"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Yes, We Have No Bananas!

This is the problem. There is a world of difference between "but her e-mails!" and the Mueller report. But this is where the fight is going to be.

That's Trump's favorite cry, and it won't fail because Trump calls all his enemies thieves and criminals.  It will have to be rebutted, and the Mueller report is the best response. Vague and glittering allegations can only be defeated by specific charges supported by definitive evidence.

Once again, Donald Trump is disruptive and transgressive; or he just breaks norms. I don't want to see him removed from office; I want to see him in the criminal dock. (Whether he is locked up is another matter.) I think impeachment would impede that, but the "banana republic" charge (although dated; to my twenty-something daughter it means a clothing store) is not set aside lightly.

Consider the remarks of Kamala Harris:

“I believe that they would have no choice and that they should, yes,” she told the NPR Politics Podcast. “There has to be accountability. I mean look, people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I’ll tell you one of the reasons — I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law.”

“I do believe that we should believe Bob Mueller when he tells us essentially that the only reason an indictment was not returned is because of a memo in the Department of Justice that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president,” Harris added. “But I’ve seen prosecution of cases on much less evidence.”

At TPM that is turned into the headline that her DOJ would simply not be given a choice. When she says it, she means they would follow the law. The headline says she would find her own Bill Barr. That's not what she meant, but that's what she seems to have said. This us how careful the discussion has to be. After all, the best response to Trump's banana republic is not "our" banana republic. The distinction between justice and vengeance is a fine one, and to do justice, we have to be aware of that.

It's not that the fight can't be fought, but that it will be the first fight.  It's still more winnable than an impeachment trial in the Senate (lose that, and the "banana republic"charge is much harder to rebut.  The reporter interviewing Harris for NPR asked her to imagine a scenario where Trump is not impeached.  Did he mean removed from office?  Or simply charged with crimes the Senate does not find grounds for removal?  Would a criminal trial after that be seen as double jeopardy, even when it isn't?  That impeachment question is much trickier than some imagine it to be.)  This is not a place the country should have to go; but it needs to go there.

After all, fools rush in where angels fear to tread:

Or is it:  "Where angels go, trouble follows"?  I always get those two confused....


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