Kyrsten Sinema, I Want My $50 Back
I donated to Kyrsten Sinema's Senate campaign in 2018. I was pleased when Sinema flipped Jeff Flake's vacated seat and delivered Martha McSally the first in her matching set of Senate race losses. I've not been quiet about my disappointment with Sinema's performance as a senator. However, something changed this weekend.
Saturday was the anniversary of when we lost the late civil rights activist John Lewis. It's important to note that while Lewis served in Congress until his death, he also never traded his activism for political comfort. He marched with Black Lives Matter protesters. He boycotted Donald Trump's one and only inauguration. He called Trump out as the filth he is without hesitation, despite Trump's personal attacks. Lewis never backed down and never gave up.
Kyrsten Sinema is nothing like John Lewis, but she was shameless enough to elevate herself by standing on his shoulders, even in death. Behold the whiteness:
Our nation lost a civil rights giant one year ago today. John Lewis was a personal hero of mine -- a man of principle and courage, who encapsulated all the qualities of a true leader. Rest in power, my dear friend.
I've been less than thrilled with Kyrsten Sinema for a while now, but it wasn't until this very tweet that I wanted a refund for every dollar I contributed to her campaign. The senator who curtsies dramatically when voting down minimum wage increases or models her “fuck off" ring in Instagram photos seriously used the words “rest in power" in her fake-ass tribute to John Lewis, who is conveniently not alive to dispute her calling him a “dear friend." He might've dropped that famous Mariah Carey gif on her be-wigged head.
Prince once admitted that it concerned him when some lousy wannabe pop star would claim that he was a personal influence. Did they actually listen to more than just the radio edit of “When Doves Cry"? That story came to mind when I read Sinema's treacle. Yes, Lewis was a man of principle and courage, but Sinema lacks both traits. Maybe she considers valiantly supporting the filibuster principled, but the GOP is using what Barack Obama called a “Jim Crow relic" to block the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Lewis probably encountered many “principled" people with “principled" objections to civil rights. One of them fractured his skull at Selma.
Lewis considered Martin Luther King Jr. a personal hero, and he lived his life according to Dr. King's example. He was at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom when King declared:
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
Sinema feels no fierce sense of urgency about voting rights, which are in jeopardy now. When whitesplaining the filibuster in a recent Washington Post op-ed, she claimed the best way to achieve “durable, lasting results" is through “bipartisan cooperation," which is impossible with today's GOP. She considered passing anything, no matter how vital to our democracy, a waste of time unless Republicans approved. In 1963, would she have told Lewis not to bother passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act because a conservative Supreme Court would gut it during his lifetime? Maybe even chuck the whole 1964 Civil Rights Act because the Reagan administration was less than a generation away.
Lewis would've always accepted a victory now, while understanding that the fight for true democracy was ongoing. He would die with his work unfinished, but he remained hopeful. That's why his final words brimmed with a hero's optimism while Sinema can only offer cynicism and defeatism, posing as pragmatism.
Kyrsten Sinema knows nothing about John Lewis, and that's my longwinded way of saying that she sucks and needs to leave the Senate. A growing number of Arizona Democrats agree: Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters would support a primary challenge against Sinema in 2024. Just 22 percent of primary voters are willing to support her. Maybe her oil lobbyist buddies might try to keep her afloat or they might put their money behind an actual Republican. She should choose her friends more wisely.
Yes, half of Arizona voters still support the filibuster, but there's no evidence that killing it would cost Sinema at the polls. Republicans don't ask permission. They just act. They don't even for forgiveness afterward. Republicans also understand that you can't win a general election if you don't survive a primary challenge or if your base is so fed up with you, they don't stand in excessively long lines to help re-elect you.
I hope Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wins next year's governor's race, but if she doesn't, she'd make a much better senator than Sinema. She'd also definitely get my $50.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."