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Five Epic Speeches about the Current State of Politics in Scandal

Scandal is an incredible show. It did a wonderful job portraying the real side of American politics. It shows the darkest side of humanity which is selfishness and carelessness. However, it also provides people courage and hope. The characters in the show were portrayed as influential people who go after each other for power like animals. It shows us what power and greed can turn human beings into. It also shows us the incredible journey of the formidable Olivia Pope who has a vision and power to change the world. Despite how intelligent and powerful she is, she still has weaknesses and sometimes, she makes bad choices. Besides that, she teaches us how to be a powerful woman who controls her own destiny. These are the five greatest speeches from Scandal. These speeches carry messages that people need to hear about. These messages about all the unjust things that still persist in our country, These things include sexism, racism, white privilege, white supremacy, and other social justice issues. 

1. Congresswomen Marcus’s Epic Speech on Sexism in Politics 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1oyIEgDWAQ

In the episode, James Novak interviews Congresswoman Marcus on her candidacy to be the President of the Unites States. 

James: The Reston campaign says that you lack the experience to be the President of the United States. What was your response to that? 

Congresswoman Marcus:  “It’s not about experience, James. It’s about gender.”

She continues: “Reston’s saying I don’t have the balls to be President, and he means that literally. It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me, and to all the women whose votes he’s asking for. It’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender, it’s everyone, yourself included…You’re promoting stereotypes, James. You’re advancing this idea that women are weaker than men. You’re playing right into the hands of Reston and into the hands of every other imbecile who thinks a woman isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief.” 

And, she continues to talk about how James and her opponents discredit the fact that she is a military widow who has served for seven years in the U.S. Army. 

“Yes governor, I’m talking about you. Seven years, I served in the United States Army which is seven more years than governor Reston has ever served. A fact that you conveniently omitted from my intro. How about “soldier”? “Lieutenant”?”

The fact that Congresswoman Marcus’s opponents and the American people discredit her accomplishments in the military boiled my blood. This sexist practice has not only happened in films, it has actually happened in real life. For example, Jane Campbell, an unaffiliated candidate for the 2016 NC House District 98, came to our Women in Politics class to talk about her experience running as a female candidate. Campbell has served in the military for 27 years with dozens of awards and commendations. She told us in one of her debates – her opponent questioned her understanding of national security when he indeed, hadn’t served in the military for a day. Male candidates who have served in the military tend to receive mass supports from the constituents who call them patriots. However, when it comes to women, those accomplishments seem irrelevant to the topic of the conversation. In the scene, the interviewer introduced Congresswoman Marcus as a ‘real-life Cinderella’ instead of lieutenant or soldier. They can use ‘real-life Cinderella’ to describe girls who wait for their Prince Charming to turn them in something, not a woman who has to work twice as hard compared to others for everything that she has. Not a woman who has shed her blood for our safety. Not a woman who fights against the patriarchal institution called politics. 

Congresswoman Marcus was right. It’s not about the experience nor the qualification. It’s about gender. Research has shown that women who decided to pursue a political career have more public servant experience than man. In fact, the majority of them are successful businesswomen, lawyers, educators, doctors, or leaders from all industries. When it comes to the story of qualification, women are not disadvantaged but instead are more advantaged than men. However, due to the patriarchal political institution, women lack the resources and support to emerge as political candidates. Consequently, women remain underrepresented in politics. 

2. Senator Davis Goes Off on Hollis Doyle on Black Lives Matter

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-WurZRhjPU

In an episode called “Trump Card”, a reporter asked senator Davis: “I find it’s hard to believe that as a black man running for president, and you have no opinion on the matters (he referred the Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter)”

Senator Davis: “You want a sound bite? You want the truth? Hollis Doyle is a disgusting piece of trash. A relic. A man, like many other white men, who have had a free run at prosperity and opportunity. For whom discrimination and injustice are as foreign to them as the Muslim immigrants that they want to ban from our country. And now that they don’t have a free run, they’re lashing out. “

He continues: “To be honest, I can’t believe it took him explicitly expressing his racism for you all to start asking these damn questions.”

He ends every speech with “Dare to be great again.” Huh? What? Should we return to slavery? Jim Crow? 

“Black lives do matter because young black people are under attack. The same with immigrants. The fact that Doyle insists on saying “All lives matter” when talking about this movement really pisses me off. It’s like walking up into someone else’s funeral and screaming, “Why are you not crying for my daddy? He’s dead, too.” Well, yes, he is. And that is sad. But that is not the topic of the conversation. Go stand over there and let the adults talk. 

Hollis Doyle is a thug. A punk. And the people who support him are thugs or punks. Or they condone his behavior. They are not Americans. The idea that this country belongs to one kind of person is the least American idea that anyone has ever had. In fact, it is the opposite of the ideals of this nation.” 

Hollis Hoyle, a fiction character in Scandal, actually portrays a real person. It’s frightening that this man, who’s currently the most powerful leader of the world, doesn’t even border to recognize his white privilege and entitlement but instead, implicitly express his racism, patriarchal mentality, and white supremacy against African American, women, LGBT people, and immigrants. He is, in fact, the man that approximately 60 million American voted for.

And, in response to the people who support ‘White Lives Matter’, what do you mean by white lives? White lives already matter so what are you are fighting for? 

He ran a campaign on racism, discrimination, and hatred. And yet, he won. I am speechless and numb. His campaign slogan was “Let’s Make America Great Again”. When was America great, Mr. President? 

3. The Former First Lady’s Speech on White Men Privilege 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJzZEswNEA4

Mellie goes off on President Grant in his speech at the Republican Convention. In the speech that use to endorse Senator Grant’s candidacy to be the president of the United States, he seems to only talk about how great he was as the president. 

Mellie tells the president: “And, I am not a white man. I am here on my own. I got here on my own.” 

She continues: “This is just one more opportunity for you to talk about how great you are…You are standing up here thumping your chest, reeling off your stats, chiseling yourself onto Mount Rushmore. Like you didn’t stand on my back to get there, on Olivia’s back, on Cyrus’s back, on your daddy’s back. I didn’t have $100 million dollar trust fund, a political legacy. I didn’t go to the best boarding school on the planet. And, I am not a white man. I am here on my own. I got here on my own.

Mellie Grant is my favorite character from Scandal. She is an intelligent woman who graduated from the top at her law school, became a U.S. Senator, and is now on her path to becoming the president of the United States. She made enough sacrifices for her ungrateful, idealistic, and cheating husband to become president. Now, it’s her turn. My favorite Mellie’s quote was: “The upsetting thing about being as educated as I am and as intelligent as I am is being First Lady… I’m a rose dying on a vine here. Give me a war to run or the CIA or something.”

4. Vice President Susan Ross’s Speech in the Republican Debate, “We Should be America’s Keepers”

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdE90YUYVrE&t=130s

In the episode, VP Ross was faced with a question asking should women be their husbands’ keepers? 

Susan: “My husband, John, served in the U.S. Army. He was a lieutenant in the 116th Infantry Brigade, served all over the world, including Afghanistan, where his platoon was tasked with the rather onerous job of patrolling a 20-mile stretch of desert along the Kandahar-Herat highway…Is it a village that needs protecting from the Taliban, “a prison where we’re holding terrorists?” “No,” he says. “It’s a pipeline.” A pipeline that the Afghani government, in exchange for billions of dollars, was allowing American companies to build on its land. One of those companies… Doyle Energy.

I kept my mouth shut, and I swore that day that I would never again be silent.

She continues: “Hearing my husband say that, it made my blood boil. Here he was, putting his life at risk so American businessmen could line their pockets. I wanted to say something, voice my rage, tell my husband to get the hell out of there, but I didn’t. 14 hours later, a Taliban sniper put a bullet through my husband’s neck, severed his carotid artery, killed him almost instantly. I didn’t blame the shooter. I didn’t even blame the government or the energy companies. I blamed myself. I had an opinion, and I didn’t voice it. I kept my mouth shut, and I swore that day that I would never again be silent. I became a United States senator, I became the Vice president of the United States of America, and I plan to become the president of the United States because no, we are not our husbands’ keepers, but maybe we should be America’s.” 

This quote makes me realize a lot of things about my life. It makes me remember the moment that one of my classmate at Davidson said: “Uhm, yes. I racially profile. If a black man comes to my car, I will lock the doors. I am not a racist. I have no choice.” I was silent at the time. And, I blamed myself for being silent. I also remember the moment that one of my high school classmates shouted at me in the class for expressing my opinion about this country. She said: “You are not even from this country. You are not American.” I still kept my mouth shut. And, I blamed myself. 

Dr. King once said: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 

The moment that you silence is the moment that you implicit agree to what others say. 

5. Papa Pope calls Fitz out for his White Privilege

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szlxNS5p2UU

Rowan Pope: “You’re a boy! You’ve been coddled, and cared for, pampered and hugged,” he spits. “For you, it’s always summertime and the living is easy. Daddy’s rich, your momma’s good-looking, you’re a Grant. You got money in your blood. You….are….a….boy. I’m a man. I have worked for every single thing I have ever received. I have fought and scraped and bled for every inch of ground I walk on. I was the first in my family to go to college. My daughter went to boarding school with children of kings! I made that happen…You have everything handed to you on a silver platter, and you squander it. You’re given the world, and you can’t appreciate it because you haven’t had to work for anything!”

I have worked for every single thing I have ever received. I have fought and scraped and bled for every inch of ground I walk on.

People can’t choose to be born into a certain kind of privilege. However, at least try to recognize your privilege. As a person of color, every day, I wake up and tell myself that I have to work harder. As people of color, we were raised with this talk: “You have to work twice as hard to gert half of what they had.” We all have different kinds of privilege. However, the most important thing is we recognize it and understand others’ struggles. 

If you are interested in writing an article for Her Campus Davidson, contact us at davidson@hercampus.com or come to our weekly meeting Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Morcott Room.



Hello, my name is Uyen Nguyen. I am the Features Editor of Her Campus at Davidson College. 
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