Politics & Policy

No, Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Belong in the Same Breath as Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)
The #ShePersisted campaign’s insistence that she does is offensive in the extreme.

‘Nevertheless, she persisted,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, explaining his decision to invoke Senate Rule 19 against Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who was reading a letter in an attack on attorney-general nominee Jeff Sessions on the floor of the upper chamber.

Within hours, McConnell’s remark had become the latest inane liberal rallying cry, spawning the Twitter hashtag #ShePersisted and inviting endless inappropriate comparisons between Warren and female political activists from around the world.

Though Rule 19 isn’t often used on the Senate floor, it has certainly been exercised against other senators. On CNN yesterday, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum explained that the rule was used against him while he was on the floor “going after some folks.” But regardless, the mild skirmish doesn’t deserve the outraged response it has received, and Warren has done absolutely nothing to merit the acclaim that is pouring down upon her. Here is an assortment of foolish tweets and collages likening Warren to some of the most famous suffragettes, civil-rights leaders, and feminists in U.S. history:


Harriet Tubman suffered a traumatic head wound at the hands of her slave owner, went on to escape slavery, rescued about 70 fellow slaves as a worker for the Underground Railroad, worked as a scout and spy for the U.S. army during the Civil War, and fought for women’s suffrage.

Sojourner Truth escaped slavery with her infant daughter, devoted her life to the abolition movement, recruited black troops for the U.S. army, and fought to secure government land grants for former slaves.

Susan B. Anthony played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement, went to jail for voting illegally in the 1872 election, and led the effort that resulted in the successful passage of the 19th Amendment. Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked as an abolitionist, led the women’s-rights movement alongside Anthony, and wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, which is often credited with being the basis of the women’s-suffrage movement in the U.S.

Coretta Scott King fought as a civil-rights leader beside her husband Martin Luther King Jr., and remained a leader in the movement after his death.

Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, instigating a boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and helping to launch and lead a nationwide desegregation effort.

Malala Yousafzai is a teenaged Pakistani female-education advocate who was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman for her activism. After undergoing brain surgery and recovering from the assassination attempt, she continued to speak out for the education of girls worldwide.

Tubman and Truth were enslaved and beaten, Anthony and Stanton were denied the right to vote, Parks was thrown in jail, and Yousafzai was shot in the brain. Warren stood in the U.S. Senate insisting that Sessions’s “racism, sexism, and bigotry” are dangerous to American freedoms, a claim that is dubious at best. The idea that she has done anything even remotely comparable to these women is ludicrous at best. And at worst, it trivializes the courage of those in whose company it places Warren and makes a mockery of their contributions to democracy.

In fact, Warren herself is guilty of trivializing these women and the ideals they fought for by smearing Jeff Sessions with the charge of racism. The few weak, unsubstantiated accusations against Sessions from over three decades ago are hardly grounds to call him a bigot, yet Warren has led a vicious campaign against him, acting as if he had sanctioned or even perpetrated the very real evils that Tubman and Parks opposed.

Warren’s poor approval ratings in her home state suggest that McConnell made a smart political move by giving the Left a reason to embrace her as a martyr. But no matter how this skirmish unfolds, Warren and those invoking genuine female heroes in her defense ought to be ashamed.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More

Max Boot’s Dishonesty

Before yesterday, my primary criticism of the Washington Post’s Max Boot was political in nature. As I wrote in a recent book review, I found it regrettable that Boot’s opposition to the president had not prevented him from “succumbing reactively to Trump’s cult of personality, or from making Trump the ... Read More

A Brief History of Election Meddling

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the second in a series of excerpts. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Thus spoke President Barack Obama just a couple of weeks before ... Read More

The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More