Congressman Steve Cohen to Caitlyn Jenner: You were a Republican as a man – how about now?

You knew that someone was going to tweet stupid things about Caitlyn Jenner.  And indeed, there has been no shortage of moronic things said.  However, one of the dumbest tweets from a politician about Jenner came from Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), who should most likely stop tweeting, given his proclivity for making news as a result of dumb things he’s said on Twitter.

To recap: Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, made her recent debut on the front cover of Vanity Fair.  Naturally, this set social media on fire: Jenner’s new Twitter account set the record for quickest Twitter account to reach one million followers.  Of course, Jenner was also subject to a series of insanely ignorant tweets.

Going back even further: In an interview with Barbara Walters, Jenner said that she was a Republican, surprising many, given the party’s stance on LGBT issues.  Shortly after Jenner made her public debut as Caitlyn, Congressman Steve Cohen sent out this genius tweet:

Naturally, the internet didn’t react well:

A Washington Post article on the subject makes the argument that Cohen’s question was appropriate:

“…it’s completely fair to ask if it’s even appropriate to assume that Jenner’s outward transformation would also prompt a change in political affiliation.”

Maybe this is a stylistic difference, but I disagree. I think it was a dumb, and poorly timed question to tweet.  I say this for a few reasons:

  • First, it shows an astounding lack of sensitivity.  Jenner just, very publicly, underwent a massive life change, and did so in what I would genuinely describe as a heroic manner that will likely give hope to thousands, if not millions, of others.  To try to make political hay off of a very personal issue is offensive and diminishes the significance of what Jenner has done.
  • Second, I have to agree with one of the Twitter reactions: Jenner now identifies as a woman.  That does not require one switch parties.  Again, that’s an unfair stereotype, and shows a degree of black and white thinking that I am not comfortable with.
  • Third: As a Democrat, I pride myself on being tolerant and understanding.  In many issues, I have found that the Democratic party better represents these values than Republicans.  That being said, tolerance requires an understanding of the motives and thinking of others, even if they disagree.  The snarky tweet above does not reflect tolerance, acceptance, open-mindedness, or any of the other values that I thought Democrats pride themselves on.

Agree or disagree with my analysis?  Let me know in the comments!

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