Well well well.
Again, I decide to engage in some “me” time on my drive home on July 26 in the Year of our Lord MMXVIII by listening to Exile on Main Street (Happy Birthday, Sir Mick!), and return home to a welter of news.
CNN broke the story, later confirmed by NBC, that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former consigliere/bagman/mob fixer, is willing to testify to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller the Third (or Bobby Three Sticks, as we affectionately call him), that Trump not only knew about Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in 2016, but that he gave the go-ahead to conduct it.
I don’t think I can overstate how big of a piece of bombshell news this is.
If Cohen can corroborate this assertion, this is clear evidence of Trump colluding with Russia to throw an American presidential election.
If Mueller can prove that Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin to subvert American democracy, this will be the most seminal moment in US history, greater even than the Civil War, or at least on a par with it.
Democracy is not a given. It’s not assured that parties in the commonwealth will abide by democratic norms. As we have seen with Merrick Garland, what we thought were ironclad rules were merely understandings between, mostly, gentlemen. If you weren’t seen as part of that long tradition, if you were seen as an interloper—really, a black president telling a white Kentuckian what to do?—then those norms went out the window.
What we have seen for the past few decades is that one of the major parties, bit by bit, eschewed all the conventions which held together this republic. Perhaps, at first, it had a noble intent. The Republic had to be “saved” from those who wished to subvert it. From the radical feminists, from the homosexuals, from the black power proponents, from the Chicano activists, from the pansy-wristed leftists, from everyone who wished to overturn an established order. No, actually, that wasn’t a noble intent, but, in a base, tribal manner, it was understandable. But what we have now in the GOP is nothing but a party shared by the venal and the fascist. The venal wish to heap lucre upon their benefactors and, by osmosis, upon themselves. The fascist seek not to uphold an old order, but to create an entirely new one, one based on a blood and soil which, at least in theory, was never an American ideal.
Donald Trump is the apotheosis of this slouching towards Bethlehem. There was, however, one problem: the country had already changed too much for this to be a tenable project. This is proven by the fact that Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by 3 million votes.
The only way Trump could win was by greasing the wheels. By illicit help from abroad, which knew the weak spots of our creaky electoral system, and was able to swing just enough votes in three key states so that the popular vote winner—who in any other democracy would have been the outright winner—lost in a system designed to mollify ancient slave societies.
So the bad guys won, right? We’re in a fascist hellworld, right?
There’s a funny thing about us Yanks. We often do the wrong thing. The spectacularly wrong thing. The wrongest of wrong things. (Cf. slavery, indigenous extermination, Japanese internment camps, turning away Jewish refugees.) But there are still those pesky ideals we purport to stand for. And they gnaw at us like Jiminy Cricket. They remind us that at our best, we are a race of light. We stand for equality, for fairness, for human rights. And that, bit by bit, we start living up to those ideals. And as we live up to those ideals, we realize that it feels good. It feels right. We can look at ourselves in the mirror with pride. And woe betide anyone who wishes to take us back, to subvert those ideals, to traffic in the base and the evil.
What we’re seeing in the reaction to Trump is a nation reawakening to those ideals. Reawakening to the idea—no, the certainty—that those ideals are worth living for, fighting for, and, if necessary, dying for. (Rest in peace, Heather Heyer.) We will not go gentle into that good night. We will rage, rage, against the dying of the light. And we will triumph. Not because we are superior as individuals. But because that for which we fight is superior to what our enemies fight for. We fight for love, they for hate. We fight for freedom, they for tyranny. We fight for a world in which all are created equal, they for one in which they are privileged. Those who fight to save life will always win over those who seek to destroy it, for we have the more motivation.
The American Empire is at an end. It will be hard going to convince the world, after we rid ourselves of Trump and his millions of enablers, that we can ever be trusted again. That will be the work of my generation and the one after mine. The empire may be at an end, but the Republic will live on. It will be one which is more humble, more cognizant of its limitations. For a few years it devolved into a dark place. But it is resilient, and, no longer being the hegemon, it can exert an influence beyond that of empire. It can exert an influence as an example, of a people who sank and then redeemed themselves.
Many things will need mending. But I am more confident now than I ever have been that we know what’s required, and will do the necessary work. Anything else will be a betrayal of those who came before us, and those who yet unborn.
Like what you read? Chip in, keep us going.