When Thomas Paine wrote that “the time hath found us” in his seminal American revolutionary pamphlet “Common Sense,” the “time” wasn’t the run-up to the 2020 election and “us” wasn’t a Democratic Party beset by electoral cupidity.
However, don’t tell that to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has recently rediscovered Paine — at least, someone on her staff has — and she’s been using that quote quite a bit, albeit updated for a modern audience to show that impeaching President Donald Trump is an act of necessary bravery on par with the American Revolution.
Her latest delve into Paine came at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in the nation’s capital on Thursday.
“At the beginning of our country,” Pelosi said, “Thomas Paine said — this was the dark days of the Revolution — he said ‘the times have found us.’”
“‘The times have found us,’” she repeated — which is a bit funny since that’s not the actual quote, but whatever. “We think the times have found us now.”
Yes, it had found all of the people in the room on Thursday, who have “sacrificed their time, their resources and the rest” to help Democrat candidates. They were like the winter soldiers at Valley Forge — hungry, cold, numb feet, willing to sacrifice life and limb for the idea of freedom. You can totally see it, right?
“And so, here we are,” Pelosi said.
“None of us came to Congress to impeach a president. Not anybody. Not anybody. That’s not we are about,” she continued, and apparently without a muffled guffaw to be heard.
“But we did take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic,” she said to applause.
This got some interesting reactions on Twitter.
It’s ironic because the Revolutionary War was about unfair taxes pushed on the people. Trump cut our taxes, and the Democrats want to impose tons more. The Revolutionary War probably isn’t the best example she should use.
— Seanny (@Its_Seanny) October 17, 2019
Somebody give her a civics book not from California. https://t.co/Qxq4AjQHK1
— Greg Krajewski (@GregKrajewski) October 17, 2019
Of course, this guy did have a decent point:
This ridiculous analogy only works with her rank/file followers who have a clue what “The American Revolution War” was.
… Far fewer than you might imagine. https://t.co/YoVEobUik6
— BobLee (@BobLeeSays) October 17, 2019
And those who do, just tell them that the Betsy Ross flag wasn’t just popular among but invented by patriots of the era. When can we break out the “colonizer” chant against Pelosi?
Here’s another quote from a founder that might apply better, one heartily endorsed by the left of late:
“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” Alexander Hamilton
— The Swamp Fox (@YinzgyzPgh) October 17, 2019
By the way, if you think Pelosi dug up this tidbit of Paine’s from her mental storeroom because the right time to oust Trump from office hath found her, keep in mind she’s been using it in 2019 with the regularity that you’ll hear “Buddy Holly” on a Weezer tour, and only slightly more often in the context of calling for impeachment.
“The quote has been on Pelosi’s mind for much of the year,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday in an article about her frequent use of the Paine epigram — two days before she dusted it off again at the DNC event.
“At a March news conference in St. Louis touting the first major bill with Democrats in control of the House, a voting and ethics package, Pelosi cited Paine’s words and said Democrats must ‘protect our Constitution.’
“She used the quote again in a floor speech later that month, twice again in April and in speeches in May. She spoke the words on the House floor at a June vote to hold administration officials in contempt of Congress and wrote them in a July 3 ‘dear colleague’ letter.”
If you manage to book Pelosi for the opening of a Trader Joe’s in the San Fernando Valley, you can bet the odds are better than even she’ll break out something like, “Thomas Paine said, ‘the times have found us’ — the times for convenient access to low, low prices on the kind of food aging hipsters like.”
As for comparing this to the American Revolution, insert your own rolling-eyes emoji here.
It’s not just that she’s comparing what’s ostensibly an election-cycle move to a group of people who underwent unspeakable privations to ensure the freedom that we’ve enjoyed for two-and-change centuries now. That kind of false equivalency and intellectual decadence is far from unusual in politics, either in 2019 or anytime in recent memory.
Instead, I’d like to point out that Speaker Pelosi has long defended Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s nemesis in the 2016 election — one of the most profoundly corrupt major party candidates ever to run for office, a woman whose own scandals should have precluded her from running in the first place. The time hasn’t found Pelosi to tell Hillary to step aside, apparently.
But now, even though we’re not even a month into the Democrats’ non-inquiry inquiry into President Trump, she’s convinced the time hath found her for impeachment — in other words, to overturn the democratic will of the people without an election based on the pretense Donald Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. And she thinks this work is just as important as the American Revolution.
If she wants to see it that way, though, she’d better accept she’s a lot more likely to be cast as King George than as George Washington.
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