Today, a group of prominent progressive women expressed outrage over Senator Scott Brown’s refusal to debate Elizabeth Warren because Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, won’t stay silent on her choice of representative during his re-election campaign.
The group includes: Maria Echaveste, former U.S. presidential advisor to Bill Clinton; Ilyse Hogue, Columnist for The Nation; Alexis McGill Johnson, Executive Director of American Values Institute; Maryann Martindale, Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Utah; Susan Saladoff, Director of “Hot Coffee,” an award-winning film on the American civil justice system.
Ilyse Hogue from The Nation says:
Senator Brown’s bizarre inability to distinguish between Vicki Kennedy as a private individual and The Kennedy Institute as a non-partisan educational forum would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening. Asking Vicki to stay silent on her personal political choices shows just how tone deaf he is to the ongoing war against women. Now is the time for women to speak loudly about the direction of our country, not move aside and let men like Scott Brown trample more of our rights.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Executive Director of American Values Institute says:
Massachusetts voters should be wary of men who choose sexism over reasoned structure and debate. Scott Brown is simply not the kind of leadership we need in the US Senate. Quite frankly – he can stuff his misogyny back in his hot pants.
The group issued the following open letter this morning:
Dear Senator Brown,
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our complete dismay that during this pivotal time in American history you – a United States Senator – would ask any woman to stand silently by as we debate the critical issues facing this country.
By demanding that Vicki Kennedy remain silent on her choice of representative to the U.S. Senate, you have stripped her of her most elemental right as a United States citizen.
That you claim to seek her neutrality in order to assure yourself of the non-partisan nature of the Kennedy Institute is to do the greatest disservice to Mrs. Kennedy and her late husband. Surely we do not need to remind you of the sacrifices this family has made in service to our great country.
While you may have the right to decline Ms. Kennedy’s invitation to participate in a debate at the Kennedy Institute, you certainly do not have the right to ask her or any woman to be silent at this pivotal moment – or at any other moment.
It may bear repeating that women are the majority of United States population. Women are also the majority of the registered voters in the United States. There are 1,743,000 women voters in Massachusetts. More than 260,000 women in Massachusetts are the heads of their households.
As member of the United States Senate you have an obligation to listen to the voices of all of your constituents – not those who are supportive of your political objectives or those who agree with your viewpoint.
While Mrs. Kennedy is just one woman; your demand for her silence affects us all.
To top that off, here are some other ways Senator Scott Brown has pissed off women lately:
- - He cosponsored the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed religious institutions to avoid paying for contraception
- - He cosponsored the Women’s Right to Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus
- - He supports ban on partial-birth abortions
- - He is against the Paycheck Fairness Act which would help prevent gender based wage discrimination
- - When reporters asked Scott Brown to name an issue that his wife and the daughter’s have educated Brown on, he said, “how to cook”