I have a confession to make. I didn’t turn my television off last night when my wife and I left the house to pick our son up from chess club. It’s only a ten-minute roundtrip ride, but still. When we returned, the State of the Union speech was just about to begin, and I announced that I was not watching that [expletive]. I’d spent all day focused on politics, and I had had enough. But she declared that she wanted to see at least a little bit of it, so I went to bed.
But it turned out only to be a catnap, and when I arose Governor Gretchen Whitmer was concluding the Democratic response. It was only later that I discovered that I had missed this:
Nancy, how you feelin’?
— Gary Andrew Stinson ✌🏼 (@Gary_Andrew) February 5, 2020
Speaker Pelosi later explained to reporters that she tore up the speech because it was a “manifesto of mistruths.”
At that moment, it seemed that Pelosi and I were on the same page.
The panelists on MSNBC seemed worried that the speech had been an effective bit of theater and demagoguery, so I concluded that Trump hadn’t been booed by his own party or discovered that his teleprompter wasn’t working. Did I want to know more? Was I interested in what proposals he was offering or what kind of lies that he told?
Pelosi’s action basically decided that for me. There was nothing of merit in the speech. If I had wanted to assess how effective I thought the show had been in misleading the nation, I would have watched it myself. I knew that it would be a manifesto of mistruths and that it would enrage me. Pelosi confirmed this.
Meanwhile, I learned that Trump had been greeted by the Republicans with chants of “Four more years!” as if they aren’t in the process of acquitting the man for manifestly impeachable offenses. Should they censure him rather than remove him from office, and some have recommended?
“Four more years!”
And, yet, here I am, the next morning, back with my nose to the grindstone, trying to write intelligently about the state of American politics. Lately, this has been an unremitting drag. I’m not surprised that Democratic participation in the Iowa caucuses was less than inspiring. As desperate as all decent people are to be rid of Donald Trump and his political movement, the more powerful impulse is sometimes just to climb in bed and pretend none of this is happening. If only for a moment.