As the impeachment trial of Donald J Trump stumbles to its likely conclusion this weekend, if not tomorrow, I am under no illusion whatsoever that Senate Republicans will vote to remove that poisonous carbuncle from the White House. It is clear that they’ve abandoned any pretense of caring about anything other than maintaining their own party’s grip on power. I can only hope that a tsunami of angry voters washes them all out of office this November, and even then, the succeeding administration is going to have a very big job repairing the damage done to our nation over the past three years. Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone can repair it. And that’s assuming that Trump and Mitch McConnell don’t manage to stay in office. If that happens… well… let’s just say the country I grew up in already feels very, very far away.
No matter what happens tomorrow, though, or Saturday or eight months from now, but especially if things don’t go the way I’m hoping they will, let no one ever say that there weren’t people who tried. That there weren’t those who were absolutely aware that we’re standing at a crossroads and who didn’t do their damnedest to appeal to the other side’s intellect and patriotism and sense of morality. Consider the remarks made by Representative Adam Schiff a week ago tonight as he concluded his opening arguments. In my view, this was a genuine Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment. The fact that these thoughtful words didn’t sway anyone on either side, that minds were already made up and votes predetermined before this sham trial ever even began, speaks volumes about these crazy, exhausting times:
The American people deserve a president they can count on to put their interests first. … Colonel [Alexander] Vindman said, “Here, right matters. Here, right matters.” Well, let me tell you something, if right doesn’t matter … it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the framers were. Doesn’t matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. Doesn’t matter how well written the Oath of Impartiality is. If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost.
If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. The Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves, if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what [President Trump] did was not right. That’s what they do in the old country, that Colonel Vindman’s father came from. Or the old country that my great grandfather came from, or the old countries that your ancestors came from, or maybe you came from. But here, right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No constitution can protect us, [if] right doesn’t matter any more. And you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.
Otherwise we are lost.
I fear I already know the answer to that implied question. I won’t be surprised when the Senate acquits Donald Trump with a vote along party lines. No, I won’t be surprised in the least. But I will mourn. Because once upon a time, I believed that what Schiff was saying, what Vindman said, was true. And I no longer do. And if I’m honest, I haven’t in a very long time. And that is heartbreaking.