Everything We Currently Know About Why Politicians Pinch Air Between their Fingers and Thumbs

Karen L. Sullivan
The Haven
Published in
3 min readAug 20, 2022


Have you ever wondered why all politicians make those same little thumb-finger gestures that say so much and so little at the same time? Here is a field guide to what they mean.


As a last-minute self-intervention to avoid bitchslapping a debate opponent.


To assure voters that your hands are large enough.


To assure voters that your legal team is large enough.


To show how large your hands really are.


To look profound while railing against bologna smuggling at the Mexican border.


To signal after a finger pinch that having faith is necessary when logic has departed for Cancún.


To rein in the impulse to adjust a sweaty buttcrack.


To rein in the impulse to flick a booger at a Republican.


To indicate that one’s supporters are only this violent.


To indicate you know your joke about the “good old days of segregation” went over this badly.


A little thumb yoga on the campaign trail is healthy.


A “high-three” instead of a high-five indicates your willingness to compromise.


A hearty belch-and-fist maneuver covers moments when you have absolutely no idea what to do.


To announce the opening of the Gates of Hell.


To point at the sky angels who will soon be playing their heavenly beagles.

Karen L. Sullivan writes humor in between more serious projects. Her work is published in The Belladonna, The Haven, Rainshadow Journal, Stonecoast Review, and several sailing magazines. Twitter: @karenlsullivan9.



Karen L. Sullivan
The Haven

Never ask a woman spooning ice cream out of a half-gallon carton how she’s doing. Top Writer in Satire and Ghastly Cooking. https://karenlsullivan.com/about/