By Claudia Mullholland
Maxine Waters, US Representative for California, launched her career as a political activist in the early 1990s defending the rights of African Americans, following the brutal beating of Rodney King by the LAPD in 1991. In recent months, however, she has launched herself back into the limelight paddling a deep resentment for the newly elected President and is fast becoming the political agitator that could fundamentally destabilise the Trump administration.
She called for the impeachment of the controversial reality TV star turned president 25 times in the last month, following her high-profile boycotting of the less-than-busy inauguration, and publicly denounced the ‘credibility’ of the Director of the FBI James Comey, for his alleged involvement in the electoral scandal that has tainted Mr Trump’s first 100 days. Waters seems spurred on by the combative nature of politics that Trump is promoting. The US political arena feels more like a battleground than a stage for meaningful debate; Water’s thrives on it.
In her refusal to be silenced in the face of political elites, Waters has become an idol for swathes of the American population, mobilising great sections of society against her ideological opponent. Following strong and racially motivated claims made against her by Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News Host with a reputation for controversy, Waters launched a media storm, uniting African American women as they defended their legitimacy as citizens of the United States.
Yet, is Ms Waters the figurehead that the political opposition really craves? Charged with ethics violations in 2010 for seeking federal aid for a bank in which her husband had financial interest, her card is marked. Thus far, it seems not to be undermining her influence as an obstacle to Trump’s progression. With the political stage so polarised and with so many left-leaning citizens in despair, it seems that this less than perfect activist is the woman that the US is calling for.
Photograph: Mark Mauno via Flickr.