|Chamber of Deputies, by Honore Daumier (Metropolitan Museum of Art)|
Here's what I will never understand.
Senators are smart. Even Republican senators. They see the ruin awaiting Trump toadies. The smoldering hulks that used to be Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, et al. Those in prison or heading there. The inversion of Rudy Giuliani from the nation's mayor to a clown's consigliere. The contempt Trump holds for his staunchest allies, the without-a-second-thought with which he disposes them when convenient. The harsh judgment of history awaiting. They must know.
And yet Sens. Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins. They grovel and scrape and cast off whatever principles they might have had. Just as Reps. Jim Jordan and Devon Nunes and Kevin McCarthy did during the trial in the House. Because ...
They do it because ...
Well, at this point they've been doing it for years. Sink or swim with Donald Trump. Chalk it up to habit. Is that it?
They do it because ...
Their jobs, right? They figure they'll be primaried by some more zealous Trump supporter, and their pro-Trump constituencies will give them the heave-ho.
Granted, being senator is a good job. Salary: $174,000 a year. But not that good. It's less than what a new attorney gets at a top firm straight out of law school. There must be better jobs. Most of the senators are millionaires already. They aren't living off their salaries.
So the power then. Power to ... what? Sink with Donald Trump? Is this the job they thought they signed up for? Is there nothing else? But what about their pride? Their sense of duty? Honor? Religion? Patriotism?
The Senate trial is an opportunity, or should be, or should have been. Spouting love for the Donald out of one side of their mouths, they could have given in to responsibility, to the Constitution, then to the overwhelming evidence of guilt. Aren't any of them sly? Apparently not. Not a sigh. Not a raised eyebrow. Nothing, but kowtowing, groveling, in-the-dirt-obeisance.
You'd think somebody would. Just one. But no. Even Mitt Romney, who occasionally musters a limp, weak tea protest before drawing it back. Susan Collins used to give lip service to her morals before caving in. Now she doesn't even do that.
A most disgusting show of cowardice.
Who opposes Trump and wonders if they are doing the right thing? And worries how the future will look back on us? Anyone? I don't.
Certainty doesn't mean much, I suppose. Tap any Trump supporter on the shoulder at a rally and they are 100 percent certain in their full and unconditional support. So I hesitate to present my certainty as significant. That's one of the many hall-of-mirrors nightmares of this era. There is no term that can be honestly applied to Trump that he hasn't already tossed off in all directions.
But I am certain that opposing Donald Trump is a patriotic duty, almost sacred in its alignment with all concepts of democracy, freedom, morals, human decency. I have no doubt whatsoever that no matter what occurs in this country, it is something I will look back on with pride, or my children will look back on with pride, and if that is in conflict with the general consensus, it will mean that Trump has triumphed—as he might—and we are still in the dark age that follows. But that dark age will end because all dark ages do. The story can't end with Trump winning. It can't it can't it can't. Enough people will stand up, vote, resist. It has to happen.
I can't understand it. I love my job, but if my bosses told me I had to ballyhoo Trump, I would give it up. Go do something else. Greet people at Home Depot. At least I hope I would. You can't predict your own courage with absolute certainty. Nobody expects himself to be hiding in the pickle barrel when the bugle sounds. But I like to think I would stand tall. People do such things all the time, leap into rivers to save drowning people, walk the point on patrol in Afghanistan. Run into burning buildings, charge up dark staircases, guns drawn. Not that I'm comparing rhetoric to actual physical heroism. But putting yourself at risk for a cause. Why is heroism so common in some professions, and so rare in others? So scarce in the United States Senate? This could have been their moment to shine. Instead it is their moment of shame.
I'll never understand it.