Let’s begin with facts before describing a fantasy. Fact 1: As candidate and now President, Donald Trump used a personal Twitter account almost exclusively for bullying or insulting those who disagreed with him. Fact 2 (even though it sounds like fantasy): Melania Trump announced that her big interest as First Lady is a campaign against cyber-bullying.
After reading about President Trump’s Twitter assault on MSNBC and Mika Brzezinski, I had a fantasy about a news conference that should happen. It would be convened by female Senators of both parties to denounce the President for cyber-bulling and to demand an apology.
I think this is a realistic flight of imagination. After all, women usually insist on higher standards of courtesy when they are included in male environments. The idea of a First Lady setting a model for combating bullying in any form is believable and very much needed in our current environment.
I wish I could picture every female in Congress joining such a news conference, but expecting truly non-partisan behavior in the House of Representatives has become too incredible even for fantasy.
In the hypothetical news conference, I think Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein, senior representatives of their parties, would be the leading speakers. Each of them represent unquestionable integrity as well as length of service, so their criticism of President Trump’s attack on Ms. Brezezinski would be credible. Then they would denounce use of any social medium for insulting, lying, and bullying – especially when it is also used as an outlet for official government information. The conference would end with a unanimous demand that the President retract his slander, apologize with clear sincerity, and cease using any social medium for bullying and insulting in a manner unbecoming of someone elected to serve the American people.
Would the President listen? Would he change his behavior? If he did, his most dedicated supporters would complain. They actually like his bullying – in part because he imitates their usual behavior and makes it seem respectable.
But this is where the female role in government can be most beneficial. I think often of how my mother demanded that my brother and I treat others, especially women, with more respect than we saw happening among our male buddies. Women stand for higher standards in my mind. I think female leadership in this area by our Senators would tell the nation it has elected mothers challenging all of us to higher standards.