On Halloween, the day the House of Representatives voted to proceed with an impeachment probe of the president, the TV experts and pundits told us what we wanted to hear.
If you like or support the president, folks on Fox News told you it was a witch hunt, a Russian show trial, or possibly a prelude to civil war. If you don’t like him, MSNBC’s experts told you how he had committed this or that crime based on leaked testimony from behind closed doors.
Old dogs, like me, had a different take. We believe where there is smoke, maybe there is fire. But we want to listen to all the evidence given by real witnesses, in open session, before we make up our minds. In the coming days, we should pay attention as the political waters are likely to get a bit muddy.
That said, it seemed to be an excellent time to visit our local political expert to see if she had any idea as to the final outcome. So, I jumped into my little blue car and drove a couple of miles out of town on Route 27. There, across the street from Joan Rittall’s home, stands Ms. Pigette, holding up a mailbox.
As she sees all, and listens to all, as they pass by her post, she has become a weathervane on public opinion.
I asked her what she thought was going to happen with the impeachment situation. She answered with a snort. “I don’t know what will happen in the future. And neither does anyone else, get it?
“If I could predict the future, I wouldn’t be standing beside the road in the rain and snow. I would be in Las Vegas, winning bags of cash at the tables. Better yet, I would be down on Wall Street, making beaucoup bucks betting on mega deals and making real money.”
Then she got serious.
“I can’t tell the future, but I think I know why it is happening. And why the Congress is in such a tizzy.”
I answered with some ideas of my own, including climate change, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the rise of Putin’s Russia, the never-ending conflicts in the Middle East, and the rise of China as a world power.
“No, stupid,” she said. “The answer is right in front of your face.”
I gave her a silly look, and she repeated it. “Just look at me.”
I looked at the wooden statue of a slender but shapely figure of a standing porker and shrugged my shoulders.
“The answer is me – females,” she said and began a lecture.
“I’ll simplify it for you,” she said.
“Since World War II, more and more women have entered the workplace. The wide availability of birth control has freed women from rearing children and allowed women to leave home and seek work. It is a good thing, for many households now depend on two incomes.
“Since the 1960s, we have seen more and more women entering the political arena, and today, they are moving into leadership positions.
“For example, in the 116th Congress, nearly one in four members are women. And Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. This is serious clout, and their numbers changed our politics.”
“How is it different,” I asked. And she shot me a glare that would stop a tank.
“If you took the time to listen to your bride, your daughter, your sister and your mother, you would understand that there are some things that women don’t like about men. Especially old white men in positions of authority. What some of them think of as a funny frat boy joke, insults some women.
“In the last few years, we have seen dozens of cases of powerful men punished for taking advantage of their female subordinates. And nothing, and I mean nothing, riles women up more than to see a bunch of old white men telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.
“Congressional women will be deciding the fate of a president who has treated the bonds of matrimony as a rubber band and bragged about it. We have a president who told thousands of falsehoods and insulted world and domestic leaders. Many women just don’t like that.
“Given this track record, many women may not be inclined to rush to his defense. And they now have the clout to make a difference.
“So, old news guy, the president’s survival might depend on the women in Congress. Next year, suburban women, the soccer moms and PTA faithful may hold the key to the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.”
Then she smiled at me. “Take it from me, boys, the game has changed. And it is unlikely ever to change back.”