Like many people I do not have time to watch TV. But I do try to read sometimes. I did not hear Donald Jr. say “no, I did not tell my dad about that meeting.” I heard him say “why would I have?” and so forth. I do not understand why some news organizations, mainstream or not, are so eager to jump to conclusions not actually based on careful sifting of evidence.
Also, Mike Pence’s spokesman, speaking today, did not deny that the Vice President may have met with Russians.
Finally, I do not need any more smoking guns. It’s a political process, not a strictly legal process. The president, if not an agent of a foreign adversary, is giving us a pretty good imitation of somebody who’s been turned. Do we really need more than that–assuming we are putting country first, that is.
If the president of the United States is about to go down, I hope that we, the people, do not lose track of our role in enabling him. The English and New English Puritans may have overdone the hair shirt sometimes, but this is a moment when the Puritan custom of days of fasting, prayer, and humiliation might well be good for us. Some of us might wish to skip straight to the Day of Rejoicing over the downfall of Trump, but today should not yet be that day.
Maybe a few of us are not to blame for the low-rent mobster government that is now in place. But many if not most of us did too little to protect American democracy and our constitutional republic. That goes especially for the Republican Party, which suffered a hostile takeover and an astonishing loss of dignity. But the Democratic Party and the apathetic nonvoters and the many millions of political independents–can we really say we are not at least partly to blame for the Wrestlemania presidency? Are we embarrassed? Do we want to look away? Yes, but we also need, for our own sake, to reckon with our own failure to do enough to promote and defend civilization and culture and decency.
P.S. I am not saying that those who voted for Trump are necessarily more blameworthy than those who voted for Clinton or someone else or no one at all. Trump was garish and bombastic and offensive to many Trump voters, who nevertheless believed him the lesser evil. That was then, Hillary is not the issue anymore. She is not next in line if and when Trump goes down. That would be Pence. I only hope he turns out to be no worse than a conventional rightist meathead. And some victims of Trump’s seduction may not yet or ever be penitent. But we as a people (or we as an electoral college) might all do well to consider ourselves penitent victims of seduction, as we try to rehabilitate our democratic constitutional republic.
Dear Mr. Snowflake-In-Chief-Elect Trump:
The cast of “Hamilton” broke the fourth wall last night in the presence of Vice President-elect Pence. You demand an apology. Let’s recap what Aaron Burr/Brandon Dixon said: “We have a message for you, sir…We are the diverse America…alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not…uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” Before reading his statement, Dixon asked the audience to stop booing Pence: “there’s nothing to boo, ladies and gentlemen. We’re all here sharing stories of love.”
You say “the Theater must always be a safe and special place.” How, my poor snowflake-elect, are you going to get through your term as president of 320-plus Americans? Mr. Dixon, on behalf of the cast, said to Mr. Pence “we are scared of you (based in part, Dixon might have said, on your history of active hostility toward LGBTQ Americans) but we hope you do right in your new position representing the whole country. How you, Trump, can say that Mr. Dixon, by owning his own alarm and anxiety, is guilty of harassing Pence is beyond me. You might try something that your detractors are supposed to be unable to do in response to you: that is, take Mr. Dixon “seriously but not literally.” Doing so might give you some good ideas about making the USA an even more safe and special place than it is right now.
So far you, soon-to-be Snowflake-in-Chief, have communicated some signals of generosity and some of score-settling. My advice is to take the high road whenever you can, or you will consume yourself–which would be just your problem if you were not about to become president of the whole United States.
Trump is a big strong man who is also begging Vladimir Putin to help him beat Hillary Clinton. Republicans from Mike Pence to Speaker Paul Ryan have responded to Trump’s remarks today by condemning Putin. We know plenty about Putin already. Could you brave defenders of freedom show some courage and say Trump’s words amount to treason? If Hillary Clinton asked for political help from Russian military intelligence, how long would it take for Republicans to call for her imprisonment–oh, they did that already, eh?