Editorial: Miniature monarchs

Passenger bumped by congresswoman a sign of D.C. imperiousness

Even in a Congress populated by entrenched, entitled, lifelong rulers, Sheila Jackson Lee stands out for her unrefined imperiousness.


In fact, the Democrat congresswoman from Texas was once named biggest “show horse” and “meanest” member of Congress in a poll of Capitol Hill aides by Washingtonian magazine.

She once arrogantly arrogated to herself the power to close a congressional hallway for an entire business day to meet with singer Michael Jackson (she was reminded she didn’t have that authority).

Former staffers say she’s not only verbally abusive, but sometimes physically – while sometimes demanding they run personal errands for her at all hours.

“You don’t understand,” she reputedly once told a staffer. “I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.”

United Airlines appears to have gotten the memo: A woman reported recently the airline bumped her from first class to make room for Jackson Lee on a flight from Houston to Washington, D.C.

Did Jackson Lee apologize? Extend an invitation for a personal tour of the Capitol?

Are you kidding?

No, she accused the other passenger of racism.

That’s right. The woman’s motivation for complaining about being bumped from a United Airlines seat she’d purchased was that Jackson Lee is black.

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target,” Jackson Lee tweeted.

Good grief.

“The Worst Race Card Ever Played?” asked one website.

Maybe. The congresswoman received exceedingly preferential treatment, yet she’s been victimized due to her race? Moreover, the other passenger – identified as Guatemala native Jean-Marie Simon – noted that she had no idea the demographic of the person in her seat when told at the gate that she’d been bumped.

“There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal,” Simon told the Houston Chronicle.

Meanwhile, news agencies looked into Simon’s background anyway to see if the “racist” label fit. You would think not: She is said to be a Democrat teacher and, according to one report, “a celebrated photojournalist who helped document human-rights abuses in war-torn Guatemala during the 1980s.”

Let’s cut to the chase: This incident wasn’t the result of Jackson Lee’s race; much more probably, it was because of her status as a member of Congress.

United Airlines claimed Simon had canceled the final leg of her return from Guatemala. Doesn’t that seem a bit unlikely to you? Why would a dog-tired international traveler voluntarily strand herself halfway home?

The only logical conclusion is that United bent its knee to a vocal member of a legislative body that holds sway over air travel law and regulation.

This is likely what you get when people are sent to Washington for so many years that they do, indeed, begin to feel like royalty.

England, you’ve got nothing over us on that score. In fact, our “royalty” has more power than yours; our miniature monarchs have the power to pass laws – which they, themselves, are sometimes exempt from.

Didn’t we fight a revolutionary war to terminate that arrangement?



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