2/6/2020 7:30:00 AM Our View Shredding the myths of the Democratic Party
Gregg Walker and Richard Moore Publisher and Columnist
After President Trump finished his triumphant State of the Union speech Tuesday night, House speaker Nancy Pelosi did something no one was anticipating: She stood up and ripped apart the printed copy of the speech, calling it a manifesto of untruths.
That vision, now etched in the minds of Americans who mostly watched in disbelief or saw it afterward, what with all the hoopla, offered up a lot of metaphors, and politicians and pundits jumped on most of them.
The White House gleefully pointed out that the "manifesto of untruths" involved pronouncements about the honor and heroism of iconic minority servicemen and women, among other things: "Speaker Pelosi just ripped up: One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The survival of a child born at 21 weeks. The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller. A service member's reunion with his family. That's her legacy."
Ouch. It seems Pelosi wasn't just taking issue with Trump's policy positions but with the legitimacy of the feelings and lives of ordinary but brave Americans. Uplifted by the president's positive vision for America, Pelosi tried to tear down feelings of hope and to replace light with dark.
Vice president Mike Pence cracked that he wasn't sure whether Pelosi was tearing up the speech or the constitution, and his point was that, for all practical purposes, it was the same thing.
That's because the president's speech was all about protecting the constitution. For instance, he pledged to continue to appoint judges who swear to uphold the constitution as written.
He pledged to defend religious liberty, and to never let our First and Second Amendment rights be taken away. With her violent hands, Pelosi was promising to do just the opposite: to remove the Second Amendment, to neuter the First Amendment, to suppress religious liberty, and to interpret individual liberty right out of the constitution through judicial activism.
Not least, Pelosi's disgust with the Trump agenda and her impulse to shred opposing viewpoints was an attempt to delegitimize political disagreement and to suppress dissent for any view not aligning with her own.
Pelosi's act of destruction was a powerful symbolic bow to tyranny itself, and it should strike terror in the hearts of those who value liberty and republican democracy.
Others thought her intentions were to hide the truth from the American people, and so she became a human shredder.
Except that, while she called it a manifesto of untruths, Pence pointed out all the actual facts in the speech: "Everything about the economy, everything about the military, everything about President Trump's decisive action taking out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and every story about Americans."
Generally, people try to shred truth-telling documents before they are released, but Trump had already delivered them optimistically and hopefully to the American people, and so her act of shredding only exposed her own naked dishonesty.
To others, such as distinguished constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, Pelosi was ripping apart our republic's traditions and decorum, which compose the inner character of the Republic's soul: "Her conduct tore up more than a speech, but decades of tradition and left any semblance of civility in tatters on the House floor," he wrote. " .... For those of us who truly love the House as an institution, it was one of the lowest moments to unfold on the floor."
Turley called for Pelosi to apologize or resign.
She won't, of course, and to some Pelosi's moment of disgrace looked like an apt metaphor for a Democratic Party that is itself coming apart at the seams. The party's debacle in counting votes in Iowa makes it look incompetent; its willingness to put show trials over solid policy debate makes it look power hungry and intellectually depleted; the surge of socialism - another sign of intellectual weakness - scares the daylights of that old political mastermind James Carville, who doesn't think traditional Democratic donors will "give a popsicle" to the current candidates for president.
Yes, Nancy Pelosi tore up Trump's vision out of frustration that Democrats have no vision with which to write their own speech, or their own future. Capitalist liberalism seems to have run out of ideas, and their think tanks are bankrupt of contemplative aspiration. All that's left for them is to republish old Marxist screeds posted in past failed attempts to impose authoritarian socialism.
No wonder she tore up a well-reasoned vision of prosperity and individual liberty.
Lastly, to others still, Pelosi's rip for the ages merely underscored the polarization of today's politics and its decampment into two large ideological and partisan divides. That's true as far as it goes, but it ignores a basic truth about that polarization - the Democrats are responsible for an increasing unwillingness to work with the other side, for increasing intolerance of critical thinking and dissent, for branding every loss as something illegitimate, and for calling everyone who disgrees with them evil and, of course, racist.
Think about it. Yes, President Trump's speech was defiant and strong about his positions on the Second Amendment, on immigration, on trade, and on his pledge to fight socialism with every last breath. There's nothing wrong with policy disagreement, but you don't have to demonize the other side, and Trump didn't.
Throughout his speech, Trump told stories of optimism and introduced Americans from diverse walks of life. His speech was tough, but his ideas were about pursuing a "comeback" using American values and the honor and talents of the American people - of all the American people - to do so.
He put a spotlight on our young people and their dreams, and he pointed out that "from the pilgrims to the Founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Americans have always rejected limits on our children's future."
Trump called for an inclusive society in which every individual is empowered to participate in the American dream.
"Members of Congress, we must never forget that the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people," the president said. "The people are the heart of our country, their dreams are the soul of our country, and their love is what powers and sustains our country. We must always remember that our job is to put America first."
Nancy Pelosi tore all that up symbolically, and, during the speech, she telegraphed that she cared not a wit about the hopes and aspirations of individual Americans when she refused to applaud for a young child who had just received a scholarship to attend a better school of her family's choice.
Pelosi's heart is cold, and socialism's embrace is colder still.
Of course, Pelosi wanted to denounce Trump but in tearing up the speech she disgraced herself by trying to tear up America itself.
Perhaps Jody Jones, the brother of Rocky Jones, who was killed by a criminal illegal alien, said it best afterward. Jones said Pelosi effectively tore up his brother's story and the stories of other celebrated Americans cited in the speech.
"I don't care how you feel about somebody," he said on Fox. "That was probably the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen in my life because when she did that, it just tore us up. We couldn't believe it. This is a grieving family who lost a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant in California and she ripped up Rocky's story."
On Tuesday night, Nancy Pelosi attempted to rip up a whole lot more. She attempted to rip up America's story.
Fortunately, as the American heroes and dreamers and lovers of liberty in the Tuesday night audience demonstrated, we are sure Americans will not let her.
What Nancy Pelosi actually ripped up Tuesday night was what was left of her and her party's credibility. She tore up finally the myth that liberals are for social justice and equal opportunity and are the party of tolerance.
She tore those myths up and showered them upon the American people, like so much confetti.
Confetti is usually saved for celebrations, but for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats Tuesday night, the party was over.
That means, for America, it looks like - and we hope this is the case - the party of a new age of prosperity and freedom might just be beginning.
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