Over the weekend a reporter with the progressive online news showThe Young Turks, which is critical of both major political parties, claimed that California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, one of the nation's politicians currently leading the charge to impeach Donald Trump, "shoved" him when he asked her a question. The reporter, Michael Tracey, a young man who stood about a foot above Waters, had thrust his microphone into Waters's face with the clear agenda of enticing her to bash President Barack Obama's decision to work with Russia on Syria. When Waters refused to play his game, remarking that she chooses to focus on ousting Trump from office based on what she believes is his collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, she removed the microphone he held inches from her mouth and forged on. And then the reporter displayed an insidious amount of white male privilege that is remarkable even amid the political climate of the past year when he took to Twitter to declare that she "shoved" him in what was a clear attempt to vilify her.
\u201cRep. Maxine Waters just shoved me and angrily stormed off as I asked her questions. (Not a violent shove but she initiated physical contact)\u201d
On the off chance that Tracey was sincere in his claim that he was a victim at the hands of the 78-year-old congresswoman, he would soon take a beating on Twitter from dissenting voices, but if a controversy was all he wanted, he got his wish. His tweet about Waters was met with great derision, so he followed it up with "proof" of her aggression in the form of a video, which basically proved nothing more than the fact that his original tweet was a gross overstatement. But he held on to his outsize narrative through hundreds of tweets and replies.
\u201cHere's the full @MaxineWaters @mtracey interview. Sensitive viewers, you are warned.\u201d
— Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher (@Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher)
The exchange between Tracey and Waters occurred at an event where he approached her for an interview and began by questioning if her focus on whether the Trump administration had colluded with Russia was a good use of her time.
"We can walk and chew gum at the same time," Waters, responded. "And for people who say, 'Don't do this, you just should do that,' let me just say that I consider the protection of our democracy and understanding that Russia is not our friend and that they are undermining our democracy by hacking into our elections and trying to determine, as they have done, who should be president of the United States."
In the interview, in which Waters explained her stance to him for about a minute and a half, she then stated that Democrats are capable of keeping a watch on Trump and Russia while also fighting to preserve the Affordable Care Act. But that piece of the answer didn't fit with Tracey's agenda to discredit the storied representative whose record includes helping to deliver relief supplies to affected neighborhoods during the 1992 Los Angeles riots in the wake of the Rodney King trial, voting against the Defense of Marriage Act (which many of her colleagues voted for), voting against the Iraq War, and establishing the Minority AIDS Initiative, which has worked to help stem the spread of HIV and AIDS in minority communities since 1999. Rather, Tracey pulled a sea-lioning move in which he asked her a question so that he could fail to listen and then tell her what he thought in the form of another question.
"When you say, 'Russia's not our friend,' was Obama mistaken to forge military cooperation with Russia in Syria and try to get a START treaty?" Tracey responded.
But Waters saw right through his veneer of pretending to give a damn about her work so that he could peddle his ideology, and she shut him down.
"You and I have a different agenda, young man. I'm out to impeach this president," Waters said. "Get that straight. I'm out to impeach the president. I'm not going to be diverted by people who are Obama haters." And that's when she raised her hand and with a circular motion moved his mike out of her face before stepping up her pace to get out of his line of fire.
Tracey then retreated to Twitter to air his grievances with the diminutive woman who "shoved" him. He not only claimed that she initiated contact by shoving him, he went on to tweet in classic misogynist language that's been used to devalue women who speak their minds and stand up for themselves for centuries. In a statement he released following the Twitter roast he received in response to his extreme sensitivities to being told no, he called Waters's behavior "erratic" and "intemperate," words that are cousins to "hysterical," a favored term that misogynists have long employed to describe women who refuse to bend to the will of others.
Waters stood strong in the face of Tracey's accusation. She appeared on MSNBC's AM Joy and addressed the melee over her having moved his mike out of her face.
"The right wing have all of these people harassing me, following me around, trying to intimidate me," she told host Joy Reid. "I'm surrounded oftentimes or I'm met on several times at an event like by different ones of them. They want me to go away. But Joy, I'm not going anywhere. They can't intimidate me. I'm not afraid of them. And certainly, this 125-pound woman is not around pushing these big men. So he just lied. If you look at the video, it shows you there no pushing. I walked away from him. They're gonna continue harassing me, but that's OK -- I'm accustomed to being harassed."
Like many may, she wrongly assumed that the reporter attempting to take her and Obama down for their work must surely be conservative. If Tracey's Twitter tantrum proved anything, it's that some progressive men can be equally as tone-deaf and misogynist as conservatives.