February 6th, 2020
The impeachment trial is over. Thank God.
What did that accomplish? What did it change?
I seldom, if ever, watch the news. I don’t listen to talk radio. I look at the news on the Internet, but I do so warily. I read articles from the standard American sources, but I also read reports from Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, and the BBC. There is no such thing as an “objective news source”, so I don’t even try to find one. I attempt to view things from multiple perspectives. That doesn’t mean that I give each news source equal weight. It just means that I at least try to see some truth in whatever they say. In this day and age, most, if not all, generators of news are biased. This is our world. I try to separate the wheat from the chaff.
There was nothing objective about the impeachment trial of Trump. It was all pure politics. It was impossible for it to be anything else. It had almost nothing to do with justice or morality.
Is Trump immoral and unjust? Of course, he is. However, the trial was about power. It was about control. It had nothing to do with right or wrong. It was all about who was running the show.
I always find myself in a strange place when there is talk of politics. I have found that most people prefer simple answers to to complicated problems. They always want to identify a bad guy, and maybe find a good guy, if it is conventient. It doesn’t work like that. At least, it doesn’t work like that for me.
I am a pacifist who is also a West Point graduate. I am a father whose son went to war in Iraq, and I still accept his decision to do so. My son, Hans, suffered immensely (as did the people he killed). I know classmates from USMA (United States Military Academy) who totally believe that Hans and his comrades in arms are heroes. I believe that it was all a disaster, but I also think that Hans and his compatriots really tried to do the right thing. However, I have friends in the peace movement who condemn my son and others like him in the military as murderers. Fuck that.
In the progressive movement, there is a party line that encompasses a wide spectrum of issues that may or may not have any sort of link. The line includes these things: being pro-choice, being in favor of gun control, being pro-immigrant, being pro-LGBTQ, being pro-indigenous people, being in favor of Medicare for all, etc..
I buy into some of these ideas. I am passionately interested in the rights of immigrants. I think that everybody should have health care. I am very sympathetic to the needs of indigenous peoples.
However, I have no use for gun control. It simply can’t be done. I know gun owners, Hans included, who will never give up any rights to their weapons. It’s a lost cause.
I think that abortion is wrong. I have seen the effects of abortion, and they are chilling. I have taken the time to talk with people from Planned Parenthood, and I think that I understand their position, at least a bit. However, I can’t be pro-choice. It doesn’t feel right to me.
I am a political refugee. I don’t belong anywhere.
I have noticed that almost nobody in any party wants to end our nation’s endless wars. There is bipartisan consensus about maintaining a constant state of war. That makes me less than partisan. I don’t believe in either party, because they both believe in the same corrupt system. Both parties believe in violence.
This essay has taken me far from the trial of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a symptom of our society’s problems. He is not the cause. People sometimes compare him to Hitler. That isn’t fair to Hitler. Hitler actually believed in something. Trump reminds me more of Mussolini. Look at photos of Mussolini and then look at pictures of Trump. Tell me what you see.
There is a sickness in our culture, something deep and pervasive. Both major political parties are infected by it. Trump is a catalyst that makes this moral disease apparant. He shows us for who we really are. In a perverse way, he may be necessary to our recovery.
The impeachment showed us that.