Five columns — plus two days off to immerse myself in the glory of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. More than two weeks since I last uttered the obscene T-word in the column.
I’m astounded. And proud. Nowadays, any relief, any space you can tear your horrified gaze away from No. 45 is a personal triumph. Otherwise, the Orange Enormity grows more huge, almost hour by hour, like those radioactive blobs in 1950s monster movies, threatening to engulf everything.
This week, we can’t look away. Nancy Pelosi pulled the trigger on impeachment Tuesday. Good. I happened to be channel-surfing and caught the announcement live. Pelosi offered up perspective that might have been lost in the glare of events.
“On the final day of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when our Constitution was adopted, Americans gathered on the steps of Independence Hall to await the news of a government our founders had crafted,” Pelosi said. “They asked Benjamin Franklin, ‘What do we have, a republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin replied, ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ Our responsibility is to keep it.”
Good use of the historical, Madam Speaker. Americans wrested their freedom from tyranny at the start and must do so periodically ever since. Only the form of tyranny changes, from a British king, to an immoral slave system, to capitalism run amok, to fascism overrunning the globe, to our latest, and strangest challenge: a cruel, egomaniacal buffoon whose attempts to enrich and aggrandize himself trample our democratic values and institutions.
There are a thousand ways this development can be spun, but I’ll cut to the chase: The man’s a traitor, and even if our nation can’t spit him out, we need to try. That’s the path of the hero, and the uncertainty is why it must be done.
Running into a burning building to rescue a tot is considered heroic because safe return isn’t guaranteed. So yes, the Senate will probably endorse any crime or treachery lain at Trumpasaurus Rex’s feet. Fine. Make each senator stand up and do it, on the record. That’ll help. And besides, the T-man will be so busy trying to keep his ample posterior out of the clink, it might slow his program of self-enrichment and national ruination.
Not that derailing our national policy toward Ukraine is nation-shaking, exactly. Threatening to withhold $391 million in aid unless dirt is found — or manufactured — on Joe Biden’s son is small potatoes. A petty, mobster’s threat, but so what? It is always on the small stuff that takes down political crooks, from Nixon’s “third-rate burglary” to Dan Rostenkowski’s postage stamps and office chairs.
What? You disagree? You’re pointing, feverishly, to ... oh, any random thing. Michelle Obama’s garden. What about that!?!?!?!
What about it? Let me save you an email. Every traitor, and everyone who ever carried water for a traitor, had a reason. An excuse.
Don’t trust me. Let’s look at the record.
The most famous traitor to our country is Benedict Arnold — at least until this impeachment thing plays out. We all know his name. But why did Arnold hand West Point to the British? It’s complicated, but in essence, he was in debt and did not feel sufficiently honored or compensated by his government.
”Love to my country actuates my present conduct,” he wrote. “However it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man’s actions.”
See, that’s better than, “But Biden did it too!”
Let’s try another. Judas Iscariot. The Gospels are contradictory, but it’s pretty clear Jesus told him to do it. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus says in John 13:27.
How well did that turn out for Judas? Jesus Christ ordering him to do it didn’t save him from his sticky end — by hanging, or a kind of bloody vermin infestation, depending again on the source. Plus his reputation today, well, not so good.
I don’t pretend any Trump supporters will ever marinate in the shame they deserve, ever look in the mirror with a start of recognition, ever regret facilitating the greatest humiliation the United States of America has suffered since the British burned the White House in 1814.
But save your excuses. Every traitor has ’em. And they are not the redemptive explanation you feel they are. They wilt in the sun. They are just sad.