Opinion » Letter From The Editor

Rude and Crude

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Some Republicans are still clutching their pearls over a remark made last week by newly elected Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib. The Congresswoman, speaking to supporters at a small, raucous rally on the evening after she was sworn in, concluded some remarks about elections and bullies and the president by saying, "We're going to impeach the mother———."

Oh my stars and garters! Such language! We just can't have that. It coarsens the public discourse.

I got news for ya, Goopers. The public discourse got crude when Donald Trump jumped into politics and started calling his primary opponents names and making fun of their physical characteristics. It got cruder when Trump was caught on tape talking about grabbing women's genitalia. It got even cruder when we all learned about Trump's affairs with a porn star, and when that porn star issued a description of the president's, er, staff.

Now the Republicans are getting upset about crudeness? Listen to Trump at one of his rallies. Or read some of his tweets. They are a cornucopia of rudeness and crudeness. (And ignorance and prevarication and bad spelling and typos, but I digress.)

The fact is, Trump's supporters love his crudeness. They say he just "tells it like it is." Fine. What goes around comes around. If a feisty new congresswoman drops the F-bomb, so be it. This new Congress is full of feisty women — and men — just itching to put a brake on the runaway Trump train. We'll be seeing bills requiring presidential candidates to reveal their tax returns and to prevent presidents from being able to pardon themselves. The Democrats will be tackling voter suppression laws, heath care, gerrymandering, immigration reform, and climate change, to name just a few issues. That's not to mention the multitude of forthcoming committee hearings on violations of the emoluments clause, campaign finance shenanigans, and, yes, collusion with Russia.

The new Democrats look like America — men, women, brown, black, Asian, Muslim, queer, even trans. The Republicans look like white guys in suits, standing on the tilting deck of the USS Trump. I predict administration staffers will soon be hearing lots of F-bombs in the corridors of the White House.

And already, there is jockeying for position among Democrats to see who will win the party's presidential nomination in 2020. (Here's a free campaign slogan: "2020 Vision." You're welcome.)

Elizabeth Warren was the first to make a move. I like Warren. And I like her focus on helping the middle- and working-class. But I also can't help but see her as the latest in a long line of old Democratic stiffs — Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, i.e. — who seem irretrievably out of touch with common folks. I am tired of the East Coast Ivy League feeder chain that informs so many of our major institutions, especially the Senate and the Supreme Court.

Democrats need more candidates who aren't millionaires, who know what it's like to have to live on a paycheck rather than stock dividends. They need candidates who know what it's like to deal with our health-care system, who understand the pain of paying an insurance "deductible" that's the size of a month's mortgage payment.

Democrats need to be the party of regular people — the job-havers, not the mostly mythical "job creators" worshipped by the GOP. They need to be Main Streeters, not Wall Streeters. Democrats need to be the party of "trickle up" economics and universal health care and lower college tuition. They need to focus on voting rights and coming up with a workable fix for our long-standing immigration issues. Hint: It isn't a wall.

And most important, the Democrats need to check this president and his administration's unrelenting deconstruction of the federal agencies responsible for our public safety, our environment, and our health. It might mean a few F-bombs get dropped. It might even mean we impeach the ...

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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