Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A new low?

I don’t write much about politics here. Not anymore anyway.

It’s funny - if you were to go back and read posts from the first couple of years of this blog, you would think I was pretty right-wing at the time. And maybe I was, as I wrote in defense of Sarah Palin!

I’ve mellowed a good bit over the years and decided quite some time ago to dial it back with politics here.

It’s still a matter of interest, and I write the occasional political piece for the local weekly column I write. While I try to come from the perspective of an observer, my leanings have come through a time or two.

Interestingly, readers have accused me of being both liberal and conservative, accusations that have come with disdain. And I get a kick out of that. I answer all emails politely. I always thank the reader for his/her comments, and for taking time to write.

A few readers have responded to my response, expressing surprise that I would be gracious when their intention was to be critical and, at least once, downright mean.

The way I see it is I put myself out there and I have to be willing to take my lumps. Truth be told, I don’t get a lot of reader feedback and I’m grateful for most forms of it. And the guy who was mean was so taken aback by my response that he wrote back and apologized.

Mine is a learned behavior. Believe me, there have been times I wanted to fire back and give as good as it was given. (I’ve written some drafts in that fashion and deleted them).

I didn’t watch the State of the Union address last night. With it coming the night before the senators would be voting in the impeachment trial, I knew it had the potential to be awkward and I just didn’t have the stomach for it.

And I was right. President Trump walked up to the podium and handed a copy of his speech to Vice President Pence and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, both of whom stood behind him, as is customary.

Pelosi extended her hand to Trump. He turned around without taking it.

It was a classless move, the kind we have come to expect from this person who couldn’t care less about what being presidential looks like.

Some have defended him, saying he didn’t see her try to shake hands with him.

I don’t believe it, but even if that is the case, he should have been the one to extend his hand to her, especially in light of the circumstances. As the leader of this country, he of all people should demonstrate how, in certain moments, differences can be put aside.

But that has never been his style, and he acted in accordance with who he is.

At the end of the speech, Madam Speaker had had all she could take. As everyone stood, she stood, and she took the transcript of Trump’s speech and tore it to shreds.

And you know, she probably shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t becoming of her and she looked a bit childish. And she kind of brought herself to his level in doing so.

I wish she had just stood there and clapped politely for a minute, then made her leave.

But if I’m honest, I can’t say I blame her and I can’t say I might not have done the same thing. I hope not, but under those circumstances, I don’t know that I could have been as gracious as I always try to be.


Ed said...

I would love to talk with you politically someday because it seems as if we are often on the same page.

When I am around political discussions, I tend to be more of an observer than a participant, fascinated at why people believe the things they do. I guess I tend to be more analytical and methodical in coming to my political beliefs which is largely why I tend to stay out of discussions. Most people I talk politics with tends to jump around from broad generalization to broad generalization always ignoring the things convenient to ignore.

I tuned in midway through the speech and admit, I sat there for a good fifteen minutes not listening to a word coming from the President but instead focused on the obvious agitation of the Speaker as she kept shuffling papers on her desk. At first I thought she was paying bills or something mundane and didn't realize the papers she was shuffling through was a copy of the President's speech. I finally gave up and tuned elsewhere so missed out on the tearing up of said speech. I think both her and the President behaved as I would expect my kids to behave in a similar situation.

Jeff said...

I had a writing group meeting in downtown Savannah. When I got in my car to drive home, with the radio on NPR, they were introducing Trump. I didn't get to see him snubbing Pelosi, but listening to the first 20 minutes of the speech on my drive home, I was ready for him to announce that he had "ushered in the Kingdom of God" single-handed. I tend to be conservative, especially fiscally, but don't align with a party. But I can't ever recall a more "Me-Centered" State of the Union address. I was relieved to walk into the den and see that instead of watching the SOTU, my family were watching hockey!

Kelly said...

Like Jeff, I think of myself as a fiscal conservative, but I'm far more moderate (even left) when it comes to many social issues. I'm sick of both sides. If only third parties could be taken seriously.

I'm "big talk, little do", Bob.... so I can totally relate to writing those drafts, then deleting them. It helps me vent without causing any harm.

Bob said...

And Jeff, he anointed himself even more at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning. Or should I say National “Prayer” Breakfast?!

Ed, would love to have that discussion!

Bob said...

Yes, Kelly, blowing off steam is helpful, but sitting on a first draft for 24 hours is always a good idea. Especially for someone as conflict-avoidant as I.

Debby said...

No. She should not have done that. I don't think that anything is gained by stooping to the level of another. Of course, I really think he should have shook her hand too. But let's face it. You don't come off looking like a hero when you act as poorly as the person who offends you.

Bob said...

I agree, Debbie. It’s usually better not to fight with a bully.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Bob, you say that Trump's refusal to shake Pelosi's hand lacked class? expected...what? Class? From Trump?! The man has NEVER exuded any class, ever. That's why, paradoxically, people love him. (For the record, I wouldn't have shaken Pelosi's hand either.) Bob, you say that you don't blame Pelosi for acting the way she did. Me, I don't blame Trump! The Democrats have insisted since Day 1 that his presidency is illegitimate because he did not win the popular vote...which as we know is not how our system of government works. And it boggles my mind that supposedly intelligent people still cling to that issue like it matters. And because of Democrats' personal disgust and hatred of the man, they have besieged and beleaguered, insulted, criticized, and disrespected him every step of the way. Maybe he has not respected the presidency, but his opponents surely haven't either.

To be fair and honest, the childish behavior we witnessed Tuesday night has been running rampant in our government. I don't know who started it, but I do know that Democrats have "had it in" for Trump since - as you noted - before he was even inaugurated. We can say, "But that's just politics," or, "That's just Trump." But that's no excuse. I'll say one thing: With Donald Trump as our President we surely have seen other peoples' true colors come out. And I'm not talking about just Democrats. It makes me sick of politics in general.

What a horrible choice we had in 2016, eh? I see now that my vote for Gary Johnson was wasted. But I could not have voted for Hillary, no way. So I should have voted for Trump. I won't make that mistake again.

I really don't care that Trump is "not presidential enough"...or that he's rude, crude and lewd...or that just about every other word that comes out of his mouth is either an outright lie or a gross exaggeration. Historically, we have come to expect a certain type of behavior from our presidents...a certain statesmanship and decorum. And then Trump came along and blew all of those stereotypes out of the water. Yes, there are plenty of reasons to not vote for Trump...PLENTY! But there are also some good reasons to vote for him. And for me, the pluses outnumber the minuses. Especially compared to that cast of...characters...that are running on the Democrat side.

Bob said...

Good points, my fellow Bob!

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