I’ve used most of my recent essays to consider various actions and statements by Donald Trump, and the horrendous HB1523 that’s now law in my home state of Mississippi. With his preposterous public relations stunt of Sunday, I’ll now use a few words for Mike Pence.
I’ll start with a general look at Pence, and end with Sunday’s planned “protest.”
Mike Pence has always been the more dangerous of the Trump/Pence ticket.
Trump is a largely failed businessman, a public buffoon (a persona he embraced on The Apprentice), the subject of hundreds of lawsuits (both business and professional), known for sexual assault, bankruptcy, and civil rights violations (see aforementioned lawsuits)…and the biggest waffle not in Congress. Is the wind blowing? Trump is moving that direction. Anything for a buck and piece of the proverbial pie. He’s been laughed at in his hometown of New York City for decades. No one took him seriously – at least not until the presidential election of 2016.
The Republican field was rife with mediocre politicians, none fit to front a presidential campaign. In steps Trump – the hair, the spray tan, bravado and all. It mattered not that he wasn’t really a Republican. It mattered not that he had no ideas for positive growth in any sphere of American life. He had the few things that mattered, that eventually won him the electoral college (not the biggest victory there, and a solid loss in popular vote) – a political outsider who hated Obama, was supported by the alt-right, had money, and seemed somehow ‘genuine’ because bad ideas fell easily from his mouth, unscripted and salacious.
He won – the perfect foil to Obama, from his ineptitude to his grammar to his love of Twitter.
And as foreseen, he’s been awful – bumbling through foreign affairs, failing to appoint competent people to crucial positions, trading nuclear war barbs with North Korea on Twitter, assaulting everyone from the LGBTQ community to the 1st Amendment to all women everywhere.
For all the failures, contempt, and maliciousness of Trump, Pence is far worse.
Pence is an experienced politician – he knows how to get things done politically. Why has Trump failed to pass any kind of significant legislation? One big reason is his political neophytism.
To ‘experienced politician who can get things done,’ with Pence we add also ‘man hell-bent on forcing his morals and ideals on a nation.’ Trump has no real ideas or beliefs – Pence does, and they are largely horrendous.
A few select examples:
- wants to outlaw all abortions and overturn Roe v. Wade (once signed a law saying doctors could be prosecuted for abortions and requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue, wants to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs”);
- his anti-women stance is shown even more in his refusal to meet with any woman aside from his wife alone, greatly reducing the chance that any woman would be hired for a job that required working very closely with him;
- wants to defund Planned Parenthood;
- is strongly against guaranteeing and protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community in America, since it’s against his Christian values, and worked as governor and in congress to limit the rights of the community;
- has supported “conversion therapy,” saying on his website (in 2000) that “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” right after stating “Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage;”
- would like even harsher immigration “reform” than we’ve seen out of Trump;
- would be a nightmare for public education. As governor of Indiana he pushed for vouchers and tried to repeal Common Core, in addition to voting against “No Child Left Behind” as a congressman;
- doesn’t believe in climate change;
- opposes all efforts to reform gun laws;
- opposes the free press at least as vigorously as Trump, having even tried to create a state news outlet while governor of Indiana (Just IN).
There are many other problematic stances and beliefs this man holds, but the small sampling above should suffice to demonstrate my main point – Trump is incompetent and therefore somewhat dangerous; Pence is experienced and therefore far more of a threat to America, and possibly the world, than Trump could ever be.
Anyone willing to use public office to force their own personal beliefs on others treads awfully close to authoritarianism, a trait we’ve seen with Trump and would see magnified many times under Pence.
And then we have Sunday. Mike Pence attended the Colts/49ers game in Indianapolis with his wife…until he walked out to protest football players exercising their 1st Amendment right to free speech. We soon found out, via Twitter, that Trump and Pence had discussed and planned this action beforehand, presumably to bring additional attention to a topic they’ve focused on more than hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
If he didn’t want to “dignify” the event, then he should have never attended the game. He knew with 100% certainty that players would take the knee, since the 49ers are the only team to have at least one player kneel at every single game since Kaepernick started the movement in 2016.
Sunday’s walk-out was a political stunt [press were even instructed to wait outside as Pence would be leaving shortly in protest], posturing to bring attention to a lie – a lie perpetuated continually by the administration – that the protests in the NFL (and expanding to other sports as well) are all about disrespecting some nebulous “America” ideal. In fact, both Trump and Pence and all of their advisors know that the kneeling players are bringing attention to the actions of police nationwide, particularly in minority communities. [More on this administration lie here.]
In addition to continuing to support a racist mischaracterization of professional athletes, Mike Pence wasted a significant amount of taxpayer money on this asinine trip, to the tune of approximately $250,000 (flights from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then on to Los Angeles, plus the security and other apparatus traveling with a VP).
Even after the recent attention on wasteful travel practices in this administration, Pence felt it was somehow justified to blow through our hard-earned money to garner a few political points for his boss by assaulting the 1st Amendment and furthering an agenda that looks ever more authoritarian.
Mike Pence knows what he’s doing. Between his lack of charisma and his 18th century ideals, he knows he never could have been elected president in the 2016 election. But he’s placed himself in a position now of great power, and with the most inept person to ever sit in the oval office as his boss, the chances of his ascension to the presidency are greater than he could have ever hoped or imagined.
Just keep in mind, America, that Pence as president will be just as difficult, if not worse, than the mess we find ourselves in today with Donald Trump.