Tuesday, July 17, 2018


One sign of maturity, of growth, is to be able to admit when you are wrong.  To recognize the error of your ways and course correct.  It reflects maturity in an individual and in a society.

We as Americans have a very difficult time admitting we've done any wrong.  Admitting when we've made a mistake.

We haven't really owned up to what we did to the Native Americans throughout our history and how we are treating them today.  In the South in particular, we have never really been able to admit that there is no "lost cause" of the Confederacy.  That the Confederate states were wrong.  There are still many that would have trouble admitting that segregation was wrong.  That "separate but equal" is inherently unequal.  We have trouble admitting that we erred in our treatment of the LGBTQ community to this day.  Or that we don't have an immigrant group du jour that is acceptible to hate.  Our scapegoat.

Now, we face a moment where nearly half of the American people are faced with a choice.  To admit they made a mistake in their trust or to double down on their decision.  To recognize that the situation is not turning out as they were promised.  Or to admit that this is what they wanted all along.

The historic summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has come to a close.  And the results are as troubling as could have been feared.

Denying the findings of our own intelligence agencies, President Trump repeated that Putin had assured him that Russia did not interfere, that both countries were responsible for the deterioration of our relationship (despite his tweets yesterday morning), and that the investigation by special independent counsel Robert Mueller shouldered a lot of blame.

"I don't see any reason why" Russia would interfere in the election.

"President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial."

"I think the probe has been a disaster for our country.  It's ridiculous what's going on with the probe."

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

I'm not sure which would be more troubling:
  • That our intelligence agencies are so inept that they are mistakenly blaming Russia for interference in 2016 or claim interference when there was none?
  • That our intelligence agencies are so corrupt that they would intentionally falsely accuse Russia of interference for some political reason?
  • Or that our President foolishly trusts a strong but untrue denial from Russia regarding their interference for some unknown reason?
The same Russia who used a nerve gas attack in the United Kingdom.  The same Russia who aided in nerve gas attacks in Syria.  The same Russia that shot down Malyasia Airlines flight 17.  And who now has a Russian spy on our soil to infiltrate U.S. political organizations including the NRA.  The same Russia who denies them all.

Our President is for some reason purposefully ignoring the conclusions of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the Office of the Director of National IntelligenceAll of whom have concluded with confidence that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institution, intended to interfere with the US election process.  This is also on the heels of the indictment of twelve Russian military officials by a grand jury in the District of Columbia for their hacking of Hillary Clinton's 2016 election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Despite where everyone's mind goes to, Trump's actions are not likely treasonous (or at least enough to be charged with treason absent further evidence).  Treason under law is defined as "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere."  His speech does not rise to waging war, though additional showings may could rise to "adhere to their enemies."  But this seems to be the closest he's come.  When you add continued vocal support of Russia, with a desire to ease sanctions, with siding with them on United Nations/NATO issues, you begin to paint a pattern of "adhering to our enemies."

At the least, this seems to be a violation of his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.  Section Four of Article Two of the United States Constitution states that "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."  This may be Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors.  Alexander Hamilton wrote that high crimes and misdemeanors covered "those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.  They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself."  To Benjamin Franklin, this was necessary for when the Executive has "rendered himself obnoxious."

Through this candidacy and presidency, I've wondered where the bottom is.  Where the line would be drawn where even his supporters have enough.  And increasingly, we keep getting deeper and deeper.  Line after line.

I feel we're seeing the end and it's not going to be pretty.

Trump is too far gone.  I'm not sure what Putin has on him or his family; if it's the pee tape, if it's true financial records that show that the Trump family has been laundering Russian money for ages, or something far worse, whatever that could be.  There is something driving continued allegiance beyond all reason.

The question is now posed to those who voted and supported him.  Just as every serving Republican in Congress and across the nation is having to decide whether they can support him in this latest infraction, every vocal supporter, everyone who voted for him, must reevaluate and determine if he is still worthy of his support.  This may require backing away from the one news organization that is putting a positive spin on the events on the events of the summit and reading the coverage from the rest of America and the world.

Where is your bar for his performance?
What would you consider beyond the pail?
Are his actions in Russia defensible?  If so, why?
Which scenario of those I outlined above is more troubling to you?  Again, why?
Is he living up to your expectations?
Can you continue to support him?  Not the office, his performance in the role?

Self-evaluation is never a pretty or enjoyable process.  But it's necessary.  We as Americans need to take a real hard look at ourselves and our actions over these past several months and past several years.  It's a hard pill to swallow.

I know he will have his defenders to the end.  Those that will explain away his actions at the summit as exactly what they would have wanted.  I am more firmly convinced that he was telling the absolute truth when he said he could "shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose voters."

He's right.  He could.  So long as it was the right kind of person.

God help us all.

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