Saturday, February 13, 2021

After The Trial


Monday will be Presidents Day, a phony shopping-weekend substitute for the authentic observance of Washington's Birthday (still the federal holiday's official name). That said, this holiday highlights the supreme significance of the American presidency - from the idealized presidency of George Washington's "Farewell Address" (the annual reading of which will continue on Monday as a Senate tradition) to the degraded presidency of Donald Trump (garishly on display in his just completed second impeachment trial).

The House Managers effectively described Trump's authoritarian effort before the election to foment distrust in the fairness and trustworthiness of election procedures and his dishonest and destructive effort after the election to attempt to reverse the lawfully arrived at result of the election, all culminating in his incitement of an anti-government mob that had assembled in Washington on January 6 and his failure to respond appropriately to the violence that followed. It is inarguable that, had Trump not falsely claimed that he had actually won the election and encouraged his followers to protest in support of this lie, there would have been no mob scene in Washington on January 6, no attack upon the Capitol, no attempt to disrupt the constitutionally prescribed process of counting the electoral votes, no lives lost and many others endangered, and our nation and its institutions not embarrassed forever in the eyes of the world.

Seven Republicans Senators - Burr (NC), Cassidy (LA), Collins (ME), Murkowski (AK), Romney (UT), Sasse (NE), and Toomey (PA) - had the courage and morality to acknowledge all this and join their 48 Democratic and 2 Independent colleagues in voting Guilty. That was not enough to disqualify Trump from future federal office, but it is enough to consign Trump forever to the infamy of history.

That said, the terrifying legacy of our worst president will continue to haunt our damaged country and our impoverished politics. His deplorable cult of personality and his political party's enabling of him will persist as a political force threatening justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and the common good.

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