I have felt particularly sad for veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas who was forced to retire this week after making remarks about Israel and Palestine. I feel sad because although Helen was no shrinking violet, she was an elder, and I wasn't raised to dishonor my elders publicly or privately.
I also thought Helen's story highlighted our nation's geopolitics. Because Israel is a strategic ally in the middle east, the U.S. always supports Israel, at all costs and despite what that nation does in violation of international human rights.
So I've thought about age and politics, there have been discussions about anti-Semitism, but I had not thought about gender as a factor in this story. Anna Clark from Isak touches upon this in her piece for Salon. To what extent do you think Helen's gender played a role in the ferocious reaction to her remarks? Would she have been treated the same way if she were a man?
And back to age: there is something so incredibly fierce about Helen's generation of women which includes the recently departed Lena Horne and Dorothy Height. Thomas was 89, still working, still asking the tough questions front row in the White House. (And can I add that she's a Detroiter and Wayne State graduate? Woop woop!)
I will celebrate my own grandmother's 100th birthday this October and let me tell you, like Helen Thomas, Mama Rubie is no shrinking violet.