A strong Democratic friend of mine texted that he was glad President Donald J. Trump would not (as looks likely) attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The inauguration is likely to be the least-attended in memory because of COVID-19 protocols, which Biden is more likely to observe than hypocrites such as the mayors of Chicago and Denver, the governor of California, the Speaker of the House, and some others, all Democrats.
As to the expected Trump absence, my friend wrote, “Makes it easier to beat up the bum into the indefinite future.” As if Democrats need an excuse. Beating up Trump is as regular as brushing their teeth.
“There’s a level of hypocrisy that’s worse than regular, everyday, garden variety petty jealousy,” he wrote.
Here’s how I replied: “I agree. It’s as low as the Dems who didn’t attend Trump’s.” For the record, that was almost one-third of the House of Representatives.
My friend protested, saying President Barack Obama attending Trump’s was a better analogy.
My reply was that the Democratic Reps and Trump were equally guilty of behavior that was boorish, rude, and shattering of norms. One difference? Trump ran on the promise of shattering norms, of being a bull in a (boycott) China shop, of draining the swamp. His bad behavior was not hypocrisy.
It was a promise kept.
(For those of you just joining the party, I voted for neither Trump nor Biden. I voted Libertarian.)
Now we’ll see how many Republican members of Congress will boycott Biden’s inauguration. Boycotts have happened occasionally before.
How did we get so low, so hateful, so mean, so petty? This is getting to be like a kindergarten for social retards. Democracy used to be our business. It now seems like vengeance.
I say “we” because bad behavior is not restricted to the political class, who are supposed to have, you know, manners. There are rules in the House and Senate that prohibit members throwing shade on each other.
When in session, they usually refer to someone they are going to attack as “my friend,” and if they ever use “my distinguished colleague,” you know what follows will be truly horrid.
Once upon a time, like 1838, Congressmen challenged each other to duels, such as the one in which a Kentucky Rep killed a Maine Rep. The Good Old Days.
Nowadays, a rude cry of “You lie!” during a State of the Union, is regarded as a gunshot. That was South Carolina Rep Joe Wilson, who apologized after being attacked from both sides of the aisle after interrupting Obama.
Some called it racist, because Obama is Black and Wilson is a Southern Republican. Without question, it was rude.
What do we expect? Have you been on anti-social media lately?
What happens there doesn’t resemble the Lincoln/Douglas debates.
More like the Three Stooges with eyepokes, pants kicks, and frying pans bouncing off heads.
What I know is both sides have alligators in the swamp, and the discourse has gotten worse in recent years. Trump was vilified even worse than Obama before him and George W. Bush before him and Bill Clinton before him. That takes us all the way into the last century.
Also in the last century, much earlier even than Bubba Clinton, was my bar mitzvah, for which I was selected, not elected.
Anyway, after I had finished my terrifying, shaky attempt to read a passage from the Torah in Hebrew, there followed the fun part — the reception.
A big cake was wheeled out for me to stand next to in the rented hall in The Bronx as important people in my life were called up to plant an Israeli flag in the cake in celebration. (Israel had returned to existence just five years earlier.) There were 13 flags, for 13 years of age, and some of the people who were called up were pairs — such as both sets of grandparents, and my parents.
One flag was given to my sister, with whom I did not get along at the time.
She was 9 and walked up to the cake stiff-legged and nervous. She planted her flag and reached up to kiss her big brother on the cheek.
Defying custom, tradition, and manners, her big brother — much taller than she — stood at full height so she could not reach his cheek — and the photographer snapped the picture just then to immortalize my juvenile boorishness.
It’s more than 60 years later and I am still deeply ashamed.
I was 13 years old.
What excuse do the inaugural boycotters have?