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FLOWERS: Fetterman Doesn’t Respect the Senate and He Doesn’t Respect You

This column first appeared in Broad + Liberty.

I have always needed someone else to dress me.

From my earliest days, I was pretty much taken care of in the fashion department. First, my mother made most of my clothes, including my holiday dresses, my First Holy Communion outfit, and all the costumes I wore for Halloween and school pageants. Her skills were legendary, including the year she made my three brothers, my little sister, and me a living tableau of the American Revolution. It was 1976, the year of the Bicentennial, and she turned my three brothers into a raggedy band of colonial fighters, me into Betsey Ross, and my five-year-old sister into the Liberty Bell.

Sadly, in a move that would foreshadow other costume fails, the bell made out of papier-mache was so wide that it prevented my sister from going through doors, thereby frustrating the entire purpose of seeking candy from strangers.  If you can’t get within five feet of the neighbor, you go home with an empty bag.

When I was old enough to go to school, I was immediately enrolled in a series of all-girl Catholic institutions where, suffice it to say, there was no room for sartorial creativity. You wore what the nuns decided you needed to wear, and you went to Whalen and Whalen uniform distributors on North 12th Street to order the frocks. They were all invariably navy, tweed, and itchy.

In my last year of high school, we were able to vote on our uniform, one of the few perks of being a senior. My class chose a lovely maroon and pink ensemble, which I still have hanging in a closet somewhere. And, to the delight of my mother and the horror of some old classmates, I wore that plaid kilt even decades after I graduated. This was not me attempting to be a Brittany Spears-Lolita schoolgirl. Neither my weight nor my dance skills would have made me a threat to the ”Hit Me Baby One More Time” crowd.

The reason I reused my kilt was because I literally had no fashion sense and no ability to figure out what worked with my figure and my personality. To this day, I suffer from the “Catholic Girl School” syndrome, wherein I find something I like, usually black, and buy ten versions of it. That is because I never developed the ability to express my creativity through my clothing. I may be a 61-year-old professional, but inside I’m still the girl who got yelled at for having droopy knee socks.

I write this to explain that I empathize with those who aren’t stylish gems. I write this to show that I don’t judge someone based on the value of their clothing or the number of “name” brands they carry on their arms and hang from their ears. I am the last person in the world to criticize someone for being nerdy and unfashionable.

But I am also someone who respects herself enough not to appear in public in a slovenly manner. My clothing is always laundered, ironed, and my hair combed. I wear makeup because I look better with it. My shoes may sometimes have holes in the soles, but no one but yours truly knows it (especially when it rains). And I dress appropriately for the occasion. I don’t sport shorts at the office, I don’t show cleavage in the courtroom (as if), and I don’t ever, ever, ever wear jeans when I’m planning to meet clients. I have respect for myself and for other people.

None of us can say the same about the junior senator from Pennsylvania.

John Fetterman has a lot of flaws, and many of them are much more serious than the way he dresses, but the mere fact that he has so little respect and concern for his constituents that he parades around in cargo pants, oversized shirts, and unruly facial hair is a sign of absolute arrogance. And now, he has essentially forced his Senate colleagues to get rid of any semblance of a dress code.

The fact that John Fetterman, a man who has a Harvard degree and lots of money, mostly given to him by other people, doesn’t have the decency to put on a suit and a tie when he is representing the people of my Commonwealth, many of whom did not even vote for him, is reprehensible. It is a sign that he just doesn’t give a damn.

His supporters will say that this makes him “real” and that they love the fact that he doesn’t play the game. They think he’s a maverick, a working-class guy, and cool.

He is none of those things. He is, at best, lazy. At his worst, though, he is a person who thinks the rules do not apply to him, that civility is not in his job description, and that immaturity and a questionable sense of hygiene are entirely appropriate in the halls of Congress.

Some will say they would rather have a man like John Fetterman, who doesn’t pretend to be what he is not, instead of well-dressed demagogues like Matt Gaetz, who has apparently adopted “Exxon Valdez” as his hair care regimen. But while Gaetz has questionable politics, at least he has the decency to show respect for his office and the institutions of Congress by not showing up to work as some hulking, non-musical Beach Boy.

There are many reasons not to like John Fetterman. His politics, his disregard for the sanctity of human life, his wife, his slacker personality, and the fact that he basically lied his way into office by hiding his severe medical disability.

But the fact that he didn’t even try to pull up his damn pants particularly repulses this former Catholic schoolgirl. If only Sister Madeleine Marie were around to deal with him.

DelVal Reacts to Former President Trump Indictment

Tuesday marked a first in American politics and criminal justice: Donald Trump is now the first former U.S. president to be indicted on criminal charges.

He pleaded not guilty to a 34-count felony indictment of falsifying records for a $130,000 hush money payment to former pron actress Stormy Daniels. Shortly after the 45-minute hearing, Trump flew back to Florida and was expected to give a speech from his Mar-a-Lago home Tuesday evening.

As he has since he first ran for president in 2015, Trump drew praise from admirers and scorn from critics. But the larger implications for the country also weighed on people’s minds.

Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications, believes people will rally to Trump’s cause.

“In the short term, it’s certainly going to boost President Trump’s ratings,” said Gerow. “Not only in Pennsylvania but across the country, particularly among Republicans. People that weren’t necessarily big Donald Trump fans will become big Donald Trump defenders because they realize how outrageous this is.”

Gerow added, “Look, every Republican in the state is going to be asked what they think about this, and virtually to a person, they’re going to say it’s outrageous. President Trump is being treated unfairly. And that benefits him. He’s the subject of all the conversation, and among Republicans, it’s going to be virtually unanimously positive.”

Philadelphia election lawyer Linda Kerns said, “Note the symmetry of Trump’s quick return to the free state of Florida with the growing number of Americans who are leaving Northeastern cities, like Philadelphia and New York, to escape the disastrous policies of progressives. Rather than prosecuting violent career criminals, District Attorney (Alvin) Bragg routinely sets them free to terrorize New Yorkers. Now he used the grand jury as his pawn to fulfill a campaign promise to attempt to delegitimize President Trump.

“Today proves the Democratic Party has no interest in the safety of Americans and remains tactically terrified that, given the state of our nation, it cannot prevail in a presidential election without using political theatrics to undermine the opposition,” Kerns said.

Ryan Hyde, a Republican candidate for Chester County DA, said, “I’m very disappointed in the Manhattan DA. I don’t believe in prosecuting people who have left the office for political stuff. And the reason I say that is that’s what happens in Third World countries to keep dictators in power.”

With this prosecution, the country has embarked on “a slippery slope” that could lead to the prosecution of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Bidens, Obama, and others, he said.

“You see that in Latin America. When somebody gets out of office, the other party gets in, and they prosecute him. Everything they’re accusing Trump of their side has done as well. It’s a dangerous precedent,” said Hyde.

Gerow said, “This New York DA is out of his mind. He really is. This is just a brazen political move on his part, and I believe and hope it will backfire.”

“It’s horrible, and frankly, every American, regardless of your political persuasion or your opinion of Donald Trump, out to be frightened by this. It’s a scary proposition that they can just go after anybody, cobbling together these flimsy legal arguments to make a presumed misdemeanor into a felony charge,” said Gerow.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) tweeted, “No one should be above the law. Today proved that Mr. Trump was a president of many firsts — none of which were good for our country. His arraignment is another first—all of his own making. An immoral man. Corrupt citizen. Twice-impeached former president.”

Conservative pundit, lawyer, and frequent DVJournal contributor Christine Flowers tweeted, “To those who say ‘no one is above the law,’ I agree. I am a staunch supporter of applying the law equally to kings and commoners. However, I don’t believe this prosecution is anything more than a campaign promise fulfilled by a man who abused prosecutorial discretion.

“Far from being ‘above the law,’ Trump is, in this case, being subjected to prosecution not because of what he allegedly did, but because of who he is perceived to be by a large portion of this electorate. Any attorney, or voter, who claims the opposite is not being honest.”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) said, “There is nothing unprecedented about a grand jury handing down charges in an indictment of a public official when presented with evidence of criminal conduct. That is how our criminal justice system works. What is unprecedented is a former president of the United States engaging in conduct that invites an indictment on 34 criminal counts. 

“We must swiftly reject any attempt to excuse such conduct and denounce all acts of violence, incitements to violence, and attacks on our justice system. Like all Americans, former President Trump is entitled to all protections guaranteed by our Constitution. We must allow our justice system to proceed free from political interference and unite as a community behind the fundamental American principle that no one is above the law,” she said. 

Delaware County GOP Chairman Frank Agovino said, “The Democrats will disingenuously affiliate President Trump’s troubles with local candidates. Just as they will falsely accuse our candidates of being extreme on abortion when nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is our locally elected Democrats and their current candidates share a radicalized view of abortion desiring to make full term abortions legal for any reason. Simply put, they are the extremist.

“I would caution voters from both parties to see through the political fog, and hold Democrats accountable to local issues that matter, fiscal instability, rising crime, record property taxes increases, and misguided priorities. National chaos, while distracting, has very little to do with a brighter future for Delaware County,” he said.

Asked if Republican district attorneys will now go after Democrats, including former presidents, who may have committed crimes, Gerow believes that will now happen.

“They’ve opened Pandora’s box,” said Gerow. “And I fear for the repercussions and ramifications of this…Some Republican district attorney somewhere is going to say, ‘Hunter Biden, and Biden’s brother and Biden himself and Hillary and everyone else, we’re going to figure out a way to go after them.’ It’s the weaponization of the criminal justice system, and it’s terrible and has incredibly bad potentialities.”

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