Preemptive Slug

So the method to Trump’s latest bout with madness is to announce another run for President in time (two years out!) to prevent any further investigation of him, per an order that came from Bill Barr in February of 2020. Trump must realize that those in pursuit of a conviction or some manifestation of justice must be on to him. It remains to be seen whether or not the wheels turn fast enough to catch him at his own game.

Some would give Trump credit for being proactive. Sometimes I hate that word.

Blinders and Ear Plugs. And Money.

So, what to make of Joe Manchin and his motivations? Is he pariah or pragmatist? Is he the only one who’s standing against spending money we don’t have, or is he just another politician in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry? I don’t know. I wish there was somebody who did know.

It’s a ridiculous position to be in—to see climate change taking its toll, gathering steam, and feeling like we won’t be doing anything about it, other than lamenting and watching it unfold. The futility is laying so heavy.

There are no heat waves anymore. Nothing aberrant and one-off and rare, events that simply happen every now and then. The new normal, the trend, is excessive everything. Higher temperatures, lower pressures, stronger winds, heavier rain or no rain at all. Water where it never used to be, or water levels alarmingly low and unlikely to be replenished. And now we get word that the warnings started fifty years ago.

We’ve done a shitty job of tilling and keeping.

Sauntering to Judgment

An occasional Jan. 6 hearing witness comes across as being a bit slow on the uptake, emitting a vibe that reeks of ignorance and small-mindedness. Yet now, apparently, they have seen the light. They’ve had an epiphany of sorts—acknowledging the error of their ways, expressing remorse, admitting they were maybe naïve, misled, even offering up PSAs in the form of prophetic warnings about the ongoing potential for unrest and civil war.

Such self-awareness or change of heart is commendable, yet sometimes it’s easy to listen to someone and think, “Yup, that person could believe Donald Trump, parrot his outrage, buy his lies. No surprise there.” But I stereotype.

Dumbfounded

It’s hard to fathom that, with all the investigating, accusations, and potential charges swirling around Trump, we can still read a headline that says he will shortly be announcing another run for the Presidency.

He will, as always, have no plan, no vision for the country that makes sense or comes from a place of genuine concern. This is and will be all about sour grapes and vengeance and seething anger. And reclaiming what, in his mind, has always been rightfully his.

How can we let this happen? How is this even a remote possibility, given all we’ve seen and heard and been through with this imbecile?

Smokescreen

The NRA and many Republican officials always argue that we need to get a better handle on mental illness, like that’s the Holy Grail of solutions. Like it’s something we can fix, a burned-out streetlight.

This isn’t going to happen. Human beings are too complicated, and those who suggest that we can fix the problem and all will be well are being too cavalier and maybe purposely naive about this. They’re making excuses, avoiding the obvious, covering for their donors, kicking the can down the road. Wasting time and keeping the door open for the next tragic incident.

We’re never going to “fix” the mental illness problem. There aren’t enough capable people interested in doing so, and it’s not a fixable societal issue in the first place. We can make inroads, if the effort is put forth, but mental illness and emotional instability aren’t things that can be eradicated.

So, as it applies to the current attention being paid to the availability of high-powered weaponry, we do the next best thing: we make it as unlikely and as difficult as possible for anyone– stable or unstable– to get his or her hands on an AR-15-type weapon, for starters. As witnessed recently in Japan, this won’t stop everybody. But it would certainly help.  

Unhealthy Fixation

Why is Clarence Thomas so bothered by marriage equality? Does he have exclusive knowledge unavailable to the rest of us regarding what makes humans tick? Does he feel he’s an authority on relationships, and love? Does his wife have undue influence on his opinions?

Or is he just the latest bible-thumping Conservative who can’t get his head around the fact that human beings are more complicated than the depictions in scripture? He and the other 5 “justices” need to back off. There are other things to worry about.

It’s surprising, in a way, that Thomas (and maybe Cavanaugh and Alito and the rest?) have apparently decided to take this stance. They leave no room for evolution of thought, for scientific and biological realities, never mind existing law. There’s more at stake here than another dry, cold-hearted, and potentially far-reaching and disruptive legal decision.

If their motivations are rooted in the authority they attribute to the Bible, then they are parting ways with the Founding Fathers regarding the separation of church and state, and they are making a mistake that people just keep on making: the church doesn’t make for good governance. Governance is out of its league. Just ask Martin Luther and other reformers. Yes, I realize none of them are alive, but you know what I mean.

Keeps on Slippin’

It’s true what they say (whoever “they” are)—it seems time speeds up as you get older. And it starts to feel like you’re trying to hold time back, like you’re trying to get ahold of it to slow it down. Maybe that’s why I try not to be in a hurry—I don’t want to add to the rush. Yah, that’s it.

Maybe that’s why sometimes when the opportunity exists to put on some music, as a distraction from the task at hand or to fill the silence, I refrain from doing so, because I know time will pass more quickly and I don’t want that to happen. I’ve spent parts of the last two days painting walls and woodwork. I could have cued up some CDs and blasted some tunes, but I chose not to. I worked in total silence, except to listen to what was going on outside—the occasional traffic noise, birds singing.

The perfect opportunity to play some music, and I decide not to. Partly because I can’t decide what to play, but also because I prefer not to rush the unfolding of the day.

And, honestly, I don’t mind the silence.

Actions and Consequences

On the other hand, one might expect that a defense and counter-arguments are being mounted even as all this seemingly damning evidence continues to pour forth. It’s difficult to imagine Trump sitting idly by as witness after witness basically corroborates what many of us have suspected all along.

I’m wondering how this works—the Jan. 6 Committee has been able to lay out its case, unimpeded and unchallenged. So is anyone devising a defense, or are they merely prepping for escape? What will they dream up this time, so that Trump can once again walk away? And who’s left who’d want to defend him?

All of this must be unprecedented. For active government representatives to be engaged in such an all-consuming investigation of an event and a person after he has left office must be a rare thing. Imagine the time and effort being put into this endeavor. For it to not produce substantive results would be a massive letdown.

If Trump escapes unscathed this time, then there is no hope for the republic. Or whatever it is we have here.

Making A Case

The Jan. 6 Committee seems to be doing a thorough, methodical job of connecting the dots. These hearings have been well planned, the AV technology seems to be working the way they want it to, those called to testify have added important details, and it’s all been focused and purposeful. Masterful, even. Don’t know and don’t really care what the people at Fox News are thinking of all this. I’m sure it involves a counter-narrative of some sort.

The best-case scenario in terms of outcome, for me, will be that Trump is forbidden to ever run for federal office again. Jail time would be sweet, and perhaps called for. But his never again being able to grace us with that ugly countenance as a political candidate would be quite gratifying, and a great relief. It’s time for all of us to move on from this aberration, this pretender, this boulder in our shoe.