I've been struck by the huge amount of whining from Republican lawmakers in the past several weeks. It typically goes like this. Trump or one of his hit-men puts in a telephone call to some bureaucrat somewhere and the bureaucrat caves. Then everybody circles their wagons to have the "pressure" conversation. "That administrator is under a lot of pressure from the President," pundits say. "It's terrible."
To which I say, bullshit.
Here's the truth: No one can put pressure on anyone else unless they're holding a gun to their head or something similar. Short of that, succumbing to pressure is just weakness of character and cowardice. It works like this. I call on the phone and lean hard on you to get you to do what I want. I coax, cajole, guilt-trip, threaten, whatever. I really, really, really want you do go along with me. I do my best to brow-beat you into going along.
What do you do? You have a couple of options. You can cave to my wishes and then say you were "pressured" into something you didn't want to do. You blame me because you don't have the spine to take responsibility for your cowardice. And it's easy to get the people around you to go along with your pity party. It's not your fault. The devil make you do it.
Or you can tell me to fuck off and then do what you really think is right.
Pressure is not something done to you (again, unless there's a gun to your head). It's something you feel -- or don't feel -- based on what someone else does or says. You are always, always, always, free to disregard what you might think of as pressure. You are always free to behave with integrity. It's your choice.
Might feeling "pressure" put you in a difficult position? Of course it might. We all find ourselves in difficult positions from time to time, occasionally with dire consequences. You could lose a job or find yourself on the outs with a group of friends. Indeed, that thing some call "peer pressure" is one of the most common illusions of pressure people feel. But it's not real. You are always free to make your own choices and ignore what others want you to do.
Blaming their actions on outside pressure is one of the most despicable behaviors I see in elected officials. Republicans, in particular, are always fretting about what Trump wants them to do. From time to time an elected Republican ignores Trump's wishes (as they seem to be doing in Michigan), but for the most part, they swallow their integrity, remain silent, and enable the asshole to be exactly the asshole they've learned to fear.
Cowards, one and all.