A driver’s survival depends on the willingness of other drivers to obey the rules of the road, which include not crossing over a two-dimensional painted line and into oncoming traffic. There really isn’t much keeping someone from doing just that, except a sense of self-preservation, a concern for people traveling in the opposite direction, and a decision to play by the rules, to obey the law.
In a similar way, I think, the foundation on which this nation was built is at once robust and fragile. The rule of law is only as effective as the willingness of citizens to honor that law. Which isn’t to say that laws can’t be reviewable or amendable or struck down. It’s just that what makes this or any nation’s attempt at self- governance so remarkable is that the only thing keeping a society from descending into anarchy and chaos isn’t unlike a two-dimensional line painted on the pavement– if someone is so inclined, that line can be easily breached. There is almost nothing standing in one’s way.
It’s what makes America and its existence both great and tenuous, an ongoing experiment– immense strength but predictable vulnerability to the human proclivity for navel-gazing hubris, an abandonment of reason, and a blindness to any sense of a collective good.
If one is of a certain mind, we are currently witnessing a descent into chaos, an abandonment of rational thinking engineered by Donald Trump and a group of people around him who hold a dim view of human nature. We are, perhaps, witnessing the beginning of the end of The Great Experiment. Done in, as has happened before, by small-minded, forgetful, monumentally selfish and power-hungry people who care about the law only as it can be creatively interpreted and bent to benefit them.
Witness the recent performance by Alan Dershowitz at the Senate impeachment hearings, presided over by and in earshot of Chief Justice John Roberts. First of all, Dershowitz had to convince himself that the words coming out of his mouth were worth uttering. I’ll say one thing- if I needed a lawyer, I’d want Alan Dershowitz in my camp. Because he’ll say anything in defense of his client, even if it’s jaw-droppingly, bat shit ridiculous. He’s obviously playing people in the room and a large segment of the American populace for fools, gullible and dumb as a bag of hammers. Freestyle jurisprudence at its best.
Trump and most of the Republican party are trampling all over the rule of law. And they keep getting away with it.
It is often difficult to conceive of the notion that Trump has allies.