Dear President Trump,
It’s garbage day today in our neighborhood (we call Tuesday mornings “Garbage Morn” while Monday nights are “Garbage Eve”) and everything looked exceptionally orderly and tidy on my walk this morning. The crows were still asleep so they hadn’t pried off any lids to get to potential foodstuffs and it’s not a recycling day so there aren’t overfull-recycling bins with crap spilling out. Garbage Morns are usually not the most pleasant walk mornings (they are all walk mornings for the time being since my right knee has decided that running isn’t a thing it can do at this point) so it was nice to have things tidy and contained. Plus it’s pretty cold out so rotting stuff isn’t as smelly as it is in the warmer months.
I’m telling you all this both because you’re almost certainly completely insulated from such mundane, yet consequential things as waste removal, and because the whole tidiness/untidiness thing with Garbage Morn feels akin to the Democrats’ dilemma regarding whether to throw the whole stinking mess of your wrongdoings into the articles of impeachment or to include only the tidily contained portion that has to do with your Ukraine-extortion efforts. As you no doubt already know, on principle I think they need to list absolutely everything. The American people now and into the future need to know that our system of checks and balances is working and that at least half of the legislative branch attempted to hold you accountable for your obstruction in the Russia probe, for your blatant self-dealing and flagrant disregard of the emoluments laws, and your attempted extortion of an ally at war with a (supposed) common foe.
Unfortunately though, I don’t think we have a garbage bin big enough to handle all this at once and I’m not sure it really makes sense to just go for it and pile the stuff that won’t fit around the proverbial bin. We Americans get squeamish about dealing with the reality of all our shit and we tend to shut down when confronted with more than will fit comfortably in our regulation-size containers. I so don’t envy the House Democrats as they try to navigate the no-win path between conscientious integrity (i.e., the “go for it” argument) and political reality (i.e., the “stick with Ukraine” argument).
Some are arguing that if they go in with say five articles of impeachment and there is only unanimous support for three of them (on the part of the Democrats – we are 99.9% certain that the GOP House members are going to vote against them all), then you all will pounce and say that even the Democrats don’t think there’s a case against you. Of course you would ignore the three unanimously supported articles, but whatever.
I do get this argument, but personally I don’t think it’s all that sound for the following two reasons: 1) you will attack Democrats, and especially ones in swing states, no matter how they vote on however many articles of impeachment, and 2) do we really want the Democrats to ape the ludicrously all-in-no-matter-what block that is the current GOP if that’s not how they feel? And yes, I get that how they feel (I’m referencing both Democrats and Republicans here) is sadly not really the issue here since so much of what they are all doing is based on their particular political calculus rather than what their consciences are telling them. But still, if the Democrats will only go with what is sure to have them all voting as a block, this is playing the game using your rules and it’s selling themselves and the country short.
We need to be better than this and it starts with piling all the shit in the middle of the street, stopping traffic if we have to, and saying this is not ok. We can’t start cleaning up and figuring out how to avoid such messes in the future if we choose to deal with just one small part of the problem.
May we be safe as we face the whole of our mess.
May we be willing to be patient with complicated shit.
May we know we can’t be healthy if let some stuff fester.
May we make peace with strife.