We watch Stephen Colbert and sometimes I feel as if his jibes against Trump are much the myth of Sisyphus in that over and over again he strives, with humour and sarcasm using Trump’s own nonsensical words to attack the man. And yet, there is a certain futility for in spite of Colbert’s ongoing observations , Trump still continues to triumph in his abuse of power, riding scotfree over his critics, continuing to damn and damage what is good in America. So I am glued to Colbert, chortled over Don and the Giant Impeach, but viewed it as intelligent entertainment, reinforcing my despair and sense of futility.
With the number of Republicans in the house I feared, once again, no accountability, but I hoped- naïvely that more of them would stand and support impeachment. I really didn’t expect the equivocating Susan Collins who postures, or even Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, to stand and be counted, but in my heart of heart, I did hope that some other women, perhaps, might go beyond self interest to support values the country presumably was built on.
The lone voice was Mitt Romney who struggled at first, but denounced Trump’s unacceptable and truly worthy of impeachment behaviour.
Colbert described Romney’s censure as a bit of hope, then went on to quote a line from A Man for All Seasons,
“When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.”
In Grade 13 in Ontario a million years ago, we wrote provincial exams- in the 60’s. Besides Macbeth and Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles( if memory serves me), A Man for All Seasons was on the prescribed curriculum. The story is based on Sir Thomas More, a scholar and statesman who objects to 16th Century King Henry VIII’s plan to divorce and remarry in order to father a male heir. More, a devout Catholic ponders how he can accept two masters, deciding his oath to G-d stands in opposition to his fealty to the King. The theme focuses on a set of values that guides his behaviour.
In the 21st century, allegiance to Religion has dwindled, albeit in favour of self serving profit and elevation of self, forsaking values once believed emanating from spiritual or higher concepts than man’s selfishness and self- indulgence, and even without G-d, the rules a person should live by and which a life should be guided have obviously absented themselves . Or more precisely, I will employ the active -not passive voice, and say people, both men and women have chosen to support false idols, knowing full well they are imposters, measuring themselves externally rather than evaluating themselves internally. (AND please, I ‘m not suggesting religion as a panacea, for we have only to recall the Inquisition, etc. in times passed that lauded religion as the raisond’etre for war and murder…)
We have passed the Age of Existentialism of “to do or not do”, as Yoda would preach, but not doing is tantamount to acting as well. Lamar Alexander, a Republican Senator from Tennessee since 2003, condemned Trump’s actions on Meet the Press but demurred that although guilty of the accusations, Trump will have learned from the experience and impeachment would be bad for the country. You could almost see his spineless con freres shaking their heads in agreement, unwilling to stand against the big guy .
But Mitt Romney did.
And Nancy Pelosi who has behaved reasonably, not rushing into impeachment.Nancy Pelosi, who helped pass The Affordable Care Act with President Obama and prevented George W. Bush from privatizing Social Security, quietly but adamantly tore up Trump’s State of the Union speech, following his acquittal.
What gives me hope,too, is language, language, misused, trammelled upon, twisted and thrown around, embarrassingly in tweets, that returns us to a state where words mattered: as in Colbert’s persistent harangue and Robert Bolt in A Man for All Seasons, and the heartfelt words uttered by Mitt Romney – who will stand in history as the righteous man willing to shout “The Emperor wears no clothes”. He will likely, along with brave Pelosi, be the footnotes, the true story of a reign that negated human rights, encouraged partisan divisions, promoted racism and misogyny, kept the weak and homeless from the borders, ignored climactic disasters, ridiculed , taunted, displayed ignorance, stomping on the values we had hoped to inculcate in the young.
Colbert in his nightly attacks uses his words to reinforce the ignorance and arrogance amidst us. He does not sit in silence, acquiescing what he knows in his soul should not be and yet persists in bubbling up.
Perhaps some Republicans are correct in their self defence and assuagement that it is the people who must, ultimately decide if the country continues along on the current path.
I know this is old news but until there is a change, words must guide action.