I peered into the abyss last night and saw that Trump is the Truth.
By that I mean that he is the personification of the collapse of the constitutional invention of 1787. To answer Lincoln’s implicit question, a government “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal cannot long endure.” It was better than the alternatives, but it gradually slipped away from us over the last 50 years, done in by the attempt to be serious about “equal.”
These thoughts were stimulated by The Nation. It resurrected a short piece from 1992 that ran through the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of the Reagan administrations, especially Iran/Contra, and reflects darkly on the fact that there was no effort to impeach even though the violations were much more serious than anything Nixon had done. His analysis is a version of T.S. Eliot’s “Human kind cannot bear very much reality:” the American people simply did not want to confront the truth.
And I thought on, about the effort to impeach Clinton for a blow job, Bush’s election by the Supreme Court (Gore betrayed us all by not forcing a Constitutional crisis at that point), and the lack of any effort to impeach Bush and Cheney for lying to get us into the war in Iraq. Trump knows nothing about the Constitution and constitutional government, and he does not worry about the consequences of anything he might do. Trump, too, has observed the collapse of “checks and balances.” Obviously there would never be an effort to impeach him. He personifies the situation, but there is no good served by blaming him. He simply makes visible how far we had fallen. Hillary’s election would have made little substantive difference—a few years’ delay, perhaps, but no return to constitutional governance. Ever since 1976 Congress has been too benighted to care. The structure became so rotted that it was standing only because nobody leaned against it. Trump leaned.
I had a wretched night, but having confessed my dark thoughts to my wife this morning, I find myself quite at peace—a bit like Melville to Hawthorne: “I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.”