By: Maxine Davey | Head Editor
February 7, 2020
Nancy Pelosi’s constant eye-rolling, head-shaking, pursed lips, and overall unrestrained disgust during President Trump’s State of the Union speech on February 4, though quite entertaining, are not the actions Democrats should take if they want political success in the future (and especially in the 2020 election).
Trump’s speech was hard enough to get through, from having to listen to Republicans chant “four more years!” as he entered the chamber to watching Melania give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Trump took complete credit for the current state of American success and lied through his teeth about certain progress that was, in fact, achieved during Obama’s administration. He boasted that he was to thank for the country’s booming economy, failing to acknowledge strides made in the years before him.
And everyone knows that having to sit politely behind Trump for hours on live television is not exactly Pelosi’s idea of a good time–but even though Trump turned his back on her offered hand, Pelosi’s decision to rip up her copy of his speech was a petty move, one that will get the Democrats nowhere.
The polarization of politics in the United States has only increased in the last three years, with neither party giving way to the other in any attempt at compromise. We’ve seen Republicans and Democrats attack each other ruthlessly and vote on party lines without any regard to the case at hand.
But while tensions are high (rightfully so), angering Republicans through poorly-disguised contempt and a refusal to clap even after mention of achievements will get Democrats nowhere. By sitting in stony silence and starkly contrasting Mike Pence, who popped up to applaud Trump after every other sentence, Pelosi only drew attention to her severe dislike of the President.
“Although I do not think that ripping up the President’s speech with an audience of 37 million Americans was a great idea for Pelosi, I completely understand why she felt the need to,” San Clemente High School senior Kate Mckernan said. “After months of sexist and personal attacks on Pelosi, Trump got what was coming to him.”
While her aversion to and even hatred of Trump is certainly justified, Pelosi could have made an effort to show her support for the good things happening in America today, such as the fact that female and minority unemployment are at all-time lows. Instead, she chose to shuffle around with her copy of the speech and keep her eyes fixed pointedly on the table before her.
What’s worse, Pelosi’s unprofessionalism threatens the support of moderates and independents, who may view the Democratic Party as unwilling to cross the aisle and Pelosi as ungrateful and anti-American.
Much too often [the Democrats] ignore the long-term consequences of their actions,” SCHS junior TJ Gerardo said. “It has allowed the Republicans to further the partisan divide, something that has so far worked amazingly well for Republicans and will continue to be detrimental to Democrats, who need to swing more centrist Republicans with policy and unifying actions, not petty playground squabbles.”
Trump’s denial of Pelosi’s handshake shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, nor should his arrogant disdain towards the previous administration. But Pelosi–and the Democrats–should know better than to stoop to his level.
“If they wish to see a real blue wave in the upcoming elections, Democrats need to prevent their emotions from dictating their actions and should instead look to more unifying performances,” Gerardo said.