Shade: Subtle sneering expression of contempt for or disgust with someone — sometimes verbal and sometimes not. Slang term for insult.
The clap back.
I know that even if you didn’t watch the State of The Union address (all 82 minutes of it) unless you’ve been on a complete social media fast this week, you had to have seen one of the thousands of memes of Nancy Pelosi sitting behind President Trump while he addressed the nation on Tuesday night. Nancy eye-rolling, Nancy busily fact-checking her copy of his speech and of course, Nancy Pelosi clapping.
I kind of held my breath when I turned on the State of The Union Tuesday night. I feel like we as a nation, are so inundated with sketchy, biased news stories from the “far” sides of both major parties. So sometimes I try to clear my mind of prior prejudices and give this administration a chance to be better than the way they’ve been portrayed in the media.
But this time, like every time, I ended up getting the political equivalent of a gut punch. It really hurt my feelings when that chamber full of white men in suits stood and cheered when our President described The Caravan as murderous, drug-dealing immigrants or when he used terms such as, “ripped from the womb” or “execute the baby” when describing late-term abortions. Side note: I know it’s controversial, but I still honestly don’t understand why ANY man gets a say on what a woman does with her body. And why, when a woman makes the oftentimes painful decision to terminate a pregnancy, it’s a matter for the courts and not a medical professional.
So, now I’m feeling like, Oh MAN do I miss HIM (you know who I mean). It was all so different, so much better when HE was delivering this address. It was the safest and most taken care of, in a national sense, that I’ve ever felt...
Sorry, I’m back now. I had to get a tissue.
So, Tuesday night I was sitting at my desk watching the State of The Union and feeling more and more distinctly unsettled. And I almost turned it off because sometimes watching him speak fills me with so much fear and anger that I can’t shake it off for days at a time. And I have to be really mindful of things that disturb me, as I’m in recovery and my emotional balance is everything. If I’m thrown into a continual state of disturbance, I could stand to lose the most important thing in my life — my sobriety.
But again, I digress.
Anyway, I’m about to turn it off, because I feel like there’s no respite from the barrage of hurtful things coming out of his mouth. And I think that of course, Nancy is like a hostage behind him, like she has to be the very picture of dignity up there, representing our nation.
I need another side moment here. Until recently, I wasn’t a big fan of House Speaker Pelosi. The irony of her being The Speaker was that her actual speaking voice irked me to the point where I would rush to lower the volume whenever she appeared on TV. Plus, I’ve always thought of her as frail, scattered and soft. In fact, until this business with the shutdown and the wall, I was not-so-secretly disappointed that she hadn’t been voted out as Speaker.
But then I, along with the rest of the nation, watched as she and her BFF, Senator Chuck Schumer, bravely stood their ground during one of the riskiest, scariest games of chicken that America has ever seen. By refusing to fund “The Wall" they subsequently forced our president to reopen the government without having to compromise a thing. Meanwhile, Nancy had already quietly canceled his January 23rd SOTU ("I'm writing to inform you that the House will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President's State of the Union address until the government has reopened"). And then even after he reopened it, she still made him sweat a little before rescheduling it. In case you missed this in school (I did), the President cannot just show up to deliver the State of the Union - he or she must first wait for a written invitation from The Speaker of the House.
Okay? Mad respect.
And for the first time, I became aware of the real power she was concealing under that fluttery, fragile demeanor.
So anyway, back to Tuesday night, while it was hard not to be entirely captivated by those stunning female-lawmakers dressed in all white, it was really NP who was the star of the night. With every set of eyes on her, she was Leonard Bernstein up there, conducting the whole dang event. We all watched her for the signals; when to dismiss, when to rise, when to groan and of course when to clap.
I found myself watching to the end, fully engrossed in the “show behind the show.” I needed an ally to view the event with even a modicum of safety, and that ally turned out to be, none other than, Speaker Pelosi and the funny little way she claps.
Nancy’s daughter, Christina Pelosi had this to say about her mother’s clapping. A clapping style, which, by the way, has now earned her mother the internet equivalent of a standing ovation:
“Oh yes, that clap took me back to my teen years. Frankly, it means that she’s disappointed that you thought this (whatever it was) could work — but here’s a clap.”
So, I gotta go with Black Twitter on this one. After this year’s State of The Union, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi is indeed The Patron Saint of Shade. And long may she reign.