When the President of France tries to steer away from hard-won tenets of an advanced social democracy, the people there take to the streets.
Here in the U-S, we watch our executive-in-chief trash government traditions rooted in decency and respect of law without any broad ground-based resistance. Instead, we’re pinning false hopes on impeachment.
It all feels hollow and tiring at the moment.
Lifelong diplomats advancing US policy interests abroad watched Rudy push them out of the way so he could extract a political favor from a vulnerable just-elected President of Ukraine. We have enough people under oath now to consider that fact.
Had Trump (with Rudy as the bag man) just stayed out of the way and green-lit aid without condition, the exhaustive Hunter Biden probe would have come from better, American-based journalists anyway. In fact, the New Yorker piece that was published July 1 laid the foundation of what Trump was looking for.
Yeah, the New York Times is in blatant “there’s nothing there” mode when it comes to Hunter Biden drawing checks from a crooked Ukranian gas company while having few qualifications beyond linkage to his Dad. But the inevitable glare on a presidential campaign would unearth the dicey-ness of Biden’s time in Ukraine if it didn’t already in the New Yorker piece.
After news of the whistleblower complaint broke, I personally remained opposed to impeachment based largely on how bad the Democratic Party leadership in both chambers botched the Mueller hearings. I had zero faith a way more complex politicized process would proceed in a fashion that is orderly and respectful of the constitution.
I hear those like AOC who say this administration’s egregiously underhanded conduct with a foreign government – and the President’s unwillingness to allow a shred of transparency on those interactions demands formal repudiation because his actions constitute election meddling.
But the chance for true repudiation comes in the form of a vote for president on the first Tuesday of November in 2020.
The people elected this guy in 2016. Using impeachment to dislodge him requires a big stack of bipartisan support in the upper chamber – and that’s not happening. Even if by some miracle the senate convicts, we’re into next year and the full grind of the 2020 campaign.
Is not a cleaner, more decisive and healthier result in an advanced democracy a win in the electoral college?
My distaste for the current president lies not with his art-less, outside the boundaries dealmaking – rather it’s his recklessly obsessive and gravely damaging contempt for the environment and immigrants.
The two images I’ll never be able to erase from my memory of this man: 1. when he tossed rolls of paper towels as if they were footballs for a photo op at a relief distribution center in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria destroyed large parts of the island (while he pinched the pursestrings of meaningful aid and feuded with elected leaders there as they were submerged) and 2. his Tweet mocking Greta Thunberg and her speech at the UN.
The only value I see in the impeachment hearings so far is learning about how career diplomats at the state department (George Kent was especially enlightening) carry out their duties.
Back to the France tie-in: The weekly gilets jaunes demonstrations across that country (pictured above – from the large Toulouse march I observed on 10-12-19) are now a year-long and counting social movement reacting to the same types of abuses of power seen here. In terms of duration and intensity, the gilets jaunes are becoming one of the greatest sustained protest movements of my adult life. The French take to the streets and make decision-makers rethink or at least weigh the consequences of their actions. Similarly powerful regular people-driven movements are happening in Hong Kong and Santiago, too.
Here, we limit our voices. We sit back and watch a slow, waste-of-time show aimed listlessly at undoing an election. The people behind the ouster effort take the same dirty money from polluters and defenders of the wealth gap as the guy and his supporters on the other side of the fight.
We don’t react loudly and forcefully enough to make the power abusers uncomfortable about their outrageousness.
If anything, impeachment and all that goes with it will strengthen the will of this President’s uniquely set-in-their-ways supporters who I would have hoped might have walked away from him in 2020 on the merits.
As I sit here one year out, I can’t fathom a re-election win for Make it Great but if he gets four more, I’d hope the lines he’ll continue to cross will be met with a loud and strong citizenry that needs to get off its collective ass.