Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Congress of Cowards

Responding to Presidential Treason
So, Trump has gone and done it. On behalf of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the dictatorial President of Turkey, Trump unilaterally withdrew US troops from Syria, giving our allies, the Kurds, the terrible choice of surrendering to the brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or being slaughtered by the Turks. So far, reports are they are surrendering to al-Assad, and I hope he does not slaughter them. US troops, as they withdraw, are also at risk.

This is most likely treason – aid and comfort to an enemy of the USA. “Enemy” is a little loosely defined – we don’t often formally declare war these days – but with Turkey, a formal ally, threatening US troops, I think enemy will do.
The situation in Syria is still evolving. The outcome is unlikely to be good for anyone but dictators. I want to talk about the situation in the USA instead.
No-one can say we weren’t warned. We knew that Trump was a loose cannon. The Democratic Party, for whatever reason, pursued a strategy of outwaiting Trump, failing to react as Trump and the Republicans stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. And now, finally, through incompetence Trump has committed irreversible and destructive treason.
I wrote an entire discussion of what might be done. The needed work is extensive and only begins with removing Trump from office. But I set it aside, because that’s not what I want to discuss here.
What I want to discuss here is: WHERE THE FUCK WERE THE DEMOCRATS?
A few months back, I wrote that Democrats of vision, courage, and ability are discouraged and often forced out and that the Democratic Congressional delegation is filled with people who are at best very cautious and at worst weak and cowardly.
And so, here we are. This is a much broader issue, even, than the failings of the Democratic Congressional delegation. At the foundation of the USA, we fought for the right to be a republic and to make our own choices. We then immediately started cowering, looking for people to tell us what to do. The Senate was fell into permanent deadlock, pushed by Southern leaders who wanted to make their system of slavery inviolable. It remains there to this day, undertaking major policy initiatives only when there is nothing else to be done. The House fell, first, into bickering, with many members cowed by threats of violence, then into a place where money changed hands as votes were bought and sold, and, finally, the honest slow-moving deliberative body that the founders had hoped the Senate would be.
At the end of all maneuvering, of the three branches of government that were supposed to be ruled by Congress, it was the Executive, led by the President, and the Judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, which were in the best position to act decisively, a deeply undemocratic outcome, and so it has been for over two centuries.
Jim Wright, of Stonekettle Station, has written multiple versions of, “If you want a better nation, then you have to be better citizens.” But many of us are not better citizens and do a rotten job of picking our elected officials. As long-time commentator Driftglass is wont to say, “The Republican Party is full of Republicans” and Republicans support, out of fear, candidates who both spread fear and promise monstrosities to alleviate fear.  But, also, what are we to make of the Democratic voters who put this lot of overcautious and sometimes cowardly Democratic officials into office?
It is probably fair to say that the public has long been manipulated into fear and manipulated by fear. It is hard to teach courage and independence of mind. But perhaps we can teach the public to be better judges of character.
Meantime, what are we to do with this Congress of cowards? I see no answer but to press on.

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