The End of the Innocence

I’m not sure where we’re at these days, folks don’t want to talk about it. Much of what I’ve written over the past three years has had to do with divisiveness and the values I think our country is supposed to represent. By “I think our country is supposed to represent”, I’m not trying to say that it’s my opinion. I mean that I know what we have stood for in the world and that I believe we’re on the cusp of not being that country anymore. Somehow we’ve moved so far from those values that they’re slogans at best.

If you want to read about what I think those values are and how the flag represents them, have a look at nearly anything here tagged with #digitaldivisiveness. Here’s a simple crayon version of that. When the world sees our flag, when they think of us, they should think of a cross between Captain America and Superman. We represent not just what’s right, but the chutzpah to stand up for it.

Where I believe we’re at is the bottom layer being meaningless when it comes to our government. The core arguments against impeachment aren’t meant to be believed. They’re not. The talking points are so absurd that they’re just not credible. I started to type them up and rebut them, but there are better people for that so I scrapped the paragraphs. Let’s skip past them. They’re all bullshit and won’t take any scrutiny. None of them. If we’re honest, we know it. There’s other questions at play.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Bill Taylor

What that means is that the president and those supporting him are increasingly trying to throw up smokescreens. They’re demonizing people like Bill Taylor and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman who have served this country their entire adult lives. They haven’t shown signs of bias or dereliction of duty. Taylor was actually retired and Pompeo asked him to come back to help his country. Scorching the earth with those who tell the truth is contrary to what the country is about. Whistleblower laws exist to bring out the truth, that’s why they include both process and protection. The report was vetted and testimony matches what was in it. The president and the GOP trying to ruin lives because the truth is inconvenient is shameful.

Next, the way the executive branch is defending itself is dangerous. The words “absolute immunity” and “Constitutional immunity” have been thrown around and they’re not real. The impeachment is being called a coup. Subpoenaed members of the executive branch are no-showing Congressional hearings. There’s always been negotiation between the two branches, but never outright denial. Impeachment is a Constitutional process and it’s Congress’ duty to perform if needed. The president has claimed he can’t even be investigated. That’s never been our country. Don’t we say nobody’s above the law? Isn’t it his job to enforce the laws?

Judge Denny Chin: “What’s your view on the Fifth Avenue example? Local authorities couldn’t investigate, they couldn’t do anything about it?”

William Consovoy, Trump’s lawyer: “That is correct”

The demands that the whistleblower, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, the Bidens, and others must testify in order for it to be a valid process are likewise wrong. The idea that they should be charged with treason is extreme. The president continues to attack his opposition mercilessly and his supporters love him for it. But calling witnesses to a trial doesn’t put them on trial themselves and it doesn’t change the process involved. Breaking the law to intimidate witnesses and whistleblowers is just that – illegal. Obstruction of justice is illegal, Nixon was charged with it. It’s thuggery if a mob boss does it. If the president does it, then we’re closer to regimes where opposition is dragged off the street and locked up. That’s also not us.

Before I move to wrap this, I feel it necessary to add a touch of graft. Trump had to shutter his charitable foundation because he was self-dealing instead of donating the money. The man in charge of the executive branch is barred from running a charity without oversight in New York and his children need to go through training. It’s absolutely believable that he’d misuse funds in an official capacity. In the Ukraine case, instead of his children he involved the Chief of Staff/OMB Director, the Attorney General, the now-resigned Secretary of Energy, the now-former National Security Advisor, his private attorney, a couple ambassadors, and associated staff. He says the call was perfect, but in it Zelensky brags about staying at Trump Tower – an emoluments violation. Even his version of perfection is corrupt.

It shouldn’t even matter if the House passes articles of impeachment or if the Senate then removes him or not. Defending the president means standing behind obvious lies, it means putting him above the law, it means turning a blind eye to abuses of power, and it equates to acting like we’re in a dictatorship. He “jokes” enough about serving more terms if elected – and this impeachment is about trying to rig an election through bribery and corrupt usage of power. That’s the vision of the country that’s being supported when people defend him. It’s not why we rebelled against a king and won our freedom. It’s not why rioters in Hong Kong fly our flag. It’s not why vulnerable democracies like Ukraine come to us for help against Russia.

When all the bullshit and smoke are stripped away, we still unequivocally have that vision of the country. There’s not always going to be (a) Trump. It’s not always going to be a Republican. What we’re on the cusp of isn’t just giving a pass on a clearly corrupt string of events. It’s throwing away the Constitution in order to do so. It’s a line which, once crossed, means that we’re no longer what that flag once stood for. It’s a lie we don’t have to tell ourselves because we know the truth. We know it now and we’ll know it when judgement is passed – either way.


2 thoughts on “The End of the Innocence

  1. Well put, Eric. I’m baffled daily that so many people seem to support the thin facade veiling the abuse of power. I also can’t help thinking about the Ukrainian president creating really great material for the closed-door comedy acts he must still do.

    Liked by 1 person

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