There she sat at the hearing, being dragged through coals that had long since burnt out, and they were merely pulling her body through cold rocks.
She glared at the Senator from over her bench, as he berated and confided he felt betrayed, enormously disappointed for having voted for her. Disappointed that she didn’t lie down and obey the men like a good girl. Disappointed that she did her job.
Twisting her words, misquoting her to support his own interpretation. Of course, she couldn’t say it was surprising. He seemed to have trouble, like most of his party, distinguishing the difference ‘lawful’ and ‘truthful’. One did not always correlate to the other.
He couldn’t know what it was like to be her. To have every word dissected for a possible double meaning to undermine her whole point. He could get away with misrepresentations, misquotes, and falsehoods because no one would pounce on it to accuse him of being a lying bitch. He couldn’t know what it was like to suffer consequences, as he was re-elected year after despite the many falsehoods he repeated for him and his party. And he was talking about the order in a hearing that was supposed to be about possible collusion, insisting she had said it was lawful, when she never said that and never would – he pretended he did to support his own version of events, because that what was his kind always did, and always been allowed to get away with. Because he could get with the complete lack of integrity, of moral fiber, to not care about anything as long as he got his paycheck from his corporate sponsors and didn’t lose his seat no matter how many votes they were against him.
He didn’t know the risk of being fired because he told someone ‘no.’ He would be in a position where an order would come down from on high that tested her skills and knowledge of the law, and she would stand her ground and say ‘no, this is not lawful’ to a spoiled rich brat who wasn’t used to hearing the word no, as if was completely erased from his vocabulary, so he had no idea what to do other than fire anyone who said to him – especially if that someone was a woman. As bad as the President was at taking no for answer, he was twice at bad at taking it from a woman. So was the Senator, come to think of it, given the pointless grilling he was subjecting her to was the result of her saying no.
He had asked her a question, 27 years ago, about what she would do if the President asked her to do something was unlawful, unconstitutional, or reflected poorly, and she told him, him and his fellows, that she wouldn’t go through with it, and she would oppose the President and refuse to follow orders that clearly violated the law.
Now she understood something about that question she hadn’t before. His question was not “If the President asked you to do something unlawful, or unconstitutional, or even would just reflect poorly, would she say no?”
But that wasn’t the whole question. The whole question he meant to ask her was,
“Would you say no, unless a powerful man who I respect more than you on the basis of party lines and what’s between his legs, told you otherwise?”
“Would you say no solely on the basic of its lawfulness, and not as a political policy matter, unless I happened to like that policy?”
“Would you say no, as long as it’s not an inconvenience to me?”
“Would you say no, as long it doesn’t get in the way of me or party’s agenda?”
And the answer to all of these questions, these subsets, clauses, and corollaries was all No. She wouldn’t roll over for any of these things.
Because unlike him, she was willing to risk losing her position in the hierarchy for putting truth and lawfulness over her personal agenda and feelings. Unlike him, she was willing to say no to a man who could benefit her personally if she would just do things his way. Unlike him, she was willing and able to be a check on the President.
But unlike him most of all, she actually did her job.
And she was fired for it, for being a woman who said no.
Inspired by the recent hearing with Sally Yates.