In 2013, Doris Kearns Goodwin published The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. It is an excellent book and I strongly recommend it, however the book is not the focus of this post. Rather, I borrow the term “Bully pulpit” to apply to the current occupant of the Oval Office, Donald Trump.
The headlines that captured my attention:
Trump tells GOP critics of health-care bill: ‘I’m gonna come after you’
Trump Threatens Republicans Who Oppose His Health Care Bill With ‘Political Problems’
Trump warns GOP: Vote for Obamacare repeal or lose your seat
This is not even what could be called ‘subtle manipulation’. This is nothing short of bullying. The fact that he is using such tactics against Congress is offensive to We The People, as the fates of every Senator, every Representative, rest in our hands, not those small hands of the blustering, bullying president. It is we who will decide whether to send our Congressmen & women back to the Capitol next year, or to tell them to go home. Frankly, from where I stand, if my senators and representatives bow to the pressure from this bully in the Oval Office, I will certainly tell them to go home and I will vote for men and women who have the courage of their convictions, who are not afraid to stand up to this menial bully.
If there was ever a doubt in anyone’s mind, this latest must surely be the final proof that Trump cares not one whit about We The People, since he is threatening and bullying for passage of a bill that will hurt the vast majority of citizens in the nation. As my friend Ida, a retired special education teacher, posted this morning on Facebook:
“Tomorrow is the day that Congress is voting for cancellation of Medicaid health insurance, against preexisting conditions, no prenatal care for women and children. And large premium increases for folks older than 50 years of age. If you want to do something, make a call to your Congressman and say they work for you not Trump and vote No. Do it today. The vote is tomorrow.”
Yet another friend, Pam, posted this:
“Been calling my Representative for three days now. Message says not accepting calls & mailboxes at both offices are full.
Wanted to ask him to vote no tomorrow on trumpcare.
Now I just want to let him know I’ll be voting next year.”
We The People do not want Trumpetcare, and that even includes a large portion of Republicans! This may actually end up being the issue that brings the left and right just a bit closer together. It is our right … nay, our responsibility … as citizens of a democracy, to let our elected representatives know our preferences and wishes. In the case of Trump’s healthcare bill, frankly I see nothing to benefit anybody beyond the wealthy and the insurance companies. It is a slap in the face to every single person I know in this country. And yet, our employees, our elected officials, will not even take our phone calls, respond to our emails, or answer our letters? They have forgotten what the word ‘representative’ means. And perhaps they have forgotten that we have no commitment to vote for them next time around.
Here is a short snippet from yesterday’s White House Press Briefing:
Q: On healthcare, the President came away from Capitol Hill sounding pretty positive about where he was going to go on Thursday, but then at the same time, Heritage Action came out and said it was going to encourage members to vote “no.” Club for Growth is taking out ads attacking this bill. Jim Jordan said the President’s great, but it’s still a bad bill. This is going to go to a vote day after tomorrow. What gives the President the sense of optimism that he can get this through, and might he request more changes from Speaker Ryan before it goes to a vote?
Spicer: There’s been a lot of input from members of Congress, and I think that the meeting this morning really was a huge sign of support. There was a lot of enthusiasm and optimism, not just for the bill itself but for something that, as I noted, conservatives and Republicans and a lot of Democrats, frankly, have been fighting for a while, which is a more patient-centric healthcare system. I think the President is continuing to engage with members. He will continue to do that all the way through Thursday.
So, let me get this straight. In the 2017 version of newspeak, threatening, bullying and browbeating are now known as “engaging”? And a “patient-centric healthcare system” is one in which only the wealthy are allowed to have healthcare? Okay … I, or somebody, needs to compile a ‘Newspeak Dictionary’, as Merriam-Webster just doesn’t seem to work anymore.
In response to Trump’s use of his ‘bully pulpit’, Paul Ryan said, “The president was really clear: He laid it on the line for everybody. We made a promise. Now is our time to keep that promise. … If we don’t keep our promise, it will be very hard to manage this.” No, Paul, the promise was, and I quote:
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. here was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”
“I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
Those are the promises that Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, and not a single one of those promises will be fulfilled with the bill now on the House floor! Do Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the others think we are too stupid to notice the bait-and-switch that took place between the 2016 campaign and the 2017 administration?
Trump is bullying Congress with a threat that they will lose their seats if they do not pass this bill. I say they will, and should, lose their seats if they DO pass it! This is not a universal healthcare bill … it is a scam to profit Trump’s wealthy friends and insurance companies, while ensuring that the average person’s life expectancy will drop dramatically. Let us hope that enough people have raised their voices loud and clear, and further let us hope that there are at least enough in Congress who will follow their consciences and heed our call to reject this bill!