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Rage and grief


In the aftermath of the Senate vote to disallow witnesses in the impeachment trial of president Trump, I feel both numbing rage and profound grief. My anger is directed at the GOP senators who willingly buried their heads in the sand, blithely putting party before country, and knowingly propping up a guilty, unstable narcissist demonstrably mad with power.

Likewise, my grief comes at the hands of these same senators, who – whether out of pathetic fear or simply a shameless need to run with their pack – have struck a deeply wounding blow to our republic. It feels almost, but not quite, like a death.

Our republic is on life support. It seems it can no longer breathe on its own, and – if given the chance – Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and their cohort would smother it in its sleep. After all, that is what they have been doing, albeit in slow motion, for years.

They have been venal and corruptible and contemptible. They have shown themselves to care far more for unfettered power than for the rule of law. You will recall that McConnell refused Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, so much as a hearing. And why was that?

McConnell simply declared it wrong for the Senate to consider a nominee in a presidential election year. But merely months ago, when asked what the Senate would do in the event of a vacancy on the court this election year, McConnell grinned a hypocritical grin and said, “Oh, we’d fill it.”

And in that terse soundbite McConnell admitted that for three years he had only been pretending to act on principle. The truth was clear: McConnell had buried the Garland nomination because Garland was nominated by a Democrat. Now that a Republican is in the White House, McConnell’s concern about a president filling a Supreme Court judicial vacancy in an election year has vanished. It was never about principle. It was always about raw power.

The Democratic House managers cautioned the Republican senators that their actions in this just-for-show trial would set a chilling precedent, that by sanctioning Trump’s egregious conduct they would be affirming his decidedly dictatorial statement that, as president, he can “do whatever I want.” They cautioned that the same norm would have to apply to other presidents, going forward, including Democratic presidents. I could almost hear McConnell chuckling in his beer. “Yeah, right,” he would mutter, “when hell freezes over.”

So, now it’s up to us, we the people. It always has been really. None of us can successfully vanquish evil alone; thankfully, we are in this fight together.

And through our rage and grief, we would do well to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr., an exemplar of resilience and resistance. Long ago he taught us: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Thus, we can condemn the crime and the cover-up and those who callously perpetrated both while loving our republic and staying true to its highest, founding principles. After all, patients on life support can, and do, recover.

So, on this day full of rage and grief, let us not abandon hope. Let us rededicate ourselves to winning back our country by building on our majority in the House, flipping the Senate, and electing a Democratic president. Let us go forward with renewed determination to ensure that we revive our republic.

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