In sports, in business, and certainly in politics, we all need a voice. In other words, when someone with a public pulpit says the things you think, that person becomes your voice. BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs writes in this Boomer Opinion piece that he has been thinking about who speaks for him… and he has found her.
We all need a voice.
Tens of millions of Americans would say, Donald Trump is theirs. Heaven help us.
Tens of millions more would say, Nancy Pelosi is theirs. Including me.
Sure, ripping up her copy of the president’s State of the Union speech was provocative and undignified. Even many of Trump’s red hot critics thought her insult on nationwide TV was downright juvenile. One woman told me she prefers Michelle Obama’s famous proclamation, “When they go low, we go high.”
I’d have preferred it myself. But still…..
It’s not as if Trump himself doesn’t personify the presidentially crass qualities of “juvenile,” “undignified,” and “provocative,” every day of the week. His own wife once told a campaign rally that if provoked, her husband would “punch back ten times harder.” So when the Speaker of the House is provoked enough to counterpunch the infamous puncher, I’ll cut her some slack.
And more important, unless you bought into Trump’s typical half-truths and untruths during his speech— an “ironclad pledge” to protect healthcare; Really? A “blue-collar boom;” Really? The U.S. is “highly respected again;” Really?— Pelosi’s reasoning resonates: “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech.”
You go, girl.
Don’t forget, he started it. In a ceremony that presidential historian Michael Beschloss describes as “invented to bring the nation together,” the speaker extended her hand when the president stepped to the podium but he turned on his heels rather than take it. Mind you, he would say that she started it by giving her blessing to his impeachment. Then again, she would say he started it by abusing his constitutional power. How far back do you want to go?
So I’m on her side. She showed Trump the contempt I feel. She’s my voice.
Eventually— and hopefully as soon as the election later this year— this face-off will finally end. As University of New Hampshire history scholar Ellen Fitzpatrick told PBS’s NewsHour, “The pendulum does swing back.”
But in the meantime, every day gives us additional reasons to show scorn for this president. When Maine’s Senator Susan Collins announced her vote to acquit him of the charge of abuse of power (having finally admitted, along with a few other Republican senators, that he did in fact abuse it), she asserted that “the president has learned from this case.” Roundly mocked for her naiveté, Collins later walked back her foolhardy forecast, calling it merely “aspirational.” Well, even her aspirations proved naive when Trump took his rambling victory lap the day after the Senate acquittal, telling his applauding lapdogs assembled in the White House, “Did nothing wrong. Did nothing wrong.” Then the next day, he executed his Friday Night Massacre. Dasvidaniya Vindman, so long Sondland. This is what happens when you testify against Donald Trump.
Nancy Pelosi expected nothing less. That’s why she’s my voice.
Trump calls her a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” She could simply say in response, “Takes one to know one,” since those adjectives are the dictionary definition of Donald Trump himself, and I’d cut her slack for that, too. But she showed class. Exhibiting the faith that she has long openly shown, she simply said, “I pray very hard for him, because he’s so off the track.” To which Trump, in his typically tasteless fashion, cast doubt on her faith, in the same breath trashing Senator Mitt Romney who had proclaimed that his “oath before God” would not let him vote to acquit: “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so.”
As if this incurious president has any idea what faith means to Romney and Pelosi.
As if this immoral president has exhibited any faith himself.
During his State of the Union, in the wake of his decisive trial on impeachment and in the poisoned atmosphere of polemics and polarization, it would have been helpful to the nation he claims to so dearly love if President Trump had even hinted at a wish for new unity. Or at least comity. Or at least civility.
But he didn’t. Of course not. His defenders would blindly excuse his failure to do so by explaining, that’s not his style, and I’d have to agree with that. For by the time he did his White House victory lap, he was back to being the only man he knows how to be: calling Democratic leaders “very evil and sick people,” calling FBI leaders “top scum,” calling the Russia investigation (its tenets supported by every intelligence agency) “bullshit.” Yes, that’s the president speaking, on nationwide TV, coarsening standards (and denying facts).
And you want to give Speaker Pelosi a slap on the wrist because she momentarily lowered herself to his level when she shredded his speech?
Fine, you can make that argument, but don’t expect me to join you. She’s not scared of Trump. She sees him for what he is. And she says it out loud. She’s my voice.