Toxic headwinds

Dear President Trump,

I had a late meeting yesterday and didn’t leave work until about 6. Typically this means I’ve missed all the news on NPR and instead get Fresh Air, which, depending on the topic and guest, is either a nice break from the usual or leads me to decide that quiet is the better option. Yesterday, however, the House Judiciary Committee’s proceedings were being aired live and I joined midstream during what I think were 5-minute soapbox speeches by each of the 40 Committee members. In trying to find a list that would tell me the order in which they spoke, I see that these were opening statements that took three and a half hours, which works out to about 5 minutes apiece.

So far I’ve not been successful in locating an order of appearance list and I’ve also not seen a good overview of the approaches taken by the two sides. I may be mistaken, but my guess for the Republicans is that their approaches were constrained to the following tactics: 1) arguing that the impeachment process is politically motivated and undertaken in bad faith by partisan Democratic hacks who’ve wanted you out of office from Day 1; 2) arguing #1 and that what Democrats say is evidence of misconduct is really wise prudence on your part meant to ensure that Americans’ tax monies go to support a country that is making good on its corruption reforms, and 3) arguing #1 and/or #2 and that the House Democrats are setting a dangerous precedent by abusing their power in trying to take down a legitimately elected president. As indicated, these tactics or arguments aren’t mutually exclusive, and in fact, they are mutually reinforcing and really represent a nice grab-bag of bullshit from which to paint really compelling pictures of your mighty righteousness in the face of your venal foes. One can do that if anything goes and one is not constrained by the truth.

Indeed, the 2.5 Republican Committee members I heard used these three themes masterfully, laying the emotion on thick and still carefully drawing out clear lines for their peeps to follow and to chaw down on anyone who might be tempted to get them to see reason. Again, when the integrity of the means used to achieve a particular end doesn’t matter, one has license to use whatever bogus theatrics one thinks will be effective in achieving the desired end. Also, with this approach, whatever factual or rational arguments the other side might put forward are just so many more opportunities for showing off trick shooting, never mind that all the shots are blanks.

Turning now to the Democrats. Ah, the Democrats. The first one I heard gave a heartfelt and accurate overview of what you’ve done that warrants the two articles of impeachment. It was a solid speech, well reasoned and delivered plainly but with some passion. The other two Democrats I heard told nice stories about themselves and their families, their devotion to the United States, and their ardent commitment to upholding and protecting the Constitution. They each tagged on brief sketches of your wrong doing in the final minute or so of their allotted time.

Maybe the Democrats had solid reasons for wanting these two stories told, but holy cannoli were they underwhelming wastes of precious airtime. It may be moot, though – as I pointed out above, given the Republican free-for-all assault on the truth, nothing the Democrats could say would be treated with respect and surely wouldn’t change Republicans’ minds. Still, I hope that some of the Democratic-airtime I missed was used to directly challenge the bogus crap you all are peddling on this rather than telling rah-rah America stories and rehashing the facts. I also hope that at least one of the Democrats had the gumption to draw out a good “what-if-Hillary-had-been-elected-and-was-suspected-of-such-wrong-doing” scenario to point out the hypocrisy of your defense since we know there’s no way in hell the Republicans wouldn’t be up in arms (literally, probably) if a Democratic president were accused of the exact same behavior you engaged in. The word disgraceful isn’t nearly strong enough to describe you all, but it’ll have to do for now.

May we be safe from lying sacks of stuff.
May we be willing to listen and bear witness.
May we not take the bait and write off this democratic process.
May we be patient even as some of us struggle against toxic headwinds.

Tracy Simpson

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