Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) was photographed recently while sitting in First Class on a flight from Houston to Washington D.C. The photograph was taken by Ms. Jean-Marie Simon, now a teacher who was returning from a trip to Guatemala.
A trip that was a capstone on her life’s work, documenting the untold horrors that occurred during the 70s and 80s during the Guatemalan Civil War. Ms. Simon wrote a book about her experiences titled “Guatemala: Eternal Spring Eternal Tyranny.” Ms. Simon then distributed 1,000 copies of her book, for free, to schools and universities in Guatemala. Mr. Simon is a hero in Guatemala for bringing their struggle to the international spotlight.
The reason she took the picture? Rep. Jackson Lee had just come and bumped Ms. Simon, at the last minute, from her well deserved First Class seat. After the incident Ms. Jackson Lee had a lot say, none of it apologetic, via Twitter. The rant about the incident was highlighted by the tweet below.
I noted that this individual came toward me and took a picture. I heard later that she might have said “I know who she is.” 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,
— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) December 26, 2017
So Rep. Jackson Lee just assumed that the picture was taken because Ms. Simon found it so hard to believe a black woman would be in First Class. I thought that Democrats were supposed to be working past race as a dividing point in our culture. Instead what appears to be the dividing line is political power.
Rep. Jackson Lee abused her position as a U.S. Representative to bump a well-deserving passenger to economy seating. Sure Ms. Simon was given a voucher that presumably more than covered a later flight. However, the damage was done.
However, not all Representatives abuse their power in the same way. Ms. Simon recounted a conversation with her seat-mate following her bump back to economy.
“I was the last passenger on the plane. A Texas congressman, a nice guy, sat down next to me. He said was glad I had made it on the flight. I showed him my boarding pass with my seat, 1A, printed on it. He said, ‘You know what happened, right? Do you know who’s in your seat?’ I said no. He told me that it was Jackson Lee, a fellow U.S. congresswoman who regularly does this, that this was the third time he personally had watched her bump a passenger.”
Rep. Jackson Lee’s actions should come as no surprising given her 2014 title as Washingtonian’s Meanest Member of the House of Representatives.