After a 241-year-long bond with the United Kingdom, during which we saved Brit butts in WWI and WWII, and for which they remain deeply grateful, we have to go and give them Trump?
After Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump for a state visit, 1.8 million British citizens made their displeasure known when they signed a petition opposing the invitation, forcing the House of Commons to call a special meeting to debate it.
I stumbled upon the C-SPAN broadcast of this debate, held in the august Grand Committee Room of Westminster Hall, built in 1097 by William II. Members of Parliament filled the room, some sitting at the huge U-shaped oak table arrangement while others sat in three rows of padded chairs directly behind them.
A sucker for a British accent, I watched for an hour as one by one the members rose to speak politely for or against Mr. Trump’s state visit. I learned that a state visit, which involves, among other things, an official banquet and a meeting with the Queen, is a sacred event for them, not to be handed out lightly. In other words, an uber privilege for the invitee. But the question was — did Donald Trump merit such a visit after only seven weeks in office?
Several members spoke with vigor about their opposition to Trump because, well, Trump. The Honourable Paul Flynn of the Labour party talked at length about the everlasting gratitude the UK feels for the United States, but then spoke in detail about why Trump should not be invited. The least of his concerns was Donald’s inexplicable reaction to his own inauguration. “… he complained about everything. He complained that the rain didn’t fall. We all saw it fall. About the numbers that were in the crowd. He … lied about the (election) result he had, and this was of great concern. When you have a man who is the President behaving like a petulant child, how is he going to behave in a future where conflict might arise?”
Many “heah heahs” echoed throughout the dark, oak-paneled room.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a tall distinguished member of the Conservative party rose up and countered, “… What complaint did the honorable gentleman make when the Emperor Hirohito came here who was responsible for the rape of Nanking?”
Mr. Flynn replied, “… we shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Mr. Flynn continued by saying that he feared Donald Trump, “whose intellectual capacity is protozoan. … We are greatly concerned about the actions he has taken in causing problems in every area has become involved in, particularly the China Sea, Ukraine and Israel/Palestine.”
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Paula Sherriff, a short brunette from Dewsbury, representing the Labour party, stood and swiveled toward Mr. Flynn as she spoke.
“I thank my honorable friend for giving way. Does he agree that to use the expression ‘Grab them by the Pussy’ describes a sexual assault and therefore suggests he shouldn’t be afforded a visit to our queen?”
“Entirely agree,” said Mr. Flynn.
“Heah, heah.” Snicker.
David Lammy of the Labour party launched into an impassioned argument against Trump’s state visit. And then said, “I think about my 5-year-old daughter when I think about a man who thinks it’s OK to go and grab pussy, and I think about a man who thinks it’s OK to be so misogynistic toward the woman he’s running against.”
Another Labour lawmaker, Tulip Siddiq asked, “Can you really lay out the red carpet for someone who has talked about grabbing women by the pussy?”
Well, blow me down. This was likely the first time in its 700+ years that the word pussy was uttered in the House of Commons. Really—this is what we have åcontributed to their debate? That we shall be forever known as the country who gave the world a man who likes to “grab ‘em by the pussy?”
So sorry, your Majesty.
Rosie Sorenson of Richmond, Calif., is humor columnist for the Foolish Times and has been published in other publications as well as popular anthologies, including The Magic of Memoir, edited by Brooke Warner and Dr. Linda Joy Meyers. Her essays have been broadcast on KQED-FM in San Francisco in its Perspectives series. One of her essays for that series won the Listener Favorite Award. Email RosieSorenson29@yahoo.com.
From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2017
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