Monday, 18 December 2017

The Quaint American

It's quaint how many Americans & others who tend to identify with the two US political parties view the investigation into the activities of Donald Trump & his campaign for the Office of the US Presidency as it relates to whether they cooperated with its manipulation by a foreign government as either an unlawful inquisition, the worst witch hunt since Salem or some such, or as crucial to the ongoing existence of the democratic republic since... take your pick.

It is almost intriguing how what is routinely seen as the importance of the party designation in the election of a representative or appointment to a post is an affiliation set aside by some based solely on the fact that a special prosecutor happens to be investigating members affiliated with his own party. Of course, there is sound, if still quaint, reasoning behind this: The always good Democrat, who'll readily admit that Democrats are not always good, says it's because there exist non-partisan Republicans, which is big of 'em. As proof, there's the sometimes fair, depending on the weather, Republican who is troubled by facts learned so far and feels like the investigation should continue. Here lies the firm foundation of American democracy! How quaint.

This bipartisan brotherhood brews over into mistrust the moment members don't behave as their counterpart had hoped. This, too, is rooted in soundness, and is quite quaint. Naturally when someone who'd been friendly to you suddenly smacks you in the face you're gonna change your opinion of them. But not least of which based on the unpredictability of the actions of others, I say these party affiliations are irrelevant.

I allude here not to the question of the discrepancies between the iterated party ideologies and their actual differences. I rather refer to the irrelevancy of the Biggest Sideshow on Earth. Warning, I'm fixin' to make the oft fallacious "the same people who..." argument, which as a matter of course should be viewed as question begging. So don't beg it, that is, don't take my word for it, but seriously consider whether or not this statement is true: The same people who are salivating at every tidbit coming downwind of Robert Mueller and consequently see him as a man of integrity today would view him as a treasonous party hack the moment he were to complete his investigation without either fingering the president or prosecuting someone in his inner circle. And of course the same people who are currently calling for the president to fire Robert Mueller for abuse of power or whatever will cite in perpetuity his investigation should the president escape scot-free.

Not that every selfsame amateur constitution wonk, who learns of some new arcane statute with every related "actually" tweet from their fave professional DC policy wonk, are not willing to hold that nothing is certain and will admit in advance to whichever special investigator's being treacherous unless he gets fired first. This is also part of the quaintness quagmire that makes up the self-image of this moment's American. It constitutes just the latest act in the sideshow.

Every spotlighted actor in this play is a study in treachery, but not of the disloyalty to the quaint American kind. It is a treachery toward whatever potential there is for earthy human decency. But not of the civility & decorum variety, quite the contrary. The most treacherous lay claim to that mantle with the backing of decorous fanfare — a quaint contradiction if there was one, which just might be a clue as to the expedient nature of that civility in all its historic duplicity.

Quaint Americans, much like the ugly ones, are selfish. If it's found that the current monster in the White House has nada effect on their own real lives, they'll point out how much they care about the effect it has, or will have, on others. Given the perpetual relativist application of the evidence of such effects depending on the timing of their cause, it's difficult for me to sympathize.

Note that the list of the greatest threats to American democracy does not include whenever the Americans manipulated or destroyed someone else's. "Two wrongs don't make a right" is the quaint logic moving forward, but neither does a second wrong necessarily warrant the most urgent need for correction. This is true when there is wrongdoing of relative ubiquity, particularly so when that ubiquitous wrongness is of the official institutions tasked with the correction of wrong. That's called institutionalized corruption. There has never been a greater assurance of the end of American democracy than the partisan embracement of those institutions when it suits one's selective fancy.

"But I can criticize both," or "We can't do anything about the other thing," are a common refrain of the quaint American, often in that the wrong in question lies in the distant past or is beyond the powers of democratic citizens and their apparently expediently powerless representatives charged with confirming those who sit in the institutions.

But the institutional wrongs are quantifiable. They are individual as well as collective actions taken in any of the institutions' names, or under one or more of their auspices, sometimes in secret. Enough of those secrets have been officially revealed such that any special investigators and prosecutors worth their weight in honor-ability or well-qualified-ness would be able to air the grievances publicly and sentence any & all the wrong doers living & dead.

Before there can be a credible account of the election of 2016, there needs to be a credible account of both of their primaries. Still of greater urgency would be for international cooperation into the investigation of the murderous manipulation and/or overthrow of the Ukraine and Libya most recently, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and again Libya more recently as well as historically, by all means Russia in the 90s, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Panama in the '80s, Chile, Ghana, Zaire, Bolivia, the Congo— hell, just about anywhere in Africa and Latin America that ever attempted autonomous democracy, socialist-ist or otherwise, and throw in Fiji, Grenada, and Jamaica, and Cuba. Naturally Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia— I know. Pure fantasy, right?

I submit that it is more important to the survival of democracy that those institutions face a reckoning regardless of how temporally afield their transgressions lie. By comparison, the current lawless executive facing even the slightest censure from any one of those same institutions would bolster their credibility of convenience with the quaint American. The removal of the latest symptom will make them happy and might lead to that infamous fanfare, but it ain't gonna save no democracy.