Rep. Maxine Waters supplied women everywhere with some new inspiration, when she reclaimed her time from Steve Mnuchin.
Maxine was not going to tolerate anything less than a straight answer as she questioned Steve Mnuchin during a House hearing last week. She was determined to get an answer about a message that she and several colleagues had sent him. Instead of answering the question so that everyone could move on, he went over, under, around, and through to avoid giving a direct answer.
Maxine was not letting him off the hook, and the exchange resulted in one of the most empowering moments we’ve seen all year.
Watching Maxine grill Mnuchin blessed my soul. I almost wanted to stand up and give her the slow clap because the way she handled that was masterful. Looking at the reaction online it was clear, I wasn’t the only one.
Maxine’s moment has been turned into memes, hashtags, and even a gospel song. That song has become part of my morning routine. You listen to this song and tell me it doesn’t reshape how you take on the day. You can’t!
“Reclaiming my time” has been repeated at the office. You hear it among lovers and friends. It’s everywhere–it’s even been printed on clocks!
We have been living for Maxine for months, as she has made it her mission to speak out against the increasing political madness that has stained the year. Anytime she pops up on TV or at an event, we knew she’s about to drop something legendary on the masses. But this has been different.
Maxine’s “reclaiming my time” moment has resonated with us on a whole different level. She didn’t know it, but she was giving us life lessons on how to maximize your day and get to what you want. She did it all while giving us a head full of bouncy curls and a bold lip, peering over her over her glasses all the while. It was life.
In the clip, everyone saw an intelligent woman that was not afraid to place a premium on her time. She valued her minutes enough to snatch them back from someone who thought he could play games with them.
Auntie Maxine realized that Mnuchin was trying to waste her time. Instead of just letting him, she unapologetically took the reigns back the second she saw his empty chatter going absolutely nowhere. She read the situation for what it was and acted in her best interest.
She wasn’t worried about being nice. She didn’t care about letting him continue on the off chance that he might do the right thing. Maxine put her mission first.
Not only that, I saw a woman seeing flattery for the utter BS it was. Clearly, Mnuchin thought that Maxine would be distracted by a few favorable words, and he had hopelessly underestimated her focus. She accepted all the great things he said about her as true (because they are) and dismissed them gracefully at the same time!
Best of all, Maxine pulled no punches about laying down the law. Mnuchin tried to go over Maxine’s head in a bid to continue spouting his fluff so that he didn’t actually get around to answering her question. He hoped that another man would overrule her. Before he could look to another guy to help him out, she let him know who was really in charge.
Maxine let him know that she had the full authority to reclaim her time and no one can take that power from her. He was on her time, and she held the power to shut down his shenanigans. In that moment, he was answering to her. And if he was not going to answer her question directly, she could shut him down and move on.
Seeing her handling of the situation gave women a great example to follow about setting your priorities and not letting anyone derail them. It gave us an even better example of how to stand up for yourself. She used her voice to insist on getting nothing less than respect and the truth, shouting, “Reclaiming my time!” Now we can all use those powerful words to demand better for ourselves.