Yesterday, it was widely reported that John Boehner referred to Senator Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh” during a lecture at Stanford University.
A more fitting metaphor coming from John Boehner might be the Pope’s banana. Let me explain.
Last fall, House Speaker John Boehner was key in orchestrating a visit to Congress by the Pope. In the Pope’s temporary New York City residence, it was roundly admired that the Pope only requested bananas as a treat to be stocked in his apartment for snacks. It was meant as a symbol of modesty, but at the time I thought it could be a symbol of something else.
Bananas don’t grow in New York in the fall. It’s a small symbol of progress and the benefits of trade.
This winter I picked up The Mad Forties by Grace Adams and Edward Hutter based on the recommendation of journalist Rose Wilder Lane to industrialist Jasper Crane in their letters. Mad Forties is an entertaining book that came out in the 1940’s as a looking-back on cultural babble in the 1840’s. It gives evidence for the off-character libertarian snark:
They deemed it absurd for Henry James and Ralph Waldo Emerson to dare argue the fine points of reincarnation with a man as famed for his learning as Professor George Bush. They said that the pleasantest results of faster rail and steamship service was that it allowed New Yorkers to enjoy bananas and visitors all the year round.
In addition to the oddly transcendental buzz on Professor George Bush (1796-1859), a distant member of the Bush family who was a Biblical scholar, abolitionist and American Zionist, it’s an entertaining read for the maddening year of 2016.
Is this a year harking back to the Middle Ages, when politicians could transfix the news by calling their opponents the Devil? Does the Establishment not only have an “inner Trump,” but an inner medieval? If so, then I hope the Pope’s Banana can become a symbol of modernity and progress. We need a tropical level of light and heat in public discourse in order to reverse the fall to the bottom.
I am sure Mr. Boehner would have liked this title for himself, but since he failed to bring real progress to Washington, DC it is undeserved. Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina have a real fighting chance to bring it.
This is my attempt to make lemonade out of an indecent remark made solely by Mr. Boehner, so no Pope’s name was harmed in posting it.
“I wish you all the best – think of the banana,” Pope Francis actually advises to the youth of the world. “Think of resisting before difficulty. Escaping, going far away, is not a solution. You need to be courageous. Have you understood what it means to be courageous?”