American Politics: What if the faint voice of reason in a sea of Unreason is not enough?


Michael Gerson, “What if the eventual Jan. 6 report is rigorous, compelling — and doesn’t really matter?” Washington Post, December 16, 2021 (3:17 p.m. EST).

Michael Gerson in his op-ed column today in the Washington Post gives voice to a thought that has been bouncing around in the Observer’s head for many weeks, if not months: What if the report of the House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection falls on deaf ears, just as the Mueller Report did?

Just as the House impeachment fell on the deaf ears of Republican senators in the Senate trial on the Ukraine affair did?

Just as the House impeachment related to Trump’ attempt to overthrow the election and the Constitution fell on the deaf ears of most Republican senators in the second impeachment trial?

What if, in short, in a world characterized by a Republican Party and Republican supporters living in an alternate universe of lies and distortions, or a universe characterized by abject fear and cowardice before the dictatorial demands of fealty of a fascist leader, the faint voice of reason is not strong enough to carry the day?

We all need to face the fact that we may be living in such a world right now, today.

We can’t change reality if we don’t understand it.

We can’t act in time to change reality if we don’t understand the urgency of the need to change it.

We can’t change reality if we are not motivated to act, individually, to change it.

Michael Gerson has done us all a favor by calling our attention to the current reality. Let us begin to change it by putting aside all hopes and illusions that currently cloud our vision.

Let us describe that reality with utter and unforgiving realism. As all of us begin to understand the reality in which we are living, let each and every one of us look inward, and decide what we are going to do about it. Individually.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.