Politically Speaking

by Tom Swift

You don’t come here for political analysis but I don’t know how we can not all be at least a little engaged in politics right now.

In fact, it seems wrong not to be at least a little engaged in politics right now.

The president was impeached last night.

The right to watch “Dancing with the Stars” comes with responsibility.

Speaker Pelosi’s short speech to open the vote was surprisingly inspiring to me. Both she and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have comported themselves during these past weeks in a way that I think the founders of our country would have hoped would be exhibited by persons elected to Congress: measured, articulate, and tough — trying to do right even in the face of ongoing personal attacks.

Yet more than any particular speech yesterday it was footage of watching Speaker Pelosi stride down the hall on her way to the vote that moved me most.

She was dressed in black. And, yes, that would be the choice.

Black is power.

Black is also death.

And, to be sure, something does need to die.

Something will die.

Something will die by her hand — or in spite of it.

I have not always been Speaker Pelosi’s biggest fan; I wanted, frankly, more courage sooner in this matter (though few could argue that her way proved wise; no one can say she rushed to impeachment). Too, I have wanted her to be bolder policy-wise. Less calculated. Yet watching Speaker Pelosi stride down the hall, surrounded by aids and security, solemn and silent yet with her head raised, the picture of poise, the sense was that here is a person who, despite all the stature she had already accumulated, had risen, was rising, to the moment.

There is, it seemed obvious, at least one adult in the room.

Adults seldom feel the need to scream.

When it comes to my view of our country, I have found myself in recent months to be cynical. This has been such a cynical time. Politicians, and the people who fund them, play on and feed the cynical parts that exist in all of us. They want us to feel hopeless and angry and, well, they want us to turn on “Dancing with the Stars.”

I have no illusions of purity when I watch Speaker Pelosi stride down the hall in black. Perfection is not the point. In fact, that is part of the mix of what I felt — not that we have a savior but rather that we have a leader, one who speaks to, and represents, the non-cynical parts of us. She may not prevail but she will fight.

She was not there to protect or promote any single person but rather to advance and defend for the good of the country. Just watching her walk made me feel more hopeful.

So, yes, what I got was more of a feeling than thoughts: here is a person of power trying to wield that power for good.

That seems so simple — something that maybe once I took for granted. Not in this moment, not on this day, did I feel cynical. On this day, gratitude.