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Americans deserve better

New Hampshire voters are savvy. Those in Greater Nashua are particularly adept at sorting through fakery and nonsense that often are the hallmarks of politics.

It’s a shame our country’s leaders can’t do the same. Bad behavior was on full display during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, when partisan politics, bullying and disrespect overshadowed what is right and good with our nation.

The exchange between President Donald Trump and his failure – unintentional or otherwise – to shake the hand of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pointedly illustrates why voters are so disillusioned. So, too, did Pelosi’s apparent targeted response to Trump’s slight.

Like two children fighting over a toy, Pelosi in a temper-tantrum moment ripped up the president’s speech. In doing so, she made a broad-reaching statement that dismissed everything and everyone highlighted by Trump.

This included Trump’s recognition of Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, one of the last-surviving Tuskegee Airman, who is 100 years old. McGee was accompanied by his 13-year-old great-grandson, Iain Lanphier, of Arizona. Iain’s goal is to become a member of the newly formed Space Force.

Trump also recognized Janiyah Davis, a fourth-grader from Pennsylvania who received an Opportunity Scholarship to further her education via the option of school choice.

The president also touted better access to health care for veterans, decreased homelessness, improved wages for lower-income earners, lower unemployment rates, record job growth and more than we possible have room to list on this editorial page.

The point is, America deserves better than Pelosi’s and Trump’s harmful power struggle. These national highlights that are the purpose of the State of the Union are wins for everyone, regardless of party affiliation.

Trump is a Republican from New York. Pelosi is a Democrat from California. He is her president, whether he likes it or not and whether she does. The president should – barring any safety concern – shake the hand of any American, when it is extended, especially that of the U.S. House speaker.

In that capacity, Pelosi transcends the liberties afforded an average citizen. She, like Trump, must be held to a higher standard. Her immature response of tearing up the president’s words sent a far more ominous message than anything Trump may have verbalized.

It’s behavior such as this that has voters demanding change from both parties. We believe a wave of change is coming in America, beginning with the Democratic Party. From a sea of more than a dozen of serious contenders, the field of candidates vying for that party’s nomination quickly has been reduced to only a few.

We want to remind these candidates – and the president – that Granite Staters have put you all on notice. They are not toys. Nor will they tolerate a tug-of-war battle in which their state or their nation sustains further damage from politicians who put themselves before their office.

We believe voters in New Hampshire’s First-In-The-Nation Primary Election will make a bold statement of their own on Tuesday. And they won’t have to rip up papers – in this case their ballots – to do it.

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