The Impeachment has been high theater, a battle of epic arguments, a cry for justice, moments of catharsis, a last gasp effort to prevent a death-blow to democracy. And here we are, at the closing hour of this struggle for the ages, as deciding votes are being cast on whether or not the US Senate is still capable of protecting the rule of law. With the door closing on the trial – and justice – there is no doubt, after all the heroic efforts of Adam Schiff & the house managers to argue their defense, that the Republican Senators are yielding to fear of retribution. There is only one word that sums up where we are right now in history: BETRAYAL.
This is a tragic moment of betrayal indeed, a dramatic conclusion worthy of the Shakespearean plot, in which all the dynamic forces of human nature have converged into a stunning display of desperate instincts & cruel angling of power for personal gain. It’s not just TRUMP and his Council who have sold the soul of America for political benefit, it is every single Senator and their constituencies who are driving democracy through the constitutional guardrails in a fiery crash of ideals, leaving it all to burn as smoldering carnage on the side of the road. That’s precisely what we are now, a fatal accident of history, as all the great aspirations & dreams of the founders are about to be hauled off to some god-forbidden junk yard of wreckage for political betrayal.
This moment will be etched into our collective memory like a great scar, and I fear it will be a festering wound that only sparks more bitterness, hatred & divisiveness. However, perhaps we can take solace in the eternal optimism of the great presidential historian Jon Meacham, who invokes in his recent book, Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels:
“Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights – then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”
The sting of the Republicans’ decision to disregard the pursuit of justice in the Impeachment Trial will resonate in our consciousness for years to come, decades, if not centuries. But if you look back at the many dark times in American history, when political, racial, and social conflict appeared to doom us all, we can only hope, that future leaders will resurrect this moment of deep betrayal, when politicians have intentionally turned a blind eye on justice and the dangerous instincts of demagoguery.
How did we get here in the first place? We live in a time when the Media amplify every nuance, every breath, every thought emerging in the 24/7, always-on torrent of news & information: live & in real-time. This leaves very little room for reflection, for appealing to our better angels. When each and every detail of the unfolding drama ricochets through the media space at breakneck speed, this frenzy has nowhere but to go, only to be released as a tectonic neural explosion of chatter & redirects in the channels of our collective, socially-mediated brain. We have found ourselves hanging in the balance of every Tweet & every like ensuing from rampant viral energy spinning out of control, as we grasp for dear life to hold on to some tiny ray of reason & logic in the horrifying spectacle of political wrongdoing erupting right in front of our eyes.
Sadly, the inevitability of disaster has been right there in broad daylight for all to see: a staggering betrayal of our constitutional dreams incinerated into a smoldering ruin. That is, with raw hope, we arrive at the turning when we rise from the ashes…