We Are Waiting

We are Waiting

Waiting for the end of the Trump years is truly an exercise in patience, although our patience constantly wavers. Waiting to see if our democracy/republic survives seems far too passive. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s ersatz chief of staff, tells us that Trump’s administration uses political extortion all the time and we need to get over it and get used to it. Will we ever get over it? Should we get used to it? Mr. Mulvaney acknowledged that using a quid pro quo to get a deal, or even to order a foreign government to do Trump a favor though, is just business as usual. The extortion comes in because this little piece of coded conversation intimates that before we send you the military aid we promised you must do us the favor of providing dirt on one of my (Trump’s) political opponents. This is also called a quid pro quo and it is an impeachable offense against our Constitution.

Even after we are done with waiting for Trump to leave office we will not be done with waiting. Next we will be waiting for the GOP to act like the real GOP or perhaps a better GOP, or suffer big losses at the ballot box, which could take decades because they have “stacked the deck.” Waiting and waiting has consequences. Time is not on our side.

Don’t we all feel such a sense of urgency. Years of climate denial. Years of backward and racist ideology. Years of pushing against our documents and our traditions to mold them to accord to the Party’s desires. Their legacy, a mad and bad boss that they cannot even control.

It seems that we will never be free to tackle our most important issues and that our freedoms could be lost any day now, are being lost already. Watching decades of painstaking compromises disappear in a sharp, Sharpie minute is excruciatingly frustrating. Watching our allies treated with contempt and accused of not having value because the only value America now understands is money is embarrassing and actually against our best interests. Watching dictators sit in the Oval Office as honored guests makes us ashamed of what our government has become. But there are losses even greater than this although not in the Washington limelight.

There are 3 billion fewer birds in the world. Perhaps it is difficult for news like this to compete with the way we have betrayed the Kurds in Syria who helped end the caliphate and lock away ISIS terrorists. It sounds anticlimactic. These birds are, however, the proverbial “canaries in the coal mine.” That’s 3 billion canaries. It’s a loss of song and beauty. Birds keep insect populations under control. They spread seeds. They twitter and flit and entertain. But the loss of so many birds is also a warning that if we stay on our current path, if climate deniers keep all of us from devising ways to keep our planet balanced and healthy, then we will soon be reading articles about human population loss. There will be mass migrations, food shortages, water shortages, epidemics, fights, and chaos everywhere. This GOP government will not have predicted apocalypse; they will have caused it.

We need these people gone before they trash civilization and the planet. We must turf these gas-guzzling, authoritarian-loving, lawless, regulation-banishing, money-grubbing people out of our government. The dilemma is that we must turf them out using the tools our nation has given us in order to stay true to our Constitution and our laws, in order not to have to begin again from scratch. Can lawfulness win out over such flagrant and brazen lawlessness? It is not looking at all promising. Our tools require that laws still matter. But it seems we have a president and a party that no longer has any respect for laws.

We are hoping to outwait Trump as we are watching our 243 year old republic turn into an authoritarian state in the tiny hands of a man who engenders pride and trust in no one. This man will say that it is the windmills that killed the 3 billion birds, but he will be wrong. He doesn’t care about facts but some of us still do and the fact that you can still look this up on the internet tells me that we still have some time to rescue ourselves and our offspring from oblivion, or the demise of our republic.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – The Independent

47 Ronin Loose in America

Everyone is shocked by the letter that 47 Republican
Senators sent to Iran and it was a truly outrageous act. It was not bad just
because it broke with protocol but it also went against our Constitution and,
according to the Logan Act, this action may be punishable by fines or jail
time. This letter to Iran also revealed what until now have been internal American
political schisms and took them global.
The GOP is a party that is frightened by everything.
They believe immigrants will overrun America. “Give them an inch and they’ll
take a mile”, is their unspoken mantra.
They believe that terrorists are planning to flood
across our southern borders.
They believe that the Federal government is out of
control and needs to be much, much smaller which means good-bye to programs
that help poor moms have healthy babies, good-bye to programs that make sure
poor families can feed their children, good-bye to programs that take care of
people with mental disorders or physical disabilities and good riddance to
programs that keep the elderly from poverty. Good-bye public pensions, good-bye
unions; we don’t need public employees. Their fear here (they claim) is that
they are creating citizens with permanent dependencies.
The UN plan to help us save energy and stop sending
too much CO2 into our atmosphere, Agenda 21, makes them crazy
because it offers steps that would be “imposed” by an agency outside our
government. To the GOP this plan reeks of communism or socialism or all of the
bad “isms” rolled into one. It is obviously a plot to allow the UN to end our
They are so afraid of climate change and the steps
they would have to take to ameliorate it that they cannot even admit it exists.
They believe their immortal souls will burn in Hell
unless American becomes a Christian nation and stops sinning.
They are certain that one or more of the secretive,
hostile nations around the world will make or have already made nuclear weapons
(which is highly likely because once a technology enters the world it always
proliferates) and that we will either have to fight a nuclear war or become
subjects of a totalitarian regime that will turn us all into slaves or kill us.
It is true that we all fear these things to some
extent. The future seems a bit more unsettling than it did in the Jetsons. Obviously any or all of these
things could happen, although some are more likely than others. The world seems
to be chaotic and to be possibly teetering on the edge of several equally scary
abysses. We seem to have lost a stability and certainty that we have always possessed
until now. Perhaps this is just what it feels like to live in a pivotal age.
But one wonders (well I wonder) if all these fears
are as strong as professed or if there could possibly be a bit of theater at
work here designed to provide a rationale (however bogus) for obstruction. If
these Republicans are truly as freaked out by real change in the world then
they are definitely not the folks to help us pick our way through the chaos to
more settled times.
I have been arguing for some time that there are Republicans
bent on sedition; on a sort of “Jesus take the Wheel” tear with the GOP
providing the “hands” for Jesus. They have been putting in place a plan that will
give the GOP control of all three branches of the Federal government in the
same way they have taken over in a number of states.
I wonder why the Democrats and the media seem so
clueless. Even now Hillary Clinton gets more flak about her email than those 47
Republicans get for breaking an act of Congress. Either we’re like those dogs
who forget what they are doing every time someone yells “squirrel” or Democrats
and the media are trying to avoid a crisis in America by down-playing
Republican activities so that our government comes out of this strife intact.
If Democrats act like what is happening is just a
touch more serious than things that have happened at other moments in history
then we can avoid a breach that cannot be healed. Their explanations do soothe
what is possibly my paranoia for a bit but this all just seems a little more
concentrated, organized and extreme than previous party hostilities. It does
seem odd to me that the rather serious lapse in constitutionality by these 47
Senators will die down quite quickly and that there will be no repercussions.

Those 47 ronin who abandoned their samurai lords in
Japan had better reasons for their outlaw behavior and yet they were hunted
down and had to fight for their lives. They may have found a new incarnation in
Japan as “superheroes” but I don’t think that will be the case with our 47 “ronin”.
I don’t expect our 47 outlaws to commit seppuku but somehow head/s should roll.
I think that, given there are so few pushbacks, these “outlaws” will probably
find new ways to pursue their program of obstruction.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson