History has a velocity of its own, and its implacable forces will drag the good, the bad, the clueless, the clever, the guilty, the innocent, the avid, and the unwilling to a certain fate. One can easily see a convergence of vectors shoving the nation toward political criticality this autumn.
Mr. Trump is like some unfortunate dumb brute of the ancient Teutonic forests with a bulldog clamped to his nose, the rest of the pack close behind snapping at his hamstrings and soft, swaying underbelly. His desperate bellowing goes unanswered by the indifference of the trees in forest, the cold moon above, and all the other furnishings of his tragic reality.
As these things tend to happen, it looks like the exertions of Robert Mueller have turned from the alleged grave offenses of a foreign enemy to the sequela of consort with a floozie. Down goes Mr. Trump’s private attorney, Michael Cohen, in his personal swamp of incriminating files and audio recordings. Enter, stage left, one David Pecker, publisher of the venerable National Enquirer — the newspaper of wreckage — on his slime-trail of induced testimony. And there is your impeachable offense: an illegal campaign contribution.
One way or another, as Blondie used to sing, I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha.
Some in this greatest of all possible republics may be asking themselves if this is quite fair play, given the hundreds of millions of dollars washed-and-rinsed through the laundromat known as the Clinton Foundation, and related suspicious doings in that camp of darkness. But remember, another president, Jimmy Carter, once declared to the shock of official Washington that “life is unfair.”
What I wonder is what these dogs of vengeance reckon will happen when they achieve their goal of bringing down the bellowing bull and pulling his guts out. Perhaps a few moments of tribal satisfaction, one last war dance around the fire, and when the fire dies out, they will find themselves under the same cold indifferent moon with blood on their snouts and an ill wind blowing in the tree tops.
After two years of fomenting hysteria, the “winners” will discern the reality behind all the melodrama: the financialization rackets that replaced what used to be the economy have come unglued, and institutions begin to fail left and right: banks, pension funds, corporations, state and municipal governments, federal promises to pay this and that, and, in general, the ability of the USA to carry on anything approximating what might be considered normal life.
It will be interesting to see how the impeachment of Donald Trump plays as all this goes down. My guess is that the people warning about a second civil war are not far off the mark. The final consequence of a political-economy based on the proposition that anything goes and nothing matterswill be the rueful discovery that consequences actually exist, and consequently that anything can’t go and some things really do matter: like whether or not money is actually worth what it says it’s worth.
That issue will surely be determined by whether the borrowers of money can possibly pay back what they owe. The discovery that it’s impossible will coincide with whatever the legal fate of Donald Trump’s presidency might be. The result of all this is apt to be a political nightmare of bankruptcy and bloodshed that makes the first civil war (1861-1865) look like a tale of knighthood in flower.
Our national living arrangements are far too fragile. The players on both sides of this dire game must assume that the trappings of American life are sturdy, and they are quite wrong about that. Personalities are not in control anymore. Murphy’s law rules, and we’re about to find out how that law differs from the federal election statutes and the humdrum business of indicting ham sandwiches just because they’re out there on the table.