Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Are We Capable?

precarious times
     I've been replaying the moment I stood next to a USGS scientist staring down into the caldera of the most active volcano in history when the earth shook and a jet engine sound rattled our ears as a noxious cloud of black sulfur gas enveloped us. The gas piston tremor created a strong earth quake. Mother Earth was not terra firma. In that moment I realized this planet of ours is alive, still forming, unpredictable, eruptive and that our human certainties are not so certain and there are forces more powerful at work.
    Our ordered, legally defined and constitutional way of public life is being shaken now and assaulted by forces including a noxious self inflicted ignorance.
     The people's House impeaches the US President, Britain votes again as Brexit undermines stability, Iranians die as they protest a regime, Hong Kong unravels, allies make joke and laugh at president Trump, dictators and strongmen are  on the rise, nationalism once again creeps virus like back onto the world stage and meanness trumps cooperation time and time again.
impeachment is hard
     It is the right thing to impeach Donald Trump. There are many more reasons he should be removed, but the case against him as outlined in the hearings is undeniable. He abused power, he misused the office, he has obstructed justice and the constitutional process. 
    Those who say it is only politics are wrong. Impeachment is about now and the future. 
    If Trump is not impeached, it sends a destructive memo to all future Presidents. Those who say it undoes the will of the people seem to miss that is exactly what Trump did when he attempted to withhold funds that were approved by the congress, representing the people's will.
    The founders wrote in the impeachment process because they wanted future generations to have the power to protect our system by removing a despot, would be dictator, criminal or crackpot. If this president is not impeached it is a signal that his abuses, his invitation to foreign powers to meddle in our elections by money or subversion, or manipulation, could be repeated by future presidents.
    He is not being impeached because he lies dozens of times every day. He is not being impeached because he has and continues to act like a traitor. He is not being impeached because he advances Putin's agenda on the world stage and behaves as though he is the Russian's stooge. He is not being impeached because he has tried to dismantle the State Department, or denigrated our federal law enforcement, or undermines our intelligence agencies, or demeans the federal judiciary, or because he is trying to make money for his family business while president. He is not being impeached because he meets privately with a Russian spymaster and gives away secrets. He's not being impeached because he betrayed allies and allowed their slaughter. He's not being impeached because he pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. He's not being impeached because most of his campaign staff are now in prison as federal prisoners. 
    Instead he is being impeached because he is a clear and present danger to our way of government, our constitutional system, and because he seeks to overthrow the balance of power between three separate branches of government. He is being impeached because he is not above the law.
an age of ignorance
    That it is unlikely he will be convicted in a Senate trial does indeed speak to how his cultish influence has destroyed a once proud Republican party. It speaks volumes about the cowardice and self interest so evident in most Republicans on the Hill. But it speaks more loudly about how ignorant we have allowed ourselves to become.
    I've written here about my concern about our failure to teach civics, government and the lessons of US history. We are living at the junction of that failure and the rise of a defiant ignorance fed by bias, manipulation and brainwashing.
    Several recent studies have reported that a decline in newspaper readership leads to more corruption, greater polarization and a decline in voting. We are there. 
    So much talk is about "motivating the base." Isn't that a variation of a kind of mob rule? Where is there intelligent discussion or civil debate? We've devolved and we've done it to ourselves as we fail to teach, and then feed the worst instincts by tribalized and echo chamber news channels. One of them, the one founded by a sexual predator, spends most of the day engaged in Russian disinformation, brainwashing and Trump worship.
    Even at that, millions get their "news" and opinion shaping info from social media platforms infected with manipulation and persuasion programs, run by all number of nefarious players, including foreign and hostile powers.
    When you see Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, John Kennedy, Lindsey Graham and company actually speaking Russian disinformation your head wants to explode. Reagan, HW Bush, Eisenhower and Nixon must be spinning.  
    I guess there is a reason he's called Moscow Mitch. When you compare what the Republican Party used to stand for on the Soviet Union, national security and intelligence and you hear the words and see the actions of Trump and his synchophants, it should be clearly obvious why impeachment is important to our survival. Giuliani is off trying to trump up more fabricated dirt, even as this president is being impeached. If they are not stopped, where in the world will they take us and what will they try to do?
    43% of self identified Trump Republicans believe he is right to ignore the Constitution and obstruct Congress. Folks, that's the kind of blind loyalty the world saw in Germany in the late 30's. It's in the history books.
     If we did a better job of teaching history, if our graduates knew the difference between a Governor and a US Senator, or could identify the three branches of government, Nunes would be looking for a job, Jim Jordan would still be hanging out in the locker room watching his fellow coach masturbate in the shower with his wrestling team, and Trump would still be calling New York radio stations posing as John Miller to talk about how sexually active "his boss Donald Trump is."
Bill Barr would be selling tupperware and Moscow Mitch would spend all day on the liars bench drinking from a brown paper sack. 
    An educated and informed electorate has a way to deal with hustlers, idiots and liars. We are not a well informed electorate and there is more blind faith than due diligence and more opinions than facts. The ground is shaking, and a loud noxious presence is apparent. The certainties are not.

why build a statue of trump and mitch and company

       With apology to those who are deserving statesmen and women and genuine heroes. Still, even for them, nature is what it is. And me thinks nature would love a chance to speak to the trump gang.

        Back to the Irish trail, soon. Thanks for indulging another historic US moment.

         See you down the trail.


  1. I'm floored most of the time by what we're going through with all of it and you don't know what it means to be able to read your thoughts -- it's really as though you're grabbing my arm and helping to lift me up. (Which never happens).
    Thanks Tom. You're fair, objective and precise.

    And all the reasons he's not being impeached? That's the sad part. The man lowers the bar every GD day.

  2. Tom:

    I thank you for your eloquence and precision in your written words. They are insightful, accurate, important and helpful.

    It still floors me how we have changed so in three short years. The ugly nature that can lurk within us has been released via Trump. I never imagined there could be worse than Nixon.