Discrimination in Politics
We have had the privilege of supporting some amazing women in politics over the past few years, and there are certain abusive and discriminatory tactics we see used consistently in politics that I wanted to call out.
These are consistent with social abuse in workplaces and other settings where power dynamics are heightened.
This issue is not confusing. There are three simple steps to social abuse:
1. Wooing: Promising exactly what the mark (here the voter) wants to hear;
2. Isolation: Alienating the mark from actual support systems; and
3. Gaslighting: Pretending to be victimized by the mark enforcing boundaries or respectful behavior expectations.
One campaign that we've been pouring a lot of time and energy into illustrates this. It is the campaign to retain one of our local judges, Judge Beatrice Grace. (Follow the campaign on social media @nursejudgegrace or visit the website at retainnursejudgegrace.com.)
In part, I have been pouring hours into this race simply because I firmly believe Judge Grace is the right choice, and has the right temperament and experience, for Lane County. In part, I have been putting energy, money, and time into this is because of discrimination on the part of her opponent (I'll talk more about that below). The tactics I describe below are consistent with the tired, transparent power grabs we see across politics.
In Oregon, all judges are appointed by the Governor, but in Lane County this only happens after the applicants are vetted and recommended by non-partisan volunteer committees who offer hundreds of volunteer hours to vet and do background checks for the applicants. These committees are gathered before anyone knows who the applicants will be (or whether there will be judicial vacancies), and, having volunteered for one of the committees for 2 years, I can say their process is very thorough.
Then, after being appointed, the judicial applicants go up for popular election.
Judge Beatrice Grace was recommended by non-partisan vetting and appointed by the Governor this year.
She was an ER nurse for 22 years;
She went to law school at age 41 as a single mom of two young kids;
As a lawyer, she represented people injured by big corporations.
She also clerked for a judge, drafting over 60 judicial opinions, and gaining experience in what it means to make impartial decisions. She has the right experience for Lane County.
Unfortunately, a politician, who went through the vetting process but did not make it past the first round of interviews, believes he deserves her seat.
This year, to my knowledge for the first time ever, the Lane County non-partisan volunteers recommended a panel of all women as the most qualified for the open judicial appointments in Lane County. What an exciting time! Except for the bro politician who decided he likes his experience more than the experience the community values.
This politician has claimed he will protect reproductive rights and he will make judicial decisions according to his political votes, guaranteeing that if he becomes a judge he will be disqualified from hearing those cases. (This is called "appropriation.")
He has represented that he is not sexist because he has a female boss and has promoted women. (This is called "tokenism.")
When confronted with his judicial ethical violations, he claimed he was being targeted as a pro-choice Democrat. (This is called "gaslighting.")
He then tracked back from his stance on reproductive rights when he learned his political statements are a judicial ethics violation. (This is called "performative allyship.")
He has claimed that his legal and military experience, to which I mean no disrespect but much of which we already have on the Lane County bench, is better than Judge Grace's nursing and judicial experience. (This is called male-centrism or sexism.)
It is unfortunate that time and energy from our community has been taken up with this transparently male-centric (aka sexist) behavior, but unfortunately it is what we are seeing in many areas (school boards, county commissions, and gubernatorial races, all included).
Each of these elections is important, and whatever you decide, we hope you will vote.
Silencing your voice ahead of time, by not voting, ensures that abusers win. Please join us by voting!