Reflections from the car
So here we are my friends. Finally, the President of the United States is being held to account. The impeachment trial is in progress and it’s heartening to see the Republican Party stepping up to the plate to make sure he answers for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. My sarcasm vein is ready to burst!
Seriously, though, I wanted to quickly share some thoughts from yesterday’s sham trial in the United States Senate. And I’m going to do it from a different perspective. Yesterday, my better half and I departed on a vacation to Southern California. The trip is a long one from the Pacific Northwest, and we’re driving.
Instead of watching it on TV, we listened to the proceedings on the radio, in the car for over six hours. To some, that might be considered torture. To me, though, it offered the chance to hear the participants, instead seeing the facial reactions and overall setup of the ‘courtroom.’
I imagined how it must have been for some who only listened to the Nixon and Kennedy debates in 1960. Many who did thought Nixon won those debates. Those who watched, thought Kennedy won, mostly because of his calm demeanor versus Nixon’s perspiring and perpetual five o’clock shadow.
So yesterday, it was only words. I heard the presentations from both sides. I always try and keep an open mind. Of course I’m biased. I do not like this President. I think he’s unfit for the office and I’ve heard the evidence from the current proceedings a million times over. He’s guilty, as far as I’m concerned.
But as I listened to the other side, hoping to hear at least a modicum of a defense of the President, I heard no such thing. I heard a lot of whining and complaining about the previous inquiry by Democrats in the Intelligence Committee. I also heard the usual ‘whataboutism’ leveled toward the previous President. But a defense of this President? I’m still waiting.
What struck me most about yesterday, though, was the contrast between the competing parties. It was so apparent and obvious to me that the House Managers, led by Adam Schiff, came to the table with substance and evidence. They came prepared, referencing testimony throughout the day from their inquiry with video/audio clips, as well as texts.
Most of the time, the President’s team only used a few minutes of their allotted time. It was clear that they wanted this thing over with. The Democrats used their time well; the President’s team, not so much.
Yes, the Managers complained about the process, and rightly so. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t want a fair trial. He wants a trial that quickly and promptly acquits the President to allow him a triumphant State of the Union in early February. After all, he’s already stated that he’s working hand in hand with the President on how this trial is going to go.
Think about that for a minute. The man who’s being accused of wrongdoing gets to have a say in how he’s going to be tried. If the Trump era has taught us anything, it’s that our Constitution is full of holes. It’s in need of some real reform.
The Founders feared a man like the current President, but the impeachment process they envisioned is nowhere to be found. This thing is rigged, and I certainly hope the American people see it for what it is. The Democrats want transparency with witnesses and documents. The Republican Party wants a kangaroo court. On that, they’ve succeeded.
But beyond the Democrats being well prepared and ready for a real trial, there’s one other thing that was very apparent as I listened on my car radio. Adam Schiff, without a doubt, is head and shoulders above anybody the President can put forward for his defense.
My wife and I would both say out loud how we couldn’t wait until it was Schiff’s turn. While we agreed that the whole Democratic team did a wonderful job in their presentations, Schiff clearly stood out. He was eloquent and measured most of the time, yet we could hear the passion. Occasionally he’d emphasize a point by raising his voice a few octaves–always at the right time–always for maximum effect.
Let’s face it. If this were a real trial in a real court, Schiff is the guy you’d want in charge, whether as a prosecutor, which is his background, or as a defense lawyer. It’s probably why the President can’t stand him. He knows Schiff is good. Deep down, he wishes the guy could defend him.
It’s too bad, isn’t it? We have an excellent team of House Managers, with one of the best lawyers in the country leading them. But it’s not going to matter one bit. Every amendment offered by the Democrats yesterday was defeated, whether it was to allow documents, witnesses, or rule changes.
Even without additional witnesses or documents, though, there’s plenty of evidence to convict and remove this President. But that’s only if we were living in a world where one of the two political parties in our democracy wasn’t complicit in making sure he survives.
The sham continues today, with Democrats presenting their case. I hate to say it but they’re only wasting their time, and putting stress on their vocal chords. I’ll be back in the car later today, traveling another five hours or so. Since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ll be listening again.
Yes, my blood pressure will rise and my wife and I will be shaking our heads the whole time. I’ve got to hand it to her. She was never a political person until she met me 20 years ago. Now, she’s as engaged as ever. She even mentioned heading to Washington D.C. for a march over this sham of a trial.
I can only hope that the rest of America feels the same. If we aren’t ‘woke’ yet, when will we ever be?