A great many people today seem susceptible to distraction and too often move to the next issue having incompletely contextualized the one on which they had just focused. I was going to say something that included references to “gnats” and “corresponding intellectual curiosity,” but I think this way of saying it is much nicer.
A few days ago, there was the BuzzFeed reporting that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow tower project and that the special counsel’s office had learned of this from interviews with multiple witnesses and documentary evidence. Pundits went on a feeding frenzy until a spokesperson for Robert Mueller pushed back with a fairly vague statement. It included language about the “description of specific statements” and “characterization of documents” as being “not accurate.” Not accurate? As in totally wrong? Or imprecise, as in more grape than aubergine?
While I was still trying to discern what all this even meant, the pundits did an about face and threw BuzzFeed under the bus. (Or buz, in this case.) The comedians followed suit, with Stephen Colbert winning the prize for his “We went from BuzzFeed to buzzkill” line. It seems the jury is going to be out on this one until such time as Mueller gets around to showing us his cards (or at least some of them), and since only lawyers and English majors enjoy parsing words, the collective “we” was susceptible for the next distraction about which we could pick a side and express outrage.
So let me put on my waders and walk into this one. I’m not going to get into the details of the confrontation between the Catholic school boys with the MAGA caps, the Native American elders, and the Black Hebrew Israelites. And, truth be told, it’s been hard for me to get very agitated about this situation. After all, no one ended up on the ground at the Lincoln Memorial with a cracked skull from a baseball bat. At least in this situation, the white kids were armed with little more than a teenage smirk. Irritating to be sure, but hardly lethal. So I’m hopeful that the great deal of outrage expressed about this situation is only a practice run for the next time a black kid gets shot in the face under similarly questionable circumstances.
These days, it seems that no week is complete without a bit of outrage in the ongoing pissing/skunk tinkle battle between the two most powerful people in America. At this writing, Trump seems to have capitulated on giving the State of the Union address in the House chamber until after the shutdown is over. In his surrender tweet, he just had to cast the whole thing as Speaker Pelosi exercising her (woman’s?) prerogative to change her mind (a soupcon of sexism, anyone?). And with a characteristically Trumpian flourish, he ended his tweet with “I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”
Last word? Hell, no.
Speaker Pelosi immediately responded by tweet, reminding “Mr. President” that the Senate would be voting the next day on her “House-passed package” and that she hoped by his saying “near future,” he meant he’d be supporting it. I just hope that someone tells him in a way that he can understand that Nancy Pelosi isn’t Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell or even Chuck Schumer. And she’s definitely not Ivana, Marla or Melania. Nancy (“I call her Nancy”) knows real power, holds real power and wields real power. And while it may seem unimportant or downright petty to some that the President and the Speaker got into this match about a venue for a speech, no struggle is small when the contest is at this level.
There was one other bit of outrageousness that happened in the last week that gives me some hope for our future unity. I’m no expert on football, but I think the New Orleans Saints got screwed. Can I get an “amen” on that from across the political spectrum?