A Cancer on the American Body Politic
Let there be no doubt about it. The American body politic is infected by a cancer. That cancer threatens the existence and survival of American democracy. Currently all of the antibodies and forces defending the body politic are fully engaged in fighting the cancer.
The cancer on the American body politic must be killed, with the political equivalents of chemotherapy, radiation, and even surgery where necessary.
Unlike a human body, the American body politic does not have the expected lifespan of a single human life. In the case of an individual fighting cancer, remission for five or ten years might, in some cases, be regarded as a “success”.
This is not the case with the American body politic, however. A five or ten year remission of the cancer would not be sufficient to save the life of a democracy that is already 244 years old.
The cancer is represented by the current Republican Party, and most but not all of its Senators and Representatives in Congress.
The cancer is represented by the overwhelming majority of Republican voters, throughout the country, who have been seduced by a false god who demands idolatrous obeisance to his absolute will.
It is represented by the universe of lies and delusions to which Republican voters have subscribed, and by the determination of these same cult followers to impose their will, the Leader’s will, on their elected Senators and Congressmen.
The Trial of 50 Republican Senators
The guilt of ex-president Donald J. Trump for the high crimes and misdemeanors for which he is being tried in the Senate, following his impeachment by the House of Representatives, has been clearly established by the House Impeachment Managers. His defense has not resorted to serious legal argument. We know that there can be no defense for the actions he has taken, in full sight, and which have been shown to us in video and slides and other evidence in the last three days.
We know that the Republican Party is already guilty of having supported Trump’s attempted coup, and remained silent or endorsed his “big lie” that he won the November 3 election.
Two of these 50 Republican Senators reportedly helped lead the insurrection on January 6, which included not only the mob action in invading the Capitol but also the legislative rebellion of Republican Congressmen and Senators who, without the slightest legal justification, tried to block the certification of the electoral college vote which named Joe Biden President.
Josh Hawley will forever be remembered for his raised fist in the air as the insurrectionist mob headed toward the Capitol. Sitting in the gallery of the Senate during the trial of Donald Trump, ostentatiously ignoring the proceedings, a man of high intelligence and low moral character, he must know that his political career is over. Ted Cruz, another of the ringleaders, has already begun to take on the the appearance of a grizzled old man who, at the moment of truth, chose to step on the wrong side of history and to betray his country.
Moments of Truth
There have been some incredible moments of truth during and since the Capitol Insurrection. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, facing a mob of insurrectionists in the Senate corridors, chose to act with courage in the face of great potential harm, and single-handedly led the mob away from the Senate Chamber. He also ran to head off Senator Mitt Romney from walking into the mob and into great danger as he was moving forward.
Goodman had but a split second to make his choice. Almost instinctively, he chose to act with courage and honor, with heroism really. Hawley and Cruz had more time to make their choice, between honor and country, on the one hand, and cowardice, treason and betrayal of country, on the other.
They made the wrong choice.
Now, 50 Republican senators face a similar moment of truth.
Will they honor their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution and to defend their country against all enemies foreign and domestic “so help me God”?
Will they honor their solemn oaths to do impartial justice in accordance with constitutions and laws in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, “so help me God”?
Or will they betray their oaths, the American people, and their country, kowtowing and genuflecting instead before the false god who threatened our democracy, who attempted to stay in power through a coup d’état, the last act of which was the Capitol Insurrection?
As a columnist, you wish you had the power to craft words that would sway Republican Senators to honor their oaths of office and their oaths to serve as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial. But you know that they have sold their souls to the Devil, that they have entered into Mephistophelean bargains they hope will give them continued political life, just as Goethe’s Faust sought to prolong his earthly life.
You know they have sold their souls to the false god Trump and his “base” of idolaters. You know also that they live in fear, fear of the Trump mob, fear of the fascist Leader and his fascist followers. You know also that this is no excuse.
Once honorable men and women perhaps, most of them, they have now followed Trump’s path as co-conspirators, as men and women who, observing monstrous lies and great evil, looked away and said nothing.
Their place in the history books is almost secure. Their individual names will long be forgotten, like the names of the corrupt Tammany Hall gang that once ruled New York. But their actions will live forever in infamy.
One Last Shot at Redemption
These 50 Republican Senators have one last shot at redemption: they can honestly evaluate the charges in the Article of Impeachment and weigh the evidence, which will lead them ineluctably to a decision to convict Donald Trump for the his attempted coup and the Capitol Insurrection on January 6, 2021.
With a vote for conviction, they will also be voting to excise the source of the cancer from the American body politic.
Will they do it? The odds are long against such an epiphany at this late hour. But who knows?
The final decision is one which each man and each woman can make only in the innermost recesses of his or her own heart and soul. As did Officer Eugene Goodman, they face a moment of truth, a fateful decision involving political danger if not the danger of life or death. They can choose between courage and their country, honoring their oaths, on the one hand, and cowardice and treason, on the other.
Their decisions will mark their lives and careers for all time. It is as if their children and grandchildren, and further descendants could read on their tombstones, “He (or she) voted to honor his (or her) oaths and to save the Republic,” or “He (or she) voted to betray the Constitution and his (or her) country, and for the false god Donald Trump.”
Throughout their lives, they will have to face their children and grandchildren, and every one they know or may come to know, and answer that question.
If they make the wrong choice, the shame of that choice will mark them for the rest of their days.
The Trenchant Observer