by Pa Rock
(The working title for my first book on politics in America is Lies, Damned Lies, and Republican Talking Points! Book number two is tentatively titled Arizona Assholes! It will be dedicated to a local flamboyant lawman!)
I am old enough and white enough to be fairly conservative in my political outlook, but so far I have been able to hold ignorance and greed at bay. I support a variety of social causes, and I have enough experience and understanding to know that the world might just run better without the stewardship of old white men.
Many of the friends of my youth have aged gracefully into a conservative world view, and they tend to worry about me. Some pray for me (they are the most aggravating!), and others send me little subtleties (usually crap emails) about how they think the world either is, or how it should be.
Last week an old friend (white and male) sent me a little manifesto that was supposedly written by a hundred-year-old veteran. The elderly vet felt that the Obamas have been disrespectful of America and her "values." Today another buddy from my past (again, white and male) forwarded an email to me about "Queen Nancy" Pelosi and the expensive new jet that she supposedly ordered on the government's dime to fly her back and forth to California.
I get enough stuff like the two emails above to know with relative certainty what is and is not real. Yes, some hundred-year-old vet who was born during the presidency of William Howard Taft probably is filled with righteous indignation that a family of "coloreds" are living in the White House, and he probably gets all of his news from the clowns on Fox who make up much of what they report. And while we all appreciate the service of our veterans (I, myself, am one), we all become less relevant in society as we age - unless we intentionally strive to keep up. In practical terms, the present belongs to those of us who work, pay taxes, and vote. The future belongs to the young.
Email number two, the one about Queen Nancy and her big jet, was obviously nonsense. It even included a photo of a large airliner that looked suspiciously like Air Force One, along with a plea to please forward the piece of illustrated fiction to everyone on my email list. I'll get right on that - you, betcha!
When stuff like this arrives in my inbox, I usually go to www.factcheck.org to get the real lowdown on what is going on. FactCheck informed me that stories about Nancy Pelosi flying around in a 757-size jet have been circulating for a couple of years.
Here's the real scoop:
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, House Speaker Dennis Hastert was issued his own plane for security reasons. The Speaker is third in line for the Presidency. In the event some deranged Muslim or Teabagger takes out the President and Vice President, the Speaker of the House assumes the mantle of leadership of the most powerful nation on earth. Speaker Hastert was issued an Air Force C-20B, a small 12-seater based on the Gulfstream III to travel back and forth between Washington, DC and his home district in Illinois. (FactCheck notes that executives from GM and Ford travel in the larger Gulfstream IV.)
When Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, the House Sergeant at Arms, Bill Livingood (elected to that position when the House was under Republican control) worried that the small jet would not be able to get Speaker Pelosi to her home district in California without stopping to refuel - a security concern. He asked the Air Force about providing her with a larger plane. He did not request one of the fancy 757's like the those used by the President, Vice President, and First Lady. The Air Force responded by saying they would get the Speaker back and forth to California with whatever they had available.
So, to recap, Nancy Pelosi isn't the Queen and she doesn't have her own 757 Air Force luxury jet. She is provided transportation to and from California as a matter of national security because if Obama and Biden both get gunned down or poisoned at some Virginia hamburger stand - she would be the new President of the United States.
Deal with it.