I love Elijah Cummings. His “Come on!” at the end of the Michael Cohen hearing is my new ringtone. I agree with him a lot, but we differ is when he says, “We’re better than this!”
If he’s talking about the country, I don’t think we are.
I look at all those republican reps during the hearing and their constant cry of, “This is a waste of time! We should be doing our jobs or anything else!” while they themselves are there, defending the president instead of meeting with constituents or drafting legislation or, you know, doing their jobs or anything else.
Then I look at the president.
I think it went like this…
This fool wanted to boost his brand, so he started a campaign. The best way to do that is to attack the establishment. But that’s a hard thing to do when, as a wealthy, white, male inheritor he’s the living embodiment of the establishment, but who cares? He wasn’t really trying to win anyway. He knew he couldn’t rally the majority of voters to side with him. Part of his identity is believing this. He’s a conspiracy theorist and part of being a conspiracy theorist is the belief that only a few know the real truth. He’s also a eugenicist, which lends itself to the belief that he is one of the very few who can even understand the truth.
Eugenics also tell him that he’s better that the Black guy who’s about to leave office and better than the woman he’s running against. But, again, he’s not even trying to get the majority of American voters behind him. And he doesn’t. It turns out the majority of American voters aren’t fooled by him at all. But the racist-ass electoral college appoints him anyway.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of racists to go around. Sure as shit, a whole lot of white “religious” people who spend their spare time railing against the lifestyle of someone like the new president sure love his stance on anything related to race. Same with a whole lot of white Americans who hate those East Coast elites, but, you know, just not as much as they hate darker skin tones.
Then comes the collective, country-wide crisis of white conscience. Suddenly a whole lot of white people have to start dealing with the fact that their families have way more bigots than they realized. Some are inspired by their crisis of conscience and decide to fight for a better country. And, yes, some are more interested in calling for a return to “normal” in hopes to reclaiming a time when they just didn’t have to see how ugly it can be for the rest of us.
Meanwhile, the new president gets into office and proceeds to behave exactly as expected, like someone who didn’t want to win. He doesn’t read reports, doesn’t get out of bed until pretty late. Then there’s his “executive time.” Have you seen his golf count? He’s obviously not mentally or physically capable of doing very much at all, let alone the hardest job in the world and he clearly doesn’t want to be there.
But he is there. And despite what we think of ourselves as a country, he will probably continue to be there. He will continue to be there because the democrats’ goal seems to be getting more votes than republicans even though they reached that very goal last time only to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory.
He will continue to be there because we are still unwilling to admit that racism is what put him there.
He will continue to be there because the system has no internal defense from a leader who will engage with it.
We must ask ourselves: What do we do when our systems disregard the will of the people and appoint a leader who is incapable of even reading a single report and who publicly sides with the enemies of his country over his own intelligence agencies and who openly disdains most of the people he is supposed to represent, care for and lead?
If our answer is to trust in those very systems again, but just keep our fingers crossed this time, well, then I’m never going to agree with Rep. Cummings. I don’t think we are better than this. There’s a pretty good chance we’re even worse.
We can be better, but we’re going to have to accept what we are first.
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