There Is No Bottom
Apparently no longer concerned with even the appearance of propriety, the Trump administration abandons the rule of law and goes full Kangaroo Cabinet.
By David Todd McCarty | Thursday, May 7, 2020
The further we sink as a country—the deeper we seem to go—the more incredulous we become. There is no bottom. How can there be no bottom? There has to be a bottom. The very nature of our current perdition defies the very laws of physics, if not theology. Every time you imagine that things can’t get any worse, that the President and his corrupt band of cronies can’t possibly be any more nefarious or inept, they find a new low we didn’t even know existed. We are so far below the seventh circle of hell right now, we didn’t even know it went this deep. Dante would be floored to find out—there is no floor. What’s worse, if there can even be such a thing at this point, this administration seems to be digging as fast as they can, straight down, with an enthusiasm never imagined by the likes of Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino for sheer, depraved insouciance.
The Attorney General of the United States, the most senior law enforcement officer in the country, made the decision today to drop a case against Gen. Michael Flynn, a former Trump National Security Advisor who pled guilty twice, for lying to the FBI, about his involvement with the Russians as part of their investigation of Russian interference in our 2016 elections. He not only pled guilty, but he cooperated for months in their investigation in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. After firing his old lawyers, his new lawyers have attacked the prosecution and claimed that the investigation itself was corrupt.
“The government is not persuaded that the Jan. 24, 2017, interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the United States attorney in Washington, Timothy L. Shea, said in a motion to dismiss the charges.
Meaning that it doesn’t matter if Flynn lied to the FBI, which is itself a crime, because his lies didn’t have anything to do with the matter they were investigating. This argument, on its face, is preposterous, even for this administration.
We have run out of words in the English language to describe the depths that Donald J. Trump, his family and the conmen and sycophants have sunk to bring this country to its knees. We can be no more apoplectic, shocked or angered because we are exhausted from the terror and madness of it all.
Jared Kushner and his frat house friends played a game of RISK with American lives, gambling Monopoly money in a game of “find the respirators.” His wife Ivanka is in charge of the economic recovery effort, even though she clearly has no business acumen. Trump’s cabinet is a who’s who of miscreants, conmen, donors and pirates, all looking to cash in either directly or in the service of some corporation or industry that will make them rich. His new press secretary can’t lie fast enough or boldly enough, even though she doesn’t have the deadpan skills of SHS. Trump himself has thrown in with white nationalists, armed militias and anti-government groups of all stripes, and looks on with amusement as armed cosplay actors pretend to storm state capitols and demand to be allowed to die from a global pandemic.
We have known this was inevitable all along. Many of us were shouting from the rooftops, that this was exactly what was going to happen if he was elected. It wasn’t prescient. It wasn’t skillful insight into the political and cultural future of America. It was the game plan of the next season of a horribly crass, reality television show, only you could have scripted the entire thing from the beginning and not gotten much wrong.
But here we are. In many ways we were wrong about how bad Trump would be. We actually thought he would be more effective at being a tyrant, and less buffoonish, and we entirely underestimated just how deviant the Republican Party was and just how willing they were to abandon half a century of ideology for a chance to join Trump in fleecing America. He has been so much worse than we ever imagined, not because he’s good at being bad, but because we were unprepared for just how inept he really was. We thought he was a narcissistic psychopath, but we had no idea he was also mind-numbingly stupid.
It is simply not statistically possible to believe that everyone around Trump is as vacuous as he is, which means that quite a few of them know exactly what they are doing, which makes them not only willfully indifferent, but cravenly evil as well.
Trump was able to accomplish what no one in American history has been able to do in 244 years, which has been the fairly rapid dismantling of democracy and stripping away decades of societal norms that kept government functioning. What will remain, if anything, will be unfettered capitalism and a federal judicial system intent on theocratic oligarchy over democratic idealism.
There is no bottom. We will continue to experience the terror of a Trump presidency unless enough Americans remember what this country used to purport it stood for. We have lost our way, our moral compass, and indeed our very position as the leader of the free world. Our allies, such as they are these days, have written us off, knowing they can no longer count on our leadership or our guidance. We have abandoned our idealism and sold our souls to capitalism.
We have only one path forward, and it’s not without peril. First, we have to remove Trump from the White House by electing Joe Biden. Those are our choices now, regardless of whatever fantasy you might hold about a superhero coming to save you in the guise of a 78-year old Brooklyn Jew, or some other fantastical fairy tale involving Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Two old white men duking it out, for as Joe put it, the soul of America. Hopefully we have one still to save.
But booting Trump from office will not the be the end of our nightmare, I’m afraid. Even if Democrats manage to retake both houses of Congress as well as the presidency, we will still be fighting a comically corrupt Republican Party that thrives in opposition, as well as an activist conservative judicial system packed with handpicked GOP cronies.
When you dig a hole this deep, you can’t just step out of it one day and hope to walk away. It’s going to be a long uphill climb, one that some of us might not live to see the end of. But you can’t start at the end, you have to take the first step towards recovery and our first step will be fighting every day, every step of the way, like our lives depend on it, because they do.
We find ourselves at the bottom, looking up, with the unfortunate knowledge that the people in charge are still digging the hole we find ourselves in. There is a bottom, or at least the hope of one, and it will be found only on the ballot come November.
Just know that if you fail to help shore up that base, you deserve to find out what hell looks like from below.