The Self-Deception of the Cornered

He is impeached.

The senate, as it is currently configured, will likely not convict and remove. Mitch McConnell has already thrown his conscience and oath of office and any claim to adherence to the Constitution on a trash heap and set it on fire. The GOP have the majority and unless there are major defections, the trial will be a formality, a joke. But the impeachment is real.

I believe the man currently holding the office of the president is a feckless, somewhat clever opportunist who has no real grasp of the meaning of the office. I actually believe he is having a hard time understanding what the problem is with the Ukrainian affair. He has a very General Motors attitude (circa 1950): What’s good for me is good for the country. He should be removed for basic incompetence, but unfortunately that is not illegal or unConstitutional.

But the rest of the Party, that is another matter. It’s not even so much that they’re backing him, but that they keep trying to put a respectable gloss on it. Reputations are descending into a pit the longer this goes along. It is fairly clear that they are desperately trying to hold onto enough legitimacy to convince people not to throw them out.

They should not worry. Even a bad act seems to have fans. Many of them will retain their seats because too many voters see this as a contest between different forms of America. It does not bear too much examination to understand the motivations of many MAGA supporters. That onion has too many layers, but every one of them will make you cry.

The economy is rolling along like gangbusters, so many people believe he’s doing something right. They still do not grasp the nature of economy trends and the realities behind those numbers. Many people seem to feel that growth at 2 to 2.5% is barely better than depression, and yearn for 3.4 to 5%, not realizing that such growth rates are like shots of ether in an engine, and while it will run magnificently for a short while, it will quickly tear itself apart because that level of growth is unsustainable.  The compromises necessary to achieve it will result in recession and damage to certain segments of the population when the entire system seeks to find equilibrium. It doesn’t matter. What is sad is so many people think high growth will redound to them in some way, and it rarely does.

Wages are going up. This is likely the result of many factors having nothing to do with the president. But too many people are working longer hours, or multiple jobs, or are chronically underemployed, and we still do not count the unemployed who exhaust their benefits and fall off the rolls of those who are counted.

It is possible to build economic infrastructures that sustain and include, but it cannot be done so long as we do nothing about the extraction of wealth by the top 1%—who do not spend it, but hoard it—and simultaneously do nothing about the power inequity between employers and employees. Also, we need to address the whole monetary system. We need to look at basic economic policies that put necessities out of reach for too many and the burdens of cost on the wrong people.

But that’s not what has been happening. Because there obviously is no comprehension on the part of the party in power as to what any of that means.

Next year will require historic voter turn-out. Not so much to remove the president but to do something about all the other offices held by people who think doing less means offering freedom.  Local, state, and federal offices needs to be changed over. We know this. We also know that many people will assume a high-minded attitude about who gets their vote that in the past has resulted in split tickets, no-shows, and low turn-out.  This is no time to stand on inappropriately applied principles that might leave the corruption in place. We may have to do this several times in the next couple of decades before the message is made clear.

For myself, I have come to the end of my patience. A young girl from a foreign country steps up to speak truth to power.  She is eloquent, she has her facts in hand, and she speaks from the heart, and the response of this administration is to ridicule her. If the message is sound, the messenger is secondary, but the utter contempt on display by these people is appalling.

That alone should be enough to turn away the support, but it will not for too many because this has become like a football game, and winning is the only thing that matters.

There is not a single cogent, well-considered, thoughtful justification for this man to remain in office. To try to assert otherwise says nothing about him and everything about the defender. And the defense now reeks of desperation.

So he is impeached. He is at the head of an army of the cornered. With every tirade we are shown the complete abandonment of responsible, principled governance by them. The word salad has become incomprehensible. What world are they seeing? Not the one I live in.

Not one I want to live in.

The frightening thing is, they seem to believe their own blind mouthings.  What must it be like to indulge that level of self-deception?

In the last couple of years I have been in a number of exchanges with his supporters. Not one has said anything coherent about policy. All of them lead, continue with, and end with vitriolic attacks on anyone who offers the least criticism. Maybe some of them don’t know the difference. But it has been consistent to such a degree that I find it no longer tenable to try to find reason in such defense.

This is the populist politics of fear. They are frightened. Of something. Many have personal complaints that often make perfect sense, but when translated into national policies, the sense vanishes in a cloud of righteous anger.

We’ve been through periods of this kind of terrified divisiveness before. I don’t believe this one is any worse than past tearings, but it is far more communicated because of the tools at our disposal. It feels worse, and that feeds the fear.

Stop. Take a breath. Step away from the newsfeeds for a week or a month. Do human things.

And then let us actually make things better.