Letter - A far worse offense

Dear Editor,

This is in reply to Congressman Smith’s letter in last week’s Mountain Echo. I get that Jason Smith adores President Trump. I get that he has equal fondness for Ivanka Trump (as evidenced by the frequency with which Rep. Smith mentions the President’s daughter’s visits to the Congressman’s DC office). And I get that Jason Smith was thrilled to have a personal chat with Donald Trump just before the State of the Union speech. But PLEASE spare me the phony complaints Mr. Smith makes about Democrat legislators present at the speech.

Most glaring was Smith’s “I was disappointed by Members of Congress [Democrats] sitting on their hands” (which I imagine is a figurative description) in contrast to Republicans: They were definitely up and down, jostling one another, in their unabated enthusiasm throughout the speech. What is Smith expecting Democrats should have done? Wear MAGA hats?

Maybe Mr. Smith failed to notice that Democrats did indeed applaud several key points of the President’s speech. When Trump called for compromise and comity - despite two years of his sending out angry tweets, engaging in personal attacks and recriminations, name-calling, making numerous false statements about his predecessor, and shutting down the government in a futile effort to have his way - despite all of that House Leader Nancy Pelosi herself stood and applauded loudly in support of compromise and courtesy!

Likewise, when the Trump took credit for the good economy (not mentioning he inherited it from President Obama) and talked about the new jobs created for women, the Democratic applause became a crescendo - celebrating the recent victory in the House of Representatives when so many Democratic women took the place of departing Republicans.  Why does Smith find their applause offensive?

Finally, when Trump talked about protecting people with pre-existing health conditions, most Democrats applauded (admittedly, Senator Sanders is said to have quietly laughed and shaken his head since protecting people with pre-existing conditions is part of the ACA which Trump and the GOP are doing their best to dismantle).

True, the Democrats did not join Republicans in cheering Trump’s push for a large down payment of for a wall across the border, money which the majority of Americans believe could be better spent elsewhere. Nor did Democrats cheer Trump’s desire to end a woman’s reproductive choices. And had he mentioned his unscientific refusal to address climate change, I think the Democrats most certainly would not have applauded the President’s refusal to deal with the catastrophic consequences that are increasingly inevitable.

But let me ask Congressman Smith: Did he harbor the same misgivings towards the GOP when they refused to applaud President Obama’s policies and proposals? Even more to the point, who is Mr. Smith to condemn politicians sitting quietly during an opponent’s speech when he himself just a few weeks ago demonstrated truly boorish behavior by shouting out to a Congressman delivering a speech to “go back to Puerto Rico”?

Yes, after initially hiding his culpability for the verbal attack a few hours later Smith did make a quasi-apology, which is maybe the best he is capable of. But in my opinion Smith’s continuous use of his public platform to denigrate all Democrats - including President Obama - as being something next to un-American is a far worse offense then the behavior exhibited by Democrats at the State of the Union speech.

You would do well, Mr. Smith, to sit quietly, observe, and reflect on your own behavior.

Sue Hagan