Chicken Little or Constitutional Crisis

Chicken Little or Constitutional Crisis

It’s been almost a year since I’ve penned anything on the shit-show that is our current political environment. I have avoided long-ish posts on this subject for lots of reasons. One was that it was extremely tiresome and the cause of much distress, and I thought that continued ranting would only be redundant and exacerbate the stress. Another aspect was the sense among the people I interacted with every day—my wife, my son, my neighbors, my friends—were not as alarmed as I was, so in a sense I measured my heightened alarm and outrage against theirs and began to wonder if I was some sort of Chicken Little. I knew I wasn’t, so I took my energy to public spaces, joining other Resistance folk in our effort to fight every callous and cruel policy initiative, executive order, congressional clusterfuck and erstwhile governmental calamity inflicted upon the American people every week. And that, so far has been what the first year of Trump has been. The president on the United States has been assaulting the electorate every day with his tweets, with his policy, with his incompetence, and with the deployment of his surrogates to lie and deceive on his behalf. Documenting each blow to our morality, our decency and our objective reality seemed like not only a daunting task, but one better left for people with more influence and more readers. Plus, I was (and remain) so frustrated, so enraged, so shocked, so disconsolate, so disheartened that it seemed in some way rather pathetic to continually have to put into words the phenomenon and the daily outrage. The basic sentiment is abject wonder that such a thing can be happening. It is coupled with the constant panic that the law could be so easily broken with impunity and without any seeming repurcussion. 2017 was a year where every news cycle contained some assault by the very men and women who were sworn to uphold the law or even write it. Every day we marched closer and closer to the reality that our basic reliance on what some call the rule of law was not simply fraying, but was under attack by those that held the power to make such an attempt. Now it is cracking.

I spent likely too much time engaged in following the saga on every news outlet I could, to the detriment of my personal life and my family life. I listened to pundits and talking heads, looking to them for the assessment that would ease my fears, that somehow the institutions would hold, and if wrongs were done they would be adjudicated and this massive wrong would be righted. I heard a fairly constant, fairly consistent narrative about the constitutional crisis that loomed. Crying over a constitutional crisis is the sky-is-falling plea of the Chicken Little of Trumpistan. But it’s less akin to Chicken Little than it is the boy who cried constitutional crisis. For in my assessment, we are already there.

The sky is falling.


No really.

The sitting president of the United States, and his co-conspirators are breaking our democracy. I don’t have time to explain why that’s a big deal. I know most of us are sitting in a comfortable location somewhere, where no sign of impending doom is really threatening us in any physically palpable sense, so it’s hard to fathom or understand, or see with any vision what this portends for the future, but if you enjoy living in a society where the assumption of fairness and egalitarianism abides, you might want to check in with the freaking current here.

The president of the United States and his pals have been under federal investigation since late in 2016, before he was elected. Our national security apparatus, which is empowered to (wait for it) work to protect our national security (hence the name) has verified through multiple agencies that the Russian Federation worked to influence the outcome of our election, and they worked to tilt the thing in favor of the guy that won. Elections are good, if they are free of influence. It’s how this thing called a democracy works. When it’s vulnerable to outside influence, it’s not really what is intended by the rule of the people, which is what democracy means if you break it down etymologically. Since that news leaked in late 2016, the titular head of the Republican party and president of the United States has blatantly, flagrantly, obviously tried to interfere with that investigation. That’s a crime. But perhaps worse, it’s a really big crime. It’s a crime so big that it doesn’t even fall into the jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies generally empowered to make arrests and set trials and deliver sentences like if you got busted trying to traffic and distribute 500 kilos of cocaine in your city, or even if you are a CEO of a major corporation who bribes federal officers trying to bust you for crimes. No, these crimes are so big that only people like those in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate (the people elected to make our laws) are empowered to administer the type of justice warranted by such big crimes. They’re the only people that can take down a president who has committed crimes. Think that’s fucked up? It’s still a democracy. Try to change it. You can. You could run for congress and make different laws more reflective of the will of the people you’d be representing. The trouble here is that the majority of people in the current Congress are somehow either trying to obstruct justice along with the criminals, or are sitting idly by while it happens. The rest are trying to fight with their arms tied behind their backs.

Today the president is making moves to destroy the very institutions whose job it is to protect us from those intent on breaking the law. He first fired Jim Comey, the FBI director initially investigating the Russian election interference, prompting the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is now leading the investigation Trump wants to end. He railed against his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from overseeing the investigation because he is either a witness or a target in the investigation. He pushed out deputy director Andrew McCabe, who can corroborate Comey’s testimony against him. The last person to come under fire will be Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mueller’s investigation while Sessions is recused. Today it seems clear he’s next. Trump and his sycophants in congress are engaged in a campaign to discredit and obstruct the department of justice as the investigation into him continues to cloud his indecent presidency, and his game seems to be the ultimate firing of the special counsel doing the investigation of potential crimes and the interference of a foreign government in our democratic elections. Barring the direct firing of the man investigating him, he will ultimately try to replace that guy’s supervisor so he can be replaced by someone more loyal to him. Why would he do that? Why do you think he would do that?

If this investigation is compromised, that is the end of the world as we know it. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s bad, just like the sky falling. But good news, there’s an alert for that. Be prepared. Click here, Chicken Littles.

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