The traitors we've looked at this week have one thing in common: betrayal of the country to which—or, in Judas' case, the person to whom—they supposedly had allegiance.
Some did this by fomenting revolt. Some welcomed invaders, or sold information to hostile powers, or friends.
What has Trump done?
The short, candid, answer is: nobody knows.
Maybe he just really likes Vladimir Putin. He certainly acts that way. No crime there. It isn't a crime to fawn.
That said, Trump certainly acts like a man who's done something wrong. His continual assaults on the Justice Department, FBI, and particularly the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
If Trump is a criminal, then he's not a very smart one, hanging around the police station, cat-calling the investigators. Lex Luthor the man is not.
Were I to say, "Trump is a traitor," his supporters would jump up and object that nothing has been proven. And they'd be right. But they, like their leader, are also assailing the process by which what Trump and his associates have done is being investigated. There is no proof he is a traitor. But there is no proof either to support Trump's cries of "witch hunt" mantra and his claims of bias. One email from one FBI agent. It would be laughable to rational people, an increasingly small subset of America at this point.
So Traitor Week was a smokescreen? Maybe. I don't know. You can't expect other people to assess the world clear-eyed and then refuse to do so yourself. We don't need to guess, we only need to wait. There is a truth out there, and it will present itself.
What could that truth be? Perhaps Trump will be found to be deeply in bed, financially, with the Russians. Perhaps there really is a "pee tape." Perhaps his operatives merely huddled with Russian agents, eager to get their hands on the embarrassing Democratic emails the Russians stole, never considering that they were helping a foreign power undermine the legitimacy of the electoral process, as fatal a stab at American democracy as can be imagined.
We'll find out.
Honestly, I'm not that interested in what Trump actually did. What is more important, to me, is how indifferent his supporters are to the possibility of Trump treachery. They just don't care. Nothing is going to make them care. This is worse than any meeting with Russians. Their my-side-versus-your-side, dodgeball mentality is a staggering revelation.
Should it be? A hundred years ago we imprisoned pacifists and deported union leaders. In the 1950s, we were so terrified of the Soviets we adopted their methods, of loyalty oaths and star chambers and secret lists. Johnson lied to Congress to justify the Vietnam War, Nixon scuttled the Paris Peace Talks to help his election chances in 1968. We know far more about Trump's possible treachery than Americans knew at the time of those betrayals.
Yet we don't feel better off.
Maybe the horror of the Trump years is not that America became some awful place under his watch, but that a certain segment looked around and realized what we are. The illusion vanishes, the beautiful skin withers, and we see the grinning skull that has been here the whole time.
Maybe that's it.
No rush in figuring this out, to be honest. With a voting system hopelessly skewed toward rural Republican voters, I don't harbor much expectation of either flipping Congress this November or defeating Trump in 2020. If you immediately insist that Trump won't be re-elected, then answer this: who'll beat him, and where is that person now? What are they saying and doing? Because it sure isn't resonating now. It's a steady march of Trump Trump Trump and if you cup your ears against that chant and try to detect a warble of Democratic leadership you only hear crickets. It's maddening.
Sorry to be Debbie Downer. I ran Traitor Week while my wife and I drove our younger son to law school in Virginia. The good news is, it's still a vast, beautiful country. People are still nice, individually. Make eye contact in Ohio and people will smile and nod, even wave.
A young generation prepares to take up the task from us, and honestly, we have to be optimistic about that, because really, they couldn't do a worse job, could they? Couldn't screw up our country any more resoundingly than we have, could they? An ignorant president with vast, unjustified love for himself, and no concern at all for his country, supported by a devoted swarm of the passionately defrauded. We don't need Robert Mueller to tell us that. Could the next generation do worse than this?
Of course they could. There are hells below this one. Keep that in mind.