Pence tells all in ‘So Help Me God’

Terri Schlichenmeyer For The North Platte Telegraph

A mile wide, six miles deep.

That’s the divide that needs repairing, a chasm that just gets wider. It dismays you. It ranks you. And “So Help Me God,” by Mike Pence, won’t narrow our political gap at all.

Unless you’ve been sleeping since about 2016, you know who Pence is, but you might not know his background. He was born in the middle of a large, loving Catholic family and raised with small-town ethics. He admired his father and adored his mother, your typical kid with a typical mid-century Midwestern life. When he was a young man, he went to college, married and entered politics because people who knew him urged him to do so.

By then, Pence had become an Evangelical Christian, a fact that envelops nearly every snip of story on almost every page of this memoir. It’s not something merely about him — it’s a very major part of his entire being, and his story.

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Pence proceeds, post-biography, to write of his earliest political career and the GOP colleagues he befriended while in Congress, while seeming to have little more than disdain for most of the Democrats he met. He didn’t know Donald Trump early in Trump’s run for candidacy, and so he was somewhat surprised to learn that Trump was considering Pence as vice president.

Pence says that at their first meeting, Trump was attentive and thoughtful, and that they were friends pretty quickly. It’s a sentiment he repeats throughout this book, though he frequently admits to having differences in agreement with the president. Pence writes, for example, about times when he spoke to Trump about some of the transgressions he felt that Trump committed (such as the incident with the Khans, a Gold Star family), for which Pence seems to suggest that Trump understood that he was wrong. Despite what may seem like a scolding, Pence says that the two worked side-by-side in harmony.

If you’re not confused yet, hang on …

Curiously, given the interviews Pence has granted in the past few weeks, and considering the last 80 pages of his book, most of “So Help Me God” is dutifully complimentary to Trump — and there’s where the divide lies. Things just don’t match up.

Pence writes of a calm, thoughtful, slow-to-anger, well-measured, non-impulsive, humble, faithful president who worked non-stop solely for the entirety of his constituents — a description which could make some readers wonder if they and Pence lived in the same America. The post-biographical pages of this book make four years of the Trump administration feel like a happy visit to Mayberry with a TNT-loving dragon’s lair just down the road.

And those last 80 pages? The “anger” Pence has claimed over what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, feels like little more than a toe-stubbing.

In the end, this book is not for anyone who’s even slightly liberal, is very exhausted, or both. It’s meant more for Red-Staters and anyone who hopes for Trump or Pence 2024.

In other words, readership of “So Help Me God” will probably just follow the divide.

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