January 2020 Archives

Dear America,

It may have been mentioned before or since, but last night is the first time I have heard anyone bring up the primary reason for which Donald Trump should be convicted in The Senate.  The fact is that he withheld aid appropriated by Congress for a foreign country, and it is clear also that he did so to further his own campaign for reelection.  Congress denominated that concatenation of events "abuse of power," and that should be sufficient to remove Trump from office.  But the real reason that his nefarious conduct merits removal is this: Trump arrogated to himself the identity of the United States as Adam Schiff briefly stated last night.  But that brief acknowledgment of the gravity of Trump's malfeasance does not sufficiently describe the threat to American democracy.

Donald Trump has proudly declared Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and R.T. Erdogan to be "good friends."  What those three men have in common is that they are not just the leaders of their countries' politically.  They are their countries in that whatever formal efforts anyone makes to deal with North Korea, Russia and Turkey respectively, they must satisfy the demands of the leader personally.  Decisions are not made by the North Korean government; they are made by Kim.  Russia doesn't take actions on the world stage like annexing Crimea; Putin does.  People aren't arrested by the Turkish government for expressing opposition to political repression; Erdogan does that.  And Trump, in that he is nothing more than an ego with feet, thinks he merits the same deference and veneration that the others ostensibly have.  After all, who's better than Trump.  Kim, Putin and Erdogan are the embodiments of their nations and they have complete autonomy.  They are for all intents and purposes kings.  That's what Donald Trump thinks he should be.  He thinks that his opinion should be the law, and that is in fact the way in which he governs.  That is why Trump's actions in that "perfect call" are so important and don't just merit, but require his removal from office.

If you read these letters regularly, you may remember me writing that I predict that Trump will attempt to get the 22nd Amendment to out constitution repealed, and as evidence of the likelihood I recounted an event at one of his Texas rallies.  A chant of "4 more years" went up in the crowd, and Trump stepped up to the microphone and unabashedly said, as near as I can remember exactly this: "If you want to make them crazy, ask for 12."  He didn't say 8 more years, which would equal the length of FDR's full terms if he had lived to serve them.  He said 12...one more term than even one of our most beloved presidents was elected to serve.  That's how much he thinks of himself.  That's how entitled he feels.  That is at least a glimpse of the extent of his arrogance and conceit.

Donald Trump's crime is not abuse of power or office.  It is that he thinks he is, like Louis XIV, the state: L'├ętat C'est, Moi, old King Louie said, and that is the nature of Trump's real crime.  It's not that he believes that he is the state.  It is that he requires of the rest of the world's leaders that they believe it.  He wants the same reverence from Putin that he, Trump, has given to Putin.  He wants the same adoration from Kim that he has given, and likewise Erdogan.  Trump doesn't give a fig about North Korea, Russia or Turkey as nations.  He cares only about the exclusive club in which those three autocrats are members, and Trump wants to be a member...in fact, he thinks he is.  That is his crime.  He thinks of himself as an autocrat strutting on not just the national stage, but on the world stage.  He doesn't like the fact that there are others who have more peremptory power than he does, so he calls the President of a sovereign nation and says, and not too subtly either, "I'll give you money if you do me a favor."  But the gravamen of that offer is, I'll give you money, the American people's money, because it's my money to give, and what's more, there is no other way for you to get it than to mollify me and gratify me.  That is the true nature of Trump's high crime or misdemeanor.  He all but said,  L'├ętat C'est, Moi.  And whether that quote attributed to Louis XIV is apocryphal or not, and even though those aren't the words that came out of Trump's mouth, that's what his acts and deeds meant.

So, America, we are at a fork in the road.  Do we want a president or a de-facto king.  I know how I'd vote if I were a senator.  What about you.

Your friend,

Mike

Dear America,

The impeachment trial doesn't start until next week, but what will happen is entirely predictable.  The Republicans will harp incessantly about Trump's 63 million votes and claim that the proceedings are an attempted coup, not an impeachment.  But if the Democrats are smart, they will anticipate the Republicans and point out from the beginning that Trump got ONLY 63 million votes.  The real coup occurred in the electoral college a month after the popular election of Hillary Clinton when the electors voted not for the choice of The People but for the candidate who either more effectively contrived to get elected, even with less than a plurality of the vote, or who had the dumb luck to do so.  No matter which description applies to Trump's "victory," he became president by hook or by crook, not by mandate or merit.

But regardless of what is said or proven in the weeks to come, Trump will not likely be convicted or removed from office.  However, all of his devices will be on the record and everyone will get to know just how corrupt he is, which has implications for the 2020 elections anyway.  Once the American people know what Trump did and why, the vote of the Republicans to acquit Trump will be seen by many as naked partisanship at best.  And those votes will also be seen as insincere fealty to someone other than themselves, and possibly a dereliction of duty.  The majority of the American people--73 million of them voted against Trump--are already inclined to get rid of him as they didn't want him in the first place.  But of the 63 million who did vote for Trump, many will see the Republican capitulation as a betrayal of the public trust that their senators were given when their constituents elected them.  Many Republicans will vote for Democrats because they will know that their incumbent senators put party loyalty first...before the common good.

So this is what I predict.  Trump will be acquitted and the Republicans will rave and fulminate about the now-manifested injustice in the Democrats' almost completely partisan attempt to destroy good President Trump's administration and name.  But the people...even many Republicans...will say partisan or not, the Democrats demonstrated that President Trump is anything but good.  They will come to understand, at least a significant number of them will, that Donald Trump isn't just conniving and corrupt; he is a menace and a threat to democracy.  His admired best friends--Putin, Kim and Erdogan--conspire to be rulers for life, and Trump thinks that he is entitled to what each of those friends has.  He thinks he is superior and that he should have power for life because he is a solipsistic egomaniac.  Once the voters realize that, they will understand that Trump's primary mission if he gets reelected will be to have the 22nd Amendment, which is the one that limits presidents to only two terms, repealed.  That is essentially what Putin has done over the past two decades and what he now schemes to cement in perpetuity.  Trump sees the Machiavellian instincts of these men as virtues, and he believes himself to be at least as virtuous as they are.  For Trump, power is emblematic of superiority, and he wants to believe that he is superior.

So, the risk of putting a megalomaniac in office for who knows how long, and of voting into office a cadre of supporting toadies will prevail.  The American people will recognize that they are standing on the edge of a precipice and are being pushed from behind by a president and senators who are so sanctimonious and self-righteous that they think of themselves as rulers by right, and that such is in the best interest of The People.  Their paternalism is like that of men like Alexander Hamilton and the other founding fathers who created a senate that was originally appointed by state legislatures presumably constituted of only community leaders...in other words local oligarchs...and an electoral college that actually elected the president with the popular vote being no more than a guideline.

But paternalism is really nothing but disdain.  And oligarchy is not democracy...maybe it suffices in Russia, but it doesn't suffice here.  So The People--you, America--will rise up and in the parlance of the thirties, throw the bums out.  That's what I predict.  


Your friend,

Mike

Dear America,

I happen to have been watching C-span a couple of days ago when Senator John Cornyn of Texas was speaking before The Senate.  He always presents himself as a voice of civility and fair-mindedness, but on this occasion he said that the impeachment of Donald Trump that is impending is an attempt to nullify Trump's election by 63 million people, as if the popular vote was a popular mandate of some kind.  It's the same line that I heard Representative Jim Jordan, the Republican junk-yard dog, use during the public sessions of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings.  It's a coup attempt according to Cornyn and Jordan.  I wonder where they heard that...not really.  We've all heard our liar-in-chief make that claim.   Of course they never mention that Hillary Clinton got almost 66 million votes: the most of any candidate during the 2016 presidential election.  And in the bargain, they never mention that about 73 million voters in total, including third-party candidates, voted against Trump.  If there was a popular mandate in 2016 it was that anyone but Trump should be president.  It was Alexander Hamilton's paternalistically inspired electoral college that elected Trump, not the people of the United States.

And there's another, related canard popular among Republicans relative to 2016.  Trump has claimed many times that he won the electoral college in a landslide.  But the fact is that he won with fewer electoral votes than any president since Jimmy Carter except one, and that one exception was George W. Bush.  Bush also became president after being beaten in the popular election by his main opponent, so Trump joins Bush among the ranks of the five presidents who ascended to the presidency without a popular mandate and of the presidents since Carter that won the Electoral college with less than 60% of the electoral votes available: dubious distinctions all.  Yet, despite the dubiety of Trump's claims and their endorsement by Jordan and Cornyn, Republicans go on blithely repeating Trump's lies in the name of partisanship, all of which raises the question, whom do they serve, and what will the American electorate do about it this November.

Some time ago...when I was still in my sixties as I recall...I was standing in line at a store and an elderly man dropped a twenty dollar bill as he was paying for his purchases.  I stepped forward, picked it up and gave it back to him.  He looked at me and thanked me and said, "may you live to be 200."  Like an idiot I said, "God forbid," reiterating something my mother had once said to me about a long-life wish she had received.  We were both outside the store and gone before I realized that what I said wasn't what I meant.  It was just something my mother, then in her mid-eighties and afflicted with anhedonia, regret and anger at life had meant.  What I meant was that I didn't want to live to be a 200 year old.  I would love to be even a sixty year old for 200 years, but I didn't want to be a decrepit 200 year old sitting in a chair waiting to die as my mother was doing at that time.  But what I said wasn't that.  What I did was reject a felicitation from another person offered out of grace and gratitude.

The point isn't that I was rude and ungrateful when I should have been thankful that someone thought well of me and thanked him in return, although I have, and always will, wish that I could find that man and correct my reprehensible response to his well-wishes.  (If you're out there and you read this, please accept my whole-hearted apology and believe that my regret is deeply sincere.)  The point is that I let something fall out of my mouth without thinking about it because I had heard it before.  I'd like to believe that that is what Cornyn did, though I can't believe that Jordan didn't contemplate his contortions of fact.  And I would like to think that we all will go to the poles this year only after thinking about the things we say to others, that they have said to us, and most importantly that we say to ourselves.   I believe that if we all do that, we will get a better result than we did in the 2016 election.  We will elect someone who cares more about people than about things, and I don't care what party he is in so long as his mind is his own and he, hopefully like we voters, thinks for himself before he acts. 

Your friend,

Mike

Categories

Pages

Powered by Movable Type 4.38

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2020 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2019 is the previous archive.

February 2020 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Political Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Categories

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2020 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2019 is the previous archive.

February 2020 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.