SF's own Nancy Pelosi yet again made one for the meme history books on Tuesday night when she used her on-camera moment behind President Trump to rip her copy of his State of the Union address in half. And this is what makes her a badass bitch.
There will be some debates this week about whether the House Speaker should have abided by longstanding Washington traditions of buttoned-up decorum and pageantry around the State of the Union. But why bother? This president has shredded every last bit of decorum and undermined the gravitas one typically ascribes to the U.S. presidency since the day he started campaigning for the job. What good does it do to pretend he's an adult worthy of respect, just because the cameras are on and this used to be a staid and respectful affair?
This is a president who spends his mornings obsessing over the storm gutter of American rhetoric and politics, Twitter, believing he's controlling the narrative when he's really just driving one tiny slice of it. And meanwhile he's down there splashing in the muck with the rest of the idiocracy in the world's biggest and least effective scream chamber, 280 characters at a time. He spent his Wednesday morning retweeting over two dozen tweets from his ardent fans who were gleefully amplifying the hashtag "#PelosiTantrum".
But you know what drives them all insane? It's that a) obviously, she's a woman who can stand up to him and make him very uncomfortable, and b) she's happy to fight spit with spit if that's where it needs to go. After Trump was done with his bit of political theater, making a point not to shake her hand, congratulating himself for ending "American decline," awarding a racist and sexist homophobe the Medal of Freedom, and patronizing black voters by highlighting a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, she did the only thing she could to answer his theatrics with her own. She ripped the fucking speech in half on national television.
In the greatest moment of irony, KellyAnne Conway woke up this morning to tell reporters, "America saw an incorrigible child ripping up the State of the Union. I think it shows you how petty and peevish and partisan the Democratic Party has become."
Wait, you want to talk about incorrigible children being petty and peevish?! Let's talk about the man in the oval office who makes up schoolyard nicknames for all of his critics. Let's talk about the president who initially refused to acknowledge a devastating wildfire that killed 85 people and leveled an entire town, taking 10 days to finally visit the area, and then threatening to halt FEMA funds for its victims all because they live in a state that didn't vote for him, with a governor who also isn't afraid to stand up and talk about what a moron he is. That's not just petty, it's monstrous. And I don't have the time, breath, or space to tick off the rest of the examples.
Yes, Pelosi's gesture may have been petty, and it was most certainly done with an eye for the modern world of GIFs that celebrated her sarcastic clap in Trump's direction during last year's rescheduled State of the Union when he called for an end to "revenge politics." But goddammit, how much pleasure does it give us in the slightly-more-than-half of the country that did not vote for this venal, corrupt, bullying, ridiculously unqualified man to see the nation's first female Speaker of the House tear up his bullshit and toss it on the desk? You want to talk about ending American "decline." We see your transparent chicanery and raise you some San Francisco activist values.
As Michael Moore put it, posting the clip to Twitter with the now popular hashtag #NancyTheRippper, "Thank you. That felt good."
When Columbia House sent me a bill after I got 12 CDs for a penny:— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 5, 2020
Pelosi told reporters who asked her about the gesture in the minutes after the speech that it was "the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives." She did not elaborate, per the New York Times, but one can imagine the alternatives included bodily fluids. So, you see? Decorum!
In a formal statement, Pelosi later said, "The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people. The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children."
And, when asked if she would invite the president to give another State of the Union address, she replied, "Hopefully not. I'm expecting another president. Nine months from today."