I don't volunteer to write about politics, you know. They make me here. I am of course glad to rave about the circus clowns as much as the next guy, I have my tweets and stand by them.
But in the big picture, I know it doesn't do any good. The United States has transcended politics now. Elections, primaries, democracy, laws, impeachment, parties, these things mean nothing in the United States. They mean nothing because that's what the people want them to do.
It doesn't matter at this point whether Donald Trump is removed from office or not.
Pretending that removing Trump would fix everything at this point is like pretending assassinating Hitler would have stopped World War II. A new despot would have simply risen to take Hitler's place. Hitler was nothing without the country that brought him to power. The same case is true of Kim Jong-Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of course Vlad Putin.
The United States has even proven this to itself before. We went into Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein, and look, that just fixed Iraq up all honky-dory, didn't it?
Yes, everything in Iraq is just rainbows and unicorns gummy bears raining from the sky just because we took out the one guy. Sure, get rid of the dictator, that always fixes everything!
Listen, if all it took to stop evil in the world was to remove the dictators, no authoritarian candidate would live through a day without a bullet in his back.
It doesn't matter what happens with Donald Trump now. The conditions that allowed Trump to happen in the first place are still right there unsolved. We have a democracy off the rails, a public which has given up, people who couldn't give a damn if the whole country burned down.
As I pointed out at the end of the Democratic primary article, America has an indifference problem.
Only ~50% of eligible citizens in the USA VOTE!!!
As contentious and bitter and crazy as the political division is in this country, you have to remember this crucial point at all times. Half of the people in the United States do not care.
If Russia takes over, that's fine with them. If we get invaded by North Korea, that's fine with them. If we get marched into death camps, that's fine with them. If you tie them to stakes and burn them alive with bamboo shoots hammered into their toenails, that's fine with them.
Seeing two guys on CNN arguing politics?
For every pair of arguing TV pundits, there are two more people just like them who do not care. Thus, the United States voters are actually over-counted on both sides.
The nation is actually only 25% Republican, 25% Democrat, and 50% Who-Gives-A-Rats. Don't go by political polls. Polls on TV only catch the people who answer polls.
So what tee-eff is going on with this impeachment anyway?
It's actually a pretty cool little farce if you follow it.
Let's catch you up as fast as possible, using the great Crash Course series, which for some of you is the best education you'll ever get. Here's a brief course on how we got here.
Have you ever wanted to just sail away and claim your own land somewhere and start over making a government from scratch, only THIS TIME GET IT RIGHT? (Ha ha ha!) Well, that's what the American colonists did:
- The US government was originally designed to be small on purpose.
- They initially did not even want a president. In brief, they worried that a president would be too much like a king.
- The Shays' Rebellion showed where direct democracy and the weak government is a failure.
- Basically, when they met to re-think this whole "government" thing, they decided to reluctantly create the office of "the single executive" (president) and a central Federal government.
- The government was re-formed as a Republic. Pay attention to this word! We "pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…"
- The government we have now was shaped to be a balance, between too much government (tyranny) and too little (anarchy).
- Now we start getting to the "checks and balances" system between Congress, Senate, Supreme Court, and President. Think of Congress as the gas pedal, Senate as the brakes, President as the steering wheel, and Supreme Court as the map. What the hell, one metaphor's just as false as another!
On a side note, it probably is for the best that we have a president after all, since the president's most important role is as chief diplomat. Have you noticed, when nations get together for a big powwow like the G20, none of them sends a messy delegation of representatives to atten?
All of them have a leader - singular - be it a king, queen, prime minister, president, premier, sultan, whatever. Nations, when interfacing with each other, just work more efficiently when they send one person who can call the shots.
Here's a couple more Crash Course videos for supplementary viewing to understand how the United States was shaped and large chunks of how it's still shaped to this minute. Seriously, in a country where some 16% of the citizens think the Earth is flat, watching three Crash Course videos basically qualify you to be a political science professor around here.
Just in three videos - all of which have every fact in them backed up by every reputable historic source you could name - we have already melted down 90% of all the political arguments you hear today on social media, blogs, TV, and talk radio. We have melted those arguments into concentrated bullshitonium, which I am lobbying science bodies to add to the periodic table of elements.
The nation's founding fathers also intentionally made electing a president very formal and controlled (limits on who can run, delegates have the last word, etc.) and the removal of a sitting president also designed to be very hard to do, but not impossible.
If we're going to have a president, we would argue at our constitutional meetings, we presume that they were seated by the majority will of the people like a good little democracy should. We shouldn't make it too easy to make impeachment a political weapon. (Ha ha ha!)
The impeachment scorecard so far…
Make no mistake of it: Donald J. Trump is impeached right now. That's all "impeachment" means is that the House has voted to charge you. It's more like an arrest warrant than a sentence. It's rap, but you can theoretically beat a rap.
Whether or not he is REMOVED, however, is another question at this time. And likely to be for a while yet, because - everybody huddles in here - no United States president has ever been removed from office via impeachment! There have been only four serious impeachment efforts against US presidents that have gotten all the way to the House, to wit:
- Andrew Johnson - Impeached by the House, acquitted by the Senate.
- Richard Nixon - Called it "quits" before the House even voted to impeach! (as soon as he heard it was inevitable)
- Bill Clinton - Impeached by the House, acquitted by the Senate. Third verse, same as the first!
- Donald Trump - Impeached by the House - To Be CONTINUED!
Notably, Nixon pulled the cord before it got this bad. But before we break our arm patting him on the back, let's not forget how hard he fought against justice prior to that point, how dirty he fought, and how many laws he had to break to make his best option be resigning before a vote was even cast.
Nixon quit out of pure ego, so he could go to his grave claiming he was technically never impeached, like the slippery weasel he was.
Clinton's impeachment, as everybody knows by now, was a pure partisan circus. Even if the Senate had convicted him, he was at the tail end of his second term and would have made a difference of a few months anyway.
The Senate threw the impeachment away, based on the common-sense conclusion that even though he did technically tell little white fibs, nothing he'd done approached the seriousness required to remove a president from office.
As impeachments go, Clinton's was the equivalent of a jaywalking ticket.
Johnson is the one that is beyond all living memory and so the hardest to understand. But basically, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here he was, president by the grace of having been Abraham Lincoln's vice president where Lincoln was assassinated right after winning a second term, in the lap of post-Civil-War Reconstruction when tempers were still high and scars still sore.
Anybody could have gotten impeached in that position. You could get impeached for slipping on a banana peel, everybody was on edge.
As for Trump: He holds the distinction of being the fastest impeachment of an elected president on record!
So now what?
Now we wait.
And don't buy any lines of malarkey about how the impeachment is stalled, or it didn't get voted on in the Senate yet so it didn't count, or Trump being "emboldened" by the impeachment.
The great drama of this moment is that Nancy Pelosi is smart, and she is up against some unbelievably stupid people. Even if I were the most bull-headed red-hat #MAGA-tweeting Trumptard, I would have to admit that Trump's own worst enemy is his big, stupid mouth.
Trump goes out of his way to pick fights he can't win. His hand-picked staff, cabinet, and campaign have all gotten their exit in the stupidest possible ways. The Mueller Russiagate probe caught fistfuls of these braying jackass idiots and nailed them like they were so many ghetto hoods stealing bikes.
Yeah, don't cry over spilled Mueller reports just yet. A lot of you are complaining because it didn't impeach Trump, but it set a precedent and laid the groundwork for Pelosi to swoop in for the big pinch. Without Mueller, how many ways could Paul Manafort or Roger Stone have blocked that whistle-blower before he ever got to the press?
Don't give up on the impeachment yet, either. In the first place, even if nothing else happens with it, it's still a brand on Repulican's foreheads going into the 2020 election. In the second place, it's not just up to the partisan buzzards in the Senate.
True, they can vote not to convict, but when that happened for Clinton and Johnson the cases were incidental. Trump and his cronies have flagrantly broken hundreds of laws, including serious Constitutional clauses that strike right back to the heart of the founding of the nation itself.
Senators, even the crooked crooks like Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsey, have the oath to uphold. They can't just moon the court and walk out, not without repercussions. Pelosi also gets to handpick managers to oversee the Senate process, and this is the part where she's taking her time.
Then we have the issue of Republican support because of even important blocks of Republicans - like say, Jesus - have turned on Trump.
The Lincoln project is a coalition of Republicans calling out for the party to return to - wait for it - Abraham Lincoln, as an ideal for what Republicanism should stand for. The stock market has rallied since the news of Trump's impeachment broke. Party-before-country doesn't count for much if even the Republicans are sick of him too.
Nothing is certain, certainly not in a leaderless nation with an irrelevant government and half-attentive citizenship.
If they all pull off masks on New Years' Eve to reveal they were actually David Icke's lizard people the whole time, don't any of you dare to act the merest whiff of surprised. If you even notice, that is.