Nancy Pelosi si, Trump meh
As a San Francisco native, I must confess. I love Nancy Pelosi.
I know that for some Filipinos, mostly conservative, Pelosi is the second coming of Hillary Clinton. Demonizing Pelosi has been the only thing conservatives know to do. But it only goes so far.
Pelosi was winning big on Thursday when the new House Democrats took over and made the People’s House really look like the people’s house.
The 76-year-old Pelosi was on all the news channels assuming the role of speaker for the second time in her illustrious career. But for me the image that lingers is her standing at the podium about to take her oath. She called on her grandchildren and all the children who were in the chambers to come join her. And there she was with white kids, black kids with dreads, brown kids, Asian kids.
It was the Speaker Grandmother showing how the country can be united by a woman who cares about governing for the present and the future.
Contrast that with the man who has no empathy, the current president, the Trumpster, who cares for no one and does nothing that doesn’t further his wealth or political power. Trump is the bad grandpa.
The guy who tells a seven-year-old on Christmas that believing in Santa Claus at that age is “marginal.” He’s the dirty old grandpa who grabs women’s private parts, is being sued by a dozen women, cheats on his wife with porn stars and playmates. Oh, and did I mention you can’t believe anything he says?
This is why the Right demonizes Pelosi.
If you saw the swearing in with all the grandchildren, you’d have to admit, this is the kind of thing America has been missing. Amid all the natural disasters, Trump has had the chance to be comforter-in-chief and show the side a good president must have if he’s to be “loved.”
Trump’s not interested in that. He shuts down the government over the funding of a racist wall, and really doesn’t care who he hurts.
Pelosi’s with the grandkids in the People’s House showing that there’s love in government, if only the president would get over himself and compromise.
How much longer will this go on?
Well, expect Trump to reach some reversal when Republicans begin to realize that a shutdown is a losing proposition. Sen. Lindsey Graham said that a Trump cave-in to the Democrats would be the end of his presidency. Trump would be a sucker to listen to that. Compromise is the only way to save the Trump presidency.
Trump hasn’t learned that yet and desperately tries to keep the talk on his call for a border wall.
But that wall is just a proxy argument for turning back the demographic tide. His so-called base of support are whites who hate the idea that America is becoming a country where the minorities are becoming the majority. The wall is a thinly veiled racist symbol.
But it’s clear from the blue wave midterms and the arrival of all the women, Latinos, and African Americans, trying to stop diversity in America isn’t going to happen.
Amid all the talk of the new members, the Filipino one of course, got left out.
T.J. Cox, the newly elected representative from the Central Valley of California (CA-21), has a Filipino mother, and a Chinese father. A Democrat representing parts of Fresno and Kern County, Cox actually had fewer votes on election night, but a late count earned him a victory.
Cox joins Bobby Scott, Democrat from the Virginia Hampton Roads area, who is African American and Filipino, as the Filipino’s in the House. Maybe two-halves make a whole? It’s an example of a uniquely Filipino diversity at play.
Now for those who think I’ve gone overboard on Pelosi, let me tell you I haven’t always been as big a fan and have let her know it. In 2007, the Filipino vets were still fighting for equity pay and a bill pushed by then Rep. Bob Filner of San Diego was in need of support. Pelosi didn’t back it. When asked why she had pulled out after years of support, she told the Filipino American media:
“I’ve been strong supporter of Filipino veterans for my entire service in Congress…. to recognizetheir U.S. military service… The difference was that I became Speaker… Funding is the real debate. That’s the competition for the dollars that’s where we are now.”
Ah, the first time she was speaker. From that we should understand, Pelosi is a realist. She plays no sentimental favorites. Not even for her San Francisco fans.
It hurt back in 2007, and some vets died as the legislative battle continued for two more years. Eventually, under Obama, an equity bill was passed.
Now she’s back for a second go-round as speaker. And the problems and priorities are larger and more urgent. From the first stint, we should know that Pelosi prioritizes and plays her hand the best way she can.
She knows the art of the deal the government way. It should give confidence when at times there seems to be little hope. If Trump gets out of the way—and that’s a big if– I have no doubt Pelosi can get us out of this mess we’re in.
But already we have Trump acting like a baby, reportedly saying he’s willing the shutdown the government for weeks, even years. That’s a baby in need of a Grandmother’s discipline.
Emil Guillermo is a veteran journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer’s North American Bureau.
Twitter @emilamok : Find Emil Amok on Apple Podcasts.