Before we get to the political turmoil we are currently living through, there is something else.
Last week we held a good discussion about the friends we make online and the hole that is left in our lives when they disappear. On Saturday, Kate Carlson left a note on that post about her mother, Pat Trimbell, whose name turned up regularly in the comments here for many years.
”My name is Kate,” she wrote. “I am reading this blog for the first time as I saw that it was bookmarked on my mother's computer. I now have her computer because she recently died...so this has been an interesting and timely blog for me to read.
“I have no idea if she (Pat Trimbell) was an active voice here or not. But I know that the content and people of this blog were a blessing in her life, so I thank you all for that.”
And thank you, Kate, for letting us know. Most often, we don't.
THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PREDICAMENT
[What follows may not be directly related to age or growing old, but as a U.S. citizen living through a crisis that makes Watergate and the Nixon resignation feel like a day in the park, I believe it is important to make some space for those of us who gather here to talk about what I see as our national shame.]
On Friday evening, the U.S. Senate voted mostly along party lines to reject including documents and witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald John Trump. (Before you read further, it might be helpful to read Maureen Dowd's weekend column in The New York Times if you have access.)
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins did her usual “maybe, maybe not” tap dance about her vote for a few days, eventually siding with the Democrats in the hope it will help her re-election campaign which is under water.
Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney, on the other hand, voted with the Democrats because, apparently, he believes a trial requires evidence and witness testimony. What a concept.
While the trial was underway, there were several leaks from John Bolton's upcoming book, The Room Where It happened, a memoir of his time as National Security Advisor in the Trump administration.
Bolton had said he would testify at the impeachment trial if subpoenaed but the Republicans were having none of it. Nor were they having any of it from Lev Parnas, the indicted cohort of Rudy Giuliani, who is eager to testify.
The president's legal team at the trial didn't deny the details of the leaks and didn't have much of a defense beyond stating, “He didn't do it.” The more awful truth, in fact, is that the defense came down to this: “If the king does it, it's legal.”
And that is where we are now – living in a monarchy.
Next up is the annual State of the Union address at which the president will address the entire Congress on Tuesday evening. At least he cannot crow that he was acquitted in the Senate (that won't happen until Wednesday) but never one to hide his light, he is certain to make the speech all about himself.
As, I suppose, befits a king.
The thing is, leaks and more books already in the pipeline along with photographs, videos, recordings and brave patriots like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Ambassador Fiona Hill and others will continue to tell the truth out loud. Eventually.
What worries me is what this president will do to our republic between now and eventually. It can easily be catastrophic from which there would be no return. In fact, I wonder if we have reached that point already. Certainly we have in regard to the Republican Party.
You may have noticed that the language in this post is a little more stilted than usual. That's because I couldn't trust myself to remain civil on this subject without coloring carefully within the lines.
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