Imagine this scenario: You arrive at the Houston airport for your flight to Washington, D.C. when you notice a local celebrity in the Early Boarding Line. Why, it’s Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the famed race-baiter and noted Democrat shill. How exciting. You preserve your dignity and decline to ask for an autograph, but you can’t help but notice when a United Airlines staffer comes to pull Jackson Lee out of the line. Wow, is something going down on Capitol Hill? You glance at your phone but nothing special is happening in the world of politics. Hmm, how strange.
But what’s this? They’re letting her board the plane while you and everyone else has to stand here in this interminable line. Well, that’s ridiculous, but you suppose that’s about what you’d expect. After all, if there weren’t some little perks to politics, who would bother running for office? It seems a little funky, especially at a time when the American people have had it up to here with elitist politicians and their clubby Washington ways, but hey, that’s for the voters to decide. If United Airlines wants to let Jackson Lee get on the plane first, you’re not going to let it ruin your day. You stand there. And you wait.
Finally, you get up to the counter and hand over your ticket. Your first class ticket. But the employee has some bad news. “We’re sorry,” she says, “but you’re not in our system.”
What now? After some painful back-and-forth, the employee gives you a seat in Economy Plus and you’re trying not to bite a hole in the side of your cheek. You’ve decided to send United a (very) strongly-worded email about this inconvenience, but you already doubt that much will come of it. As you board the plane, though, you notice something extremely interesting. Someone is sitting in the very first class seat that you had previously reserved. And guess who it is! Sheila Jackson Lee, herself, big as life and twice as ugly. You make an offhand comment to the flight attendant – “Oh, well now I see where my first class seat went,” and everyone – Jackson Lee especially – tries to pretend they can’t hear you.
This may seem like a dark (and quite strange) piece of political fiction, but it’s a true story, experienced by Ms. Jean-Marie Simon of Houston, Texas. And while United Airlines now claims that her version of the story isn’t true – indeed, that Simon canceled her ticket weeks earlier – they have offered exactly zero evidence to back this up. And Simon says that she never canceled her flight at all.
Oh, but wait, here’s the best part: Jackson Lee’s post about the incident. Not only does she insist that she got no special treatment from United, she thinks she knows why she was singled out for the passenger’s ire.
Care to guess why?
“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, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” Jackson Lee wrote on Twitter. “This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people.
“But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry,” she continued. “But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation.”
Aww, poor thing. You can’t even steal a white woman’s first class seat anymore without running smack into a wall of racial oppression. What is this country coming to?