Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change
I am currently on retreat, posting from an undisclosed remote location. I know, if I were home and had the access to the internet I am accustomed to, I would be online 24/7, watching the Comey firing play out.
During the Watergate hearings, I had a brand new baby. I spent hours, rocking her in front of the most riveting tv. Did it effect her? She’s got her father’s eyes and her mother’s politics.
Then Gerald Ford told us that our national nightmare was over. The institutions of our government had triumphed over a lawless president. Our forefathers had proved, once again, so prescient.
We learned only this year, though we had long suspected, that Nixon scuttled the peace talks, prolonging the war in Vietnam and bringing about the deaths of hundreds of Americans and Vietnamese in order to be re-elected. Inarguably more serious than Watergate. Our institutions didn’t prevent or uncover this. They didn’t work all the way up to the White House in the Iran/Contra scandal or when Reagan possibly undermined Carter’s attempt to rescue our hostages from Iran.
So really, all we have is Watergate and even that would have been iffy without a tape in which the crime is explicitly planned by the president. Note to future presidents: turn off the tape.
A few months back, Tim Weiner told me that Trump was boxed in, because firing Comey would constitute obstruction of justice. Yet here we are. I guess the law only matters if there is some one willing to enforce it. (He also said that only John McCain and James Comey stand between us and the abyss. Don’t look down!)
Today our institutions are all a subsidiary of the Republican Party, inc. The Republic is only as strong as the integrity of Lying Paul Ryan, Old Loathsome Mitch, Slippery Susan Collins, and that fun Bomb-loving duo, Graham/McCain. We are not encouraged.
Falling so quickly on the heels of the despicable, indefensible tax cut for the wealthy known as Trumpcare, one might be excused for feeling a little despair.
Does the Republican Party even care that Russia may control the administration, or that the government is being run solely in order to enrich the Trumps in particular and the wealthy in general? Do they feel any responsibility to democracy and the constitution and the nation? Things could change, but as of today, all signs point to no. It’s always possible that this is all going exactly as they always dreamt it would.
Addendum today from Paul Krugman:
[I]it’s time to face up to the scary reality here. Most people now realize, I think, that Donald Trump holds basic American political values in contempt. What we need to realize is that much of his party shares that contempt.