By Michael Gaffney

A powerful democrat candidate for president can claim nurses kill black women without a peep from the nurses’ union, but a republican politician nobody in nowhere Washington State says they play cards, and all hell breaks loose. Yet another story of hypocrisy and double standards.

If you know any nurses, you’ve probably seen all the comments about playing cards over the last few weeks. Apparently, nurses across the country with their union leaders prodding them, were up in arms because a state senator in Washington State, Maureen Walsh, made a rude and untruthful comment about nurses’ work habits.

Walsh was speaking in favor of an amendment to the Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. Walsh proposed an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds.

According to The Spokane Spokesman-Review, here Walsh’s statement:

“Maureen Walsh (R) made the comments while discussing a bill on the state Senate floor that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses, The Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.

Walsh argued in favor of an amendment that would exclude smaller, rural hospitals from the requirement. The amendment was ultimately adopted.

‘I understand … making sure we have ‘rest breaks’ and things like that, but I also understand that we need to care for patients first and foremost,’ Walsh said. 

‘I would submit to you that those (small hospital) nurses probably do get breaks,’ she continued. ‘They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.’”

It was a stupid thing to say about nurses. It’s a stupid thing to say about any profession. Nurses, lawyers, contractors, truck drivers, welders, etc. all work hard. Our workforce is made up of professionals that go into work every day and deserve respect.

She apologized and vowed to make amends:

“’I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to those I offended with my comments on the Senate floor last Tuesday. I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context – but still they crossed the line,’

She advised that office has received 27,000 angry calls and emails about her remarks, and nurses have mailed her hundreds of decks of cards in protest.

Her comments also sparked a petition demanding Walsh shadow a nurse on a 12-hour shift and over 770,000 people signed on. Walsh agreed to shadow a nurse.

It is also very notable, they every single nurse’s union weighed in on State Senator Walsh and were the source of the petitions and social media outrage.

But then, just a few days ago, this happened:

“Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren suggested that doctors and nurses don’t treat African American women the same way they do white women.

‘That doctors and nurses don’t hear African American women’s medical issues the same way that they hear the same things from white women.’”

“The best studies I’ve seen put it down to one thing: prejudice,” Warren said.

She is claiming that nurses are racially biased in their treatment of African American women, which results in a higher maternal mortality rate. So essentially they are causing the deaths of African American women during child birth. (Of course, Warren stole this talking point from Senator Harris, a black woman that is also running for president.)

And from the nurse’s union, not a peep. No petition. No outrage. No union representatives quoted by the media. Dead silence.

Let’s compare:

  • Walsh is a state senator in Washington State. She is literally a political nobody. She said something stupid about playing cards, apologized, and has agreed to shadow a nurse.
  • Warren is a Senator. A real one. She sits in Washington and wields real power. She is running for president. She said nurses were basically racist and cause the death of patients because of it and hasn’t been called upon to apologize or even clarify her remarks.

The fact that nurses and their union attacked a political nobody over a stupid comment, while sitting back and letting a presidential candidate imply they are racist and killers of African American women is ridiculous. It would be laughable if not tragic.

One would think being called a racist and a killer is worse than being accused of play cards.

Why the difference in outrage between Walsh and Warren? Walsh is a republican. Warren is a democrat.

And of course, Warren supported a similar bill (that failed in Massachusetts when it was put to the voters), while Walsh had the audacity to seek to amend it (and actually get it passed):

“The labor union promoting a ballot question to increase nurse staffing at Massachusetts hospitals now has the endorsement of US Senator Elizabeth Warren. . .

‘Senator Warren has been a longstanding advocate for nurses and her voice is a powerful addition to the scores of elected officials and advocates who have championed ‘Yes on 1,’’ union president Donna Kelly-Williams said in a statement.”

Walsh deserved the backlash she received, but it is obvious that it had more to do with her position relative to the bill than to her inappropriate comments. By the way, she actually supported the bill with the amendment and the amendment was adopted. That would suggest that her colleagues agreed that smaller hospitals should be exempt.

By giving Warren a pass after going after Walsh, the nurse’s union has shown a level of hypocrisy and double standard that cannot be ignored. In the long-run, the nurse’s union has weaken their bargaining position by showing themselves to be totally partisan.

Worse, the nurse’s union has allowed a narrative to be pushed out that hard-working, non-card playing, nurses are racists and killers.

And for what? Warren’s endorsement on a bill that failed to pass? If you are going to sell yourself out, at least get something for it!

I’d rather be accused of playing cards than of being a racist that allows black women to die, but apparently in the world of politics, it is the end that justifies the means.