A Selective Kudos: Recognizing Senator Mazie Hirono

Senator Mazie Hirono

I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with gender bias (cough, cough), but during the fevered coverage of the GOP’s “repeal and replace” efforts, there was virtually no media coverage of a heroic Senator who–despite suffering from Stage Four cancer– came to Washington last week to cast a vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

She got no standing ovation. She got no mainstream media lauds for her heroism. She got no kudos for leaving home, a much longer journey than that other senator, the one from Arizona, to get to DC, and there are no mainstream media stories on it that I can find… I only found out from a friend who spotted it on Twitter.

She didn’t do it for publicity.

Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was just doing her job as a good politician, voting not to repeal the ACA so as to protect her constituents. She has Stage Four kidney cancer — that means scarce chances of survival — is recovering from a second surgery to remove part of a rib, and made sure she got to her seat in the Senate Chamber to vote “no” to whatever Republican wealth-care crap was thrown at her.

But you’ll only find out about it on social media. Because she’s not a pale male, maybe?

After this post ran on Daily Kos, a few media outlets did pick up the story (in an “oh by the way” fashion).

I’m as grateful as anyone for John McCain’s vote, but I’ll admit to being annoyed by the disparity between the overwhelming and laudatory coverage of his vote and the votes of Senator Hirono and especially the equally dispositive (and far more steadfast) positions of Senators Collins and Murkowsky.

I think I want a bumper sticker that says: If you still have healthcare, thank a woman! (Not a woman from Indiana, however….our female Representatives both voted for the obscenity that passed the House– they supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to destroy Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, eviscerate Medicaid and use the money saved to provide tax breaks for the rich. Jackie Walorski and Susan Brooks have both been reliable, enthusiastic Trumpsters. In a sane world, that would be enough to guarantee them ignominious defeat in 2018.)

 

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on August 1, 2017]

Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI’s Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

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