be frustration from Republicans, as this has been a long and frustrating struggle that seems to be getting them nowhere.
But threats of this nature are pretty much never OK. And before you come for me in the comments saying feminists can't ask for equal treatment and then complain when someone says something mean, please note that I'm referring to the violent nature of these statements from male politicians about female politicians.
Physical intimidation is a way for men to keep women down, it's a statement of inferred dominance, and it's an attempt to scare women away from doing what they think is right.
It's not a coincidence that men are making physical threats against their female colleagues. These are women who have entered a male-dominated space and claimed power through their votes. As some men see it, who's giving them the right to that power? Someone's gotta tell them who's in charge around here.
And the really sad thing is that female politicians are no strangers to threats of physical violence. Like most women who live in public, female politicians face threats regularly. More than 80 percent of female politicians faced psychological violence, including threats of rape, beatings, and abduction, according to a global report released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2016.
It doesn't stop at threats. According to that same report, more than one-fifth of female politicians were the victims of actual physical violence during their terms.
These comments should not be taken lightly. These women have earned their power, and they've shown that they can't be bullied into giving up their morals.