LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF TRUMP'S ANNOYING RUN OF GOOD LUCK
It only seems that Trump is immune from the rules that apply to the rest of us.
Cat and I have heard from a number of you, saying you were discouraged by Cat’s view, expressed in the blog’s Day 829 posting a couple of days ago, that Individual One’s fortunes are looking pretty upbeat lately, an indication he's heading for reelection.
Like you, I found Cat's account to be:
- Admirably comprehensive and persuasive as a list of just how nicely things are going for the president and therefore bad for everyone else.
- An unnecessarily mean-spirited attempt to shoot down my determination, now that I’m middle aged, to have a positive outlook for my remaining days, which, being a positive dog, I expect will be many.
Let me say that looking on the bright side isn’t the same thing as ignoring unpleasant facts. It means not being overwhelmed by the terrible, frightening and dangerous changes Individual One has visited upon us and our country since the Night We’ll Never Forget. Being positive means not being paralyzed by evil, since, in a democracy, it’s everyone’s responsibility to do something about it.
Also, I understand our shared frustration at the injustice of it all.
How, you ask, does he keep getting away with it? The lying, hucksterism, criminality, bullying, hypocrisy, foul language, racism, stupidity, ugliness. We’ve grown up thinking there is actual justice.
We teach our kids to tell the truth, to help the poor, work hard, to play by the rules, eat a well-balanced diet, to not grab the genitalia of the person sitting next to you in an airplane, not to cheat, to be polite, to care about the environment, to pick up after your dog and feed the cat.
And that if you fail these and the other 104,391 other rules of decent living, the System will catch up with you. And if you escape that, surely your Higher Power will put the hammer down, or the laws of physics, gravity and will kick in – so that sooner or later, everyone gets their comeuppance.
But not Donald J. Trump.
This is where this positivity business comes in. Trust me, Trump’s day coming.
It won’t happen by itself. In a democracy, it's up to us. And democracy is hard as it is boring and frustrating: you make what seems to be a gain, like cleaning up the rivers and the air, and then Donald J. Trump comes along and makes them dirty again; what you thought was fixed, gets re-broken; one step forward, two back. There are many other clichés that describe this phenomenon. But in the end, things get better. It’s the American way.
#1. The Mueller Report, Vol. 1. That really ticked you off, didn’t it? For two years, Robert S. Mueller III, a man dispatched directly from central casting to play the role of the great American lawman and save an imperiled nation. Sheriff Bob investigated the bejeezus out of Donald J. Trump, his annoying “children,” Donald’s henchmen, thugs, hangers on, grifters, enablers and sycophants, and what did Sheriff Bob come up with?
The investigation did not establish that the members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.
How can that be? If Trump wasn’t beholden to Vladimir Putin, he surely was – is – enthralled by the Russian Thug. But Mueller didn’t say that Trump is innocent, only that there wasn’t enough evidence to show, under law, that the two were in cahoots. The report notes that there was a whole lot of lying going on, unavailable witnesses, disappeared records, leading to this statement:
… the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.
Translation: Just because we couldn’t prove it in court, didn’t mean it didn’t happen.
#2. The Mueller Report, Vol. 2 – As Cat pointed out, Sheriff Bob didn’t state outright whether Trump did or didn’t obstruct his investigation:
Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also did not exonerate him.
The Sheriff laid out a pretty compelling case that the president, in public and in private, tried to derail the investigation by firing FBI director James Comey, trying to get rid of Mueller, encouraging aides to lie, to limit the investigation, alternately threatening and encouraging witnesses to shut up. The Sheriff outlined a clear roadmap for prosecutors to indict Trump or for Congress to impeach him.
This part of the report hasn’t sunk into the collective consciousness, because Robert P. Barr, newly minted as “the attorney general Trump always wanted,” showed himself to be the president’s poodle (and here we’ve been criticizing Trump as the only president never to have had a dog in the White House).
Poodle Bill skillfully downplayed the very negative findings of Mueller’s report, before the public had a chance to read it, and Barr effectively used the time to paint his master in the best possible light.
The positive part? The Mueller report is a scathing account of Donald Trump’s presidency. It will stand as a historic description of how abuse of power is carried out at the highest levels. Anyone who reads it will be shocked and convinced this guy should be sent packing. Sooner or later, somebody is going to use it in the way that Sheriff Bob intended.
Pointedly, the report assures us that the Constitution does not protect a president from the law:
The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law. (Emhasis added).
Just yesterday, former federal prosecutors – growing to more than 690 by the time this posting was made - had signed a public letter stating that the case Mueller laid out, if it dealt with someone besides a president, would have resulted in an indictment.
Sheriff Bob himself earlier had broken two years of silence, writing a letter chastising Barr’s summary of the report, saying that it:
…did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions .… This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation.
Why is this “positive” news, since Trump keeps broadcasting Bob’s Big Lie, that the investigation exonerated him? Because it means men and women of conscience are unwilling to let Donald Trump off the hook. You never know when that kind of arcane standard is going to catch fire.
But positive thinking suggests that we do this: stay tuned.
If the House flexes its Constitutional muscles, and gets backed up by the courts, despite Trump’s and the Senate’s drive to pack the system with complicit judges, the House eventually may prevail, especially if some witnesses – like Sheriff Bob – cooperate, possibility setting off a stampede of truth-tellers.
As to the House’s refusal, so far, to impeach Trump, fearing that the Republican Cult in the Senate won’t convict, and further that the voters will be sympathetic to Trump in the 2020 election, let’s cut Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders a break. They are faced with a classic dilemma, two terrible choices:
- Don’t impeach him, and the House sets a terrible precedent that, actually, the president is above the law.
- Impeach him and lose the election.
Because you never know when doing the right thing will actually turn out to be the right thing.
#4. Trump’s Poll Numbers. They are rising. It’s true that initial disappointment in the Mueller report, plus comfort in a robust economy and the eternal support of his cult followers is putting Trump in a good position to spend four more years in the White House, and at the same time for the GOP to regain control of the House and to retain the Senate. (I hope you’re not reading this just before going to bed).
Our positive take: Donald Trump is a loathsome psychopath, relishing the pain of others, trading on hatred, jealously, fear and imbued with the full spectrum of ugly qualities that lurk in the cellar of the human experience.
It’s reasonable, therefore, to suspect that nobody actually likes him and that he has no true friends. When, his run luck begins to fade, lots of people will turn on him, as have Michael Cohen, his one-time lawyer, and Michael Flynn, briefly his national security advisor. It’s possible that the antidote for the poison Trump has injected into or lives may be Trump himself.
#5. The Troubled Democratic Field. Repulsive as Trump is, he drives the news cycle, unmatched by the 20-plus busload of Democratic challengers, most of whom are little known or barely known and, who, individually or as a group, have failed to inspire and energize.
The bright side? There isn’t one – not yet. Name recognition is vital, and even with the campaign already underway, there may not be enough time between now and next November for anyone to match Trump’s attention-getting magic.
Still, there are more than a handful of women and men who can do the job and do it well. Trump at least has demystified the presidency, so if the stars are aligned next year, desperate voters will understand that any one of the surviving Democrats will be an instant, welcome improvement over the monster who's terrified us during the last two-plus years.
In the photo above, which the Grouchy One and I took today at a nearby park, is none other than that astronomical no-show: the sun.
My hope – and I trust that of the still-sleeping Cat – is that just as happened in the mid-terms, political energy will be creative and powerful across the country. We, as voters, need to stay engaged, to keep pushing for change, to contribute money and/or time, and most of all, to keep our spirits up.
Cat was moaning about the stingy spring we’ve endured in New England this year, drizzle almost every day, fog, clammy mist, green slime covering the sides of houses, stingy temperatures. Our blog pictures were of gray skies, gray seashores.
Today is different. Blindingly bright skies. Warm sunshine. The kind of lush, deep green you see in lawns and trees only during this special time of year, when everything is new and full of promise.
So yes, cycles do change, even when you think they won’t. And sometimes the changes are for the better.