La promptitude à croire le mal sans l’avoir assez examiné est un effet de l’orgueil et de la paresse. On veut trouver des coupables; et on ne veut pas se d’donner la peine d’examiner les crimes.
La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), Maximes et Réflections Diverses (Maxime 267)
English translation (by the author)
The readiness to believe in evil without having sufficiently investigated it is an effect of pride and laziness. One wants to find the guilty, but one doesn’t want to take the trouble to investigate the crimes.
We as a nation lack the candor to describe in forthright terms what the performers in the Republican circus are doing with their power.
They have become vibrant examples of the opera buffa clowns who have populated so-called “banana republics” in the past.
La Rochefoucauld in his Maxim No. 267 refers to those who zealously seek out the guilty without taking the trouble to investigate their crimes.
This is what happened in the Spanish Inquisition, and what happens today in many dictatorships where there is no rule of law. One has political enemies and would like to see them condemned and put in prison for their crimes. Of course there is no impartial and fair investigation into whether they have in fact committed any crimes.
They are guilty, so they must have committed crimes. So the thinking goes.
That is part of the thinking in the Republican Party that led House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to launch an impeachment investigation into Joe Biden today.
1) Carl Hulse, Luke Broadwater and Annie Karni, “McCarthy, Facing an Ouster and a Shutdown, Orders an Impeachment Inquiry; The move against President Biden, which Speaker Kevin McCarthy had been signaling for weeks, comes as some far-right House Republicans are irate over spending and threatening to depose him, New York Times, September 12, 2023 (Updated 6:55 pm ET);
2) David French, “Where Is the Evidence, Speaker McCarthy?” New York Times, September 12, 2023.
This is the approach of Vladimir Putin in persecuting his political rivals such as Alexander Navalny, or Vladimir Kara-Murza, the New York Times columnist now condemned forever on trumped-up charges in Russia.
Republicans control the House of Representatives, which has the power under the Constitution to impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The Republicans want to use that power as a weapon in their no-holds-barred war against the Democrats to gain power.
They want to go on a fishing expedition into the affairs of Hunter Biden, the president’s son who has benefitted from his presumed influence with his father. After years of investigation, no evidence has emerged of any impropriety by the President.
There is, it should be noted, no parallel investigation being launched into whether Donald Trump’s children used their father’s influence to gain business advantages, and whether any of it benefitted Donald Trump. One would want to learn more about how Ivanka Trump got her trademark applications approved in China, and about Jared Kushner’s dealings with Middle Eastern rulers, their investments in his or his family’s properties, and whether any of this benefitted Donald Trump.
Without evidence of wrongdoing, the House Republicans are abusing their power in opening an impeachment investigation into Joe Biden.
The same kind of scenario is playing out in many parts of the country.
In Georgia Republicans have passed a law which allows the legislature to remove prosecutors, even in the middle of an ongoing case.
They want to resolve the indictments of Donald Trump and his 18 alleged co-conspirators for trying to overthrow the election and the Constitution by firing the prosecutor, just as they hope to end all federal proceedings against Trump and his associates by winning the 2024 presidential election and securing the pardon of all involved.
This is the way law is used to persecute opponents and secure impunity for real crimes in Banana Republics.
The Republicans are in effect, and without a trace of shame, acting to turn the United States into a Banana Republic.
They might as well change their name to that of the “Banana Republican Party”.
And yet, in newspapers and on television, reporters and commentators address these antics in serious tones.
This would be a hilarious opera buffa or comic opera if it weren’t actually happening, today, in the United States.
Still, we should retain our sense of outrage and our readiness to ridicule the absurd. We must continue to ridicule this circus show as it unfolds.
While the clowns are transparently seeking to muddy the waters and confuse the voters with a trumped-up impeachment vote in the House, we should denounce it for what it is: a transparent abuse of power by the Banana Republican Party.
The Trenchant Observer