Tumultuary Harry Reid Insults Whites, Women and Justice Thomas
Tumultuary Harry Reid Insults Whites, Women and Justice Thomas
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   07.11.14
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Tumultuary”: Marked by confusion and disorder

Maybe there’s a silver lining to the cloud created by U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s tumult of confused and disordered thinking. Maybe he has just inadvertently made a case for his own political demise.

Reid, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, was thrown into a paroxysm of anger over the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the “Hobby Lobby” case, which held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects the right of Christian business owners to refuse to be complicit in the deliberate killing of innocent human life. His anger resulted in Tumultuary Harry’s odd claim that “five white men” must not be permitted to  “determine” “women’s lives.”

How many ways can one sentence be wrong? Well, let’s add ‘em up:

  • First, and most obvious, one of the five men is not like the others—including hue. Reid may need his vision checked. Or perhaps Reid is using “white” figuratively. Perhaps “white” is a metaphor for all things Reid hates. 
  • Second, someone needs to tell Reid that he is…um, gulp…white. 
  • Third, Reid has revealed not only his distaste for whiteness (aka self-loathing) but also his diminished view of women. In Reid’s confused worldview, women’s paths in life are set in stone (i.e., “determined”) if their bosses don’t subsidize their birth control. In Reid’s wacky world, poor widdoe girls can’t chart their own course if their mean bosses don’t pay for their IUDs. Reid views women as so impotent that the refusal of their knights in shining armor (aka employers) to pay for their contraception for their volitional sexual activity signifies an absolute loss of agency in their own lives. Maybe women aren’t so inherently powerful after all. 

    Instead of railing against the five “white” men who are attempting an existential coup of women the scope of which hasn’t been seen since the slave era, perhaps Harry could remind trembling women of the lives of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Betty Friedan, Coretta Scott King, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose fertile years were not ones during which contraception was subsidized by employers or the government. 
  • Fourth, what does Reid think of other decisions by white men that have “determined” the lives of Americans some of whom were women, you know, men like Joseph Story, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis D. Brandeis, William O. Douglas, Earl Warren, William Brennan, and Hugo Black.

Keep your chins up, women! Ignore the bespectacled, tumultuary, only-white-in-a-literal-sense man behind the lectern who thinks you’re feeble and dependent. You can do it! I know you can! You can eke out a life of meaning with even the little reserve of female power you have left after your Scrooge-y bosses withhold that 20 bucks a month. Your bossy patriarchal oppressors trampling on your uteruses (or in Deb Wasserman’s creepy description, “reaching into” your bodies) cannot keep a good woman down.

And, ladies, while you’re exercising your little remaining vestige of power, maybe you can figure out a way to give that confused white man the heave-ho.

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years...
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