The “Karen” phenomenon of white women weaponizing their privilege may have [relatively] lost some steam in recent months, but much like the coronavirus, not only has it been lingering the entire year but it’s also now coming back with a vengeance.
Only this time there is no viral video in which “Karen” stars. Instead, this iteration of Karen has been presented in the form of a federal government employee who is refusing to perform a crucial component of her job that is effectively obstructing America’s democratic process.
This particular Karen goes by the name of Emily W. Murphy and she’s the administrator of the General Services Administration charged in part with facilitating a peaceful transfer of power from an out-going presidential administration to the incoming one. And in a timely fashion, too.
But there’s an asterisk here that can’t be ignored: She was appointed by Donald Trump‘s administration — the same bunch backing a lame-duck president who has filed a flurry of frivolous lawsuits and ordered U.S. Attorney General William Barr to have the Department of Justice investigate his disingenuous and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. (CNN reported that an official staffer who worked in the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section quit Tuesday morning, saying in an email that Barr’s orders were “abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested.” Translation: Trump’s claims are bogus, at best.)
Nevermind those details, though, as Murphy still apparently decided against issuing the requisite “letter of ascertainment” that clears the way for Joe Biden‘s team to begin the necessary transition process.
But back to the Karen thing… because the similarities are too glaring to let it go.
Much like other instances that earn white women the distinction of being called Karen, Murphy is breaking the law. That violation was committed when she refused to perform a particular duty her job requires, according to the New York Times.
“By law, Ms. Murphy, the head of the sprawling agency that keeps the federal government functioning, must formally recognize Mr. Biden as the incoming president for his transition to begin,” the Times reported in a news story published Monday. “It has been three days since news organizations projected that he was the winner of the election, and Ms. Murphy has still not acted.”
Now it’s four days.
But again — just like with many of the Karen instances — punishment and accountability are frequently elusive for white women weaponizing their privilege. The same has, thus far, been true for Murphy despite her clear and very public violation of federal law.
Republican leaders (read: white men) have argued that the transfer of power wasn’t immediate in 2000 when that election was also referred to the legal system. But that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison as that election involved the unexpected technical X-factor of so-called hanging chads and dimpled chads on paper ballots. That election also involved an immediate concession after news outlets called the race.
In contrast, neither has occurred in 2020 and the votes are still being counted to further pad Biden’s confirmed and certified lead by tens of thousands of votes, a margin that history has shown is likely to barely change after mandatory recounts are performed.
Of course, Murphy’s defiance to perform the work required by her government position shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. She’s only following the lead of Trump and his presidency and underscoring why 55 percent of all white women voted for his re-election (an increase from 2016), thus also voting for all of his racism, hatred, misogyny and ignorance that comes along with it.
This is America.