From Flo Smith, Wolverine Lake:
When state Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wolverine Lake) was banned from speaking on the House floor after uttering the word “vagina,” it was ostensibly because she used “offensive” language. According to Ari Adler, spokesman for House Republicans, Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas determined Brown’s comments “violated the decorum of the House.” This is ironic since Republicans nation-wide have been responsible for introducing the term “transvaginal” in legislation regulating womens’ health care. As Brown points out, “vagina” is a medically and anatomically correct term. It is difficult, therefore, to understand the thought process of Republicans such as Rep. Mike Callton who stated, “It was so offensive, I don’t want to say it in front of women.”
An important issue at stake here is the use of power to silence opposition. In a democracy, it is imperative to consider diverse points of view when crafting legislation. Committee chairs often deny minority members the right to express their views during the writing of new laws. Frequently, after bills are passed, they are given “immediate effect” designation by voice vote, rather (than) assuring the required two-thirds majority by a roll call vote.
These silencing tactics are typical of those used by totalitarian regimes. Unfortunately, the June 14 action by Rep. Stamas was not an isolated incident. We Americans are rightfully proud of our democracy. But in Michigan it is rapidly being taken away from us by an arrogant and power-hungry Republican majority.