On Friday morning, Senator John McCain shocked both Democrats and Republicans alike by voting controversially against the repeal of Obamacare. But, McCain’s maverick moment, wouldn’t have caused nearly the same stir if it hadn’t been for two, brave women that cast their votes before him.
GOP Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska ultimately foiled Trump’s efforts to abolish the Affordable Care Act, voting against the bill ahead of McCain. The final vote tally stood at 51-49.
The two women had been vocal about their opposition to dismantling the current health system without an improved, verified policy in place to substitute it. Collins said it would be a “big mistake” for Republicans to pass legislation without first attempting to work with Democrats to reach bipartisan solutions.
Likewise, both women relied on feedback from their constituents, and felt strongly that there had been little consideration of the repercussions of repealing the ACA so hastily.
In a statement on her vote, Murkowski said:
“I hear from fishermen who can’t afford the coverage that they have, small business owners who can’t afford insurance at all, and those who have gained coverage for the first time in their life. These Alaskans have shared their anxiety that their personal situation may be made worse under the legislation considered this week.”
But the decision made by Murkowski and Collins has been less than popular with many inside the party. So much so, that much criticism of the pair over the past few days has come in the form of sickeningly violent threats.
Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter, said in an interview Wednesday that “somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass.”
A similarly eloquent Texas congressman said the female senators only narrowly avoided an “Aaron Burr-style” showdown with him. Referring to the infamous shooting duel between Vice President, Burr and Alexander Hamilton in 1804.
These reactions are sinister but they’re hardly surprising. The Tuesday before the vote took place, Trump issued a less than subtle warning to his party, saying, “any senator who votes against repeal and replace is telling America that they are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, and I predict they’ll have a lot of problems.”
Moreover, Murkowski had been the target of an aggressive campaign from members of the Trump administration — and the president himself in the lead up to the vote. Murkowski told E News that the conversation with the president the day prior to the vote was “not very pleasant” but she wasn’t to be swayed.
Displeased, Trump took to Twitter to shame her, saying: “Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!”
Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
While he’s yet to humiliate Collins publicly, there’s little chance he’ll maintain his restraint. After all, the president does not take kindly to democracy.
Ultimately from all this, a well-worn narrative rears its head. For those who disagreed with their decision, Murkowski and Collins are the troublemakers. Women “too big for their boots” — treacherous and undeserving of power.
For those who approved of their vote, their action is still forgettable. Their bravery secondary to the man who followed them.
But, for some of us dreamers, another narrative emerges. One that highlights the strength of diversity, the power of conviction and, more than anything, the positive influence women can have on how the world is run.