Feeling’ Dirty

February 13, 2021

I am one of those who watched the impeachment trial from beginning to end. It ended just a little while ago. I had to take a long, long walk to get out of my head (I didn’t). These last three months since the election have been a bit overwhelming.. I’ve tried to capture the experience of it, but, face it, volumes will be written, it will have incalculable impact… so, far be it from me to try and play writer/historian/documentarian here. Well out of my wheelhouse, well beyond my ability.

Let’s just say I feel dirty. Dirty and overpowered by powers beyond my (and everyone I know’s) control. We’ve all been living in an up is down, down is up house of horrors since trump came on the scene. Helpless to process, and feeling victimized by the daily assaults. (And as I write that, I have to immediately amend, because I realize I’m in a privileged strata–white, educated, monied. Life under the trump regime is a wholly different experience for black and brown people, those who are struggling. I grieve doubly for them.) But the helplessness for me is about understanding right and wrong, caring about the whole of society, and truly (naively) believing that right, truth, and justice will (must) ultimately prevail, and yet in our country, in our politics, it’s not about humanity and people, it’s about power, money and greed. And honest to god, you can watch this stuff and know what is just and honorable, and then watch as the opposite happens. There is no place in a civil society–no place in a democracy–for the trumps and Ted Cruzes, Rand Pauls, Lindsey Grahams and Mitch McConnells. I don’t know why they’re in government. They have lost their souls, and care not a wit about the people.

And yet I will say that while the entire trump presidency has been one shocking and demoralizing head smack after another and so dispiriting every single day, I do think it’s possible that a majority of people get it. (I mean, we won the presidency by a sizable margin). That is, I think a majority of people accept that he’s a sack of puss, devoid of decency and morality. His approval numbers are down, at least. He faces significant legal challenges. His personal wealth is shrinking. (We can hope.) While he avoided convictions in Mueller (Russia meddling to win an election), impeachment #1 (Ukraine interference to win an election), impeachment #2 (inciting an insurrection because he was bummed he lost an election)–and every single other legal action brought against him over his miserably corrupt life–those two impeachments and his chronic abuse of power will define his soulless ONE term presidency. His sickening legacy will also include: his tragic handling of the pandemic; his indecency with regard to racial justice and his courting of white supremacist groups; his amoral handling of immigration, especially child separation; his I-don’t-even-know-the-final-number lies told in office; the probably irreparable damage done to the environment; our tarnished, oft-mocked standing in the world; his misogyny, xenophobia, general ignorance, supreme arrogance, and rank lack of humanity. I don’t really have the energy to compile a comprehensive list.. but those are a few that come to mind. His indisputable legacy is that he is now and will forever be the worst, most disgusting, most unfit president in our history. Well done, freak.

And, god, I feel like I’ve written this before .. like, a million times over the last six years.

But man.. the injustice in the lack of justice served today. It’s numbing.

Hopefully, the end of this impeachment trial is a last gasp and brings most of this chapter to an end. Unfortunately, an acquittal emboldens him and his domestic violence extremist pals. But hopefully a majority of the rest of us are sick and tired of him and won’t pay him no nevermind, and also hopefully he’ll be distracted by so many legal and financial troubles he won’t have time to be in our faces day and night, and his Twitter’s still gratefully gone, and with any luck his congressional die-hards and hangers-on will pay big time for their desperate, weak sycophancy. And, most importantly, he’s not president. That is the best, best, best thing ever.

Here are some of the things that stood out for me today, no order, just random thoughts:

  • If there is no accountability, the past will become our future.
  • Raskin: History has found us. We may not be remembered, but the action we take will be, and will affect our children and their children. 
  • Liz Cheney a couple weeks ago: He summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and, when violence erupted, he didn’t stop it. Raskin repeated this about a thousand times during the trial. Giving credit where credit is due.
  • Raskin on the hypocrisy of inciting an insurrection, then saying “be peaceful”: He robbed a bank. And on the way out, shouted, “respect private property.” He did not respect private property. 
  • When Joe Neguse said this today, it made me cry: “I’ve decided to stick with love because hate is too great a burden to bear.” — MLK. (What do I do with my hate for trump?)
  • trump actually said to Kevin McCarthy, who tried to get him to call off the insurgents, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” (That was the huge, breaking news of yesterday and ended up in evidence today, instead of calling in as a witness the congresswoman who shared details of the call.)
  • This was a three-Jamie day: Jamie Raskin (Lead House Impeachment Manager), Jaime Herrera-Beutler (the congresswoman who released the Kevin McCarthy phone conversation) and Jamie Gengel (the reporter who broke the above story).
  • Raskin was great the entire trial.. he implored the Senators: Is this the America we want to bequeath to our children? This is the greatest betrayal in the history of our country.. is that okay?
  • Best argument: But for. Ask yourselves: but for trump, would any of this have happened?
  • And, oh, that McConnell. After indicating he was going to vote to acquit, implicitly signaling to other Senators that this was the direction they ought to go, he voted to acquit… but as soon as the vote was over, he made a 20-minute speech that essentially supported every single argument the House Impeachment Managers made, agreeing that trump deserved to be convicted. Imagine if he’d delivered that speech before the vote, or let his conference know that he agreed with the case the managers laid out. He could have brought 10 more folks over the line if he’d given that speech earlier.
  • McConnell voted to acquit on a procedural technicality, a jurisdictional matter (it should be noted that the vast majority of legal scholars don’t agree with this): trump is out of office, not president anymore, therefore cannot be removed from office, which is what impeachment is.. he said. However, says everyone else: he committed the crime while in office. He was impeached by the House while in office. He could have been tried before the inauguration by the Senate–there was time–but McConnell chose to delay it til after trump left office. There should have been NO JANUARY EXCEPTION. But there was. In the end, McConnell cares more about winning back his majority leadership position…so voted with majority. But wanted history to reflect he hates trump. Having it both ways.
  • At the beginning of this final day, Raskin indicated, to everyone’s surprise, they were going to call witnesses. This caused a huge flap and tied the hearing in knots for about two hours. In the end, they decided to simply read Jaime Herrera-Beutler’s testimony into the record. Because… there were never going to be enough votes to convict — because no matter the high crime, Senators were going to hide behind the jurisdictional excuse. They could call 5000 witnesses and make the case iron-clad, but Senate reps would never vote on the merits. It was going to hinge on a technical matter of law.
  • Therefore, they let him off and released him, again, from any accountability. They were totally cowardly. Afraid to upset their master. Afraid to be primaried. All about holding onto their jobs. They couldn’t summon the courage or summon the morality to do what they knew was right. This was trump over country (not even party over country). A vote of infamy. May they all rot in hell. Coulda severed the ties… but now he owns them. He’ll be continuing to call shots from M-A-L.
  • The result was insulting, as have been all the times that he’s skipped off unscathed. Egregious dereliction of responsibility. This was textbook impeachment-level high crime. But .. nada.
  • Other big winners of the day: Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham.  Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton… they actually do love trump and will stay in his corner. They’ll be joined by Marjorie Taylor Green, the republican’s new darling. They’ll all double down on trump, Qanon, DVEs. I’m planning to ignore them all.
  • Michael van der veen is an asshole and deserves an Academy Award.
  • By his dual action, I think McConnell gave his conference a script for later, an exit ramp. In acquitting today, they did what they needed to do for trump and his base. But later, when people are ready to hear it, in time for midterm elections, if needed, they can condemn his actions, just like McConnell did. They’ll get to play it both ways.
  • And of course, trump is off and running. Happy, acquitted, emboldened. Already claiming a massive victory, claiming he prevailed in the biggest witch hunt in history. Plotting his comeback and next moves.
  • But here’s what’s good: the impeachment thing is now behind us. We don’t have to deal with all the speculation over whether he’ll be impeached (he was), how that’ll work (they figured all that out and fit it in without too much impact on Biden’s new gig), will the Senate do the right thing and convict (no). It’s over. Biden’s president, we have the Senate, we have the House and we can just move on. We can let the courts and justice dept take it from here and ignore his ugliness to our hearts’ content. The impeachment is another item checked off the stress list. It wasn’t exactly top of my stress list, but it’s been something that felt huge and unresolved and in the news a lot and now it won’t be. From the start, and right through this last trial, he’s evaded justice and accountability. It makes me sick, it really does. But he’s over (even as he thinks he’s relevant and the center of the universe, he isn’t. Just a sick, hideously obnoxious man-child that we can now, finally, really ignore. I can truly say trump has been an enormous source of anger and dis-ease for about six years now (right? six years?!). But, hey, he lost the election in spectacular fashion and that’s fantastic.

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