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CSotD: We need some closers

Scott Stantis unintentionally wraps up how I’m feeling about social media specifically and the body politic generally.

His intention is almost certainly a “What if?” by which I mean that, when he posted this at Twitter, he commented

So this president has taken to coddling and pardoning war criminals. Just when you thought this administration couldn’t get any grosser…..

I agree with his disgust over Trump’s embrace of war criminals, to which I would add that, if I were an out-and-out draft dodger, I’d steer very clear of interfering in how the military does things.

But the “What if?” fails in the case of My Lai, because we don’t have to pretend: Nixon embraced Lt. Calley, the officer in charge of the operation, and nearly pardoned him.

Polls showed a majority of people felt Calley was treated unfairly, and there was, for instance, wide praise for a social studies teacher who had his class write letters to the President saying so.

Granted, many acknowledged the war crime but were critical of the process, feeling that Calley was hung out to dry and that the punishments should have gone farther up the chain of command.

And, predictably, many favored the traditional justification.

In short, nobody was happy with how the My Lai Massacre was handled, and I might have suggested that Stantis use Wounded Knee instead, except that there is now a bill in the Senate to strip the Medals of Honor from the soldiers involved in that.

Maybe Sand Creek, where the pretense of “battle” only lasted a few weeks before the investigations began.

In any case, Nixon never actually pardoned Calley, and he certainly didn’t parade him around at rallies, but Nixon was Nixon and Trump is Trump and times have not so much changed as evolved.

Trump’s apparent intention to campaign with pardoned war criminals isn’t even surprising in the current atmosphere.

After all, he was elected despite insulting the family of a man killed in action and despite (likely) having fraudulently avoided serving the country himself.

By a flag-waving electorate that had previously accepted the transparent lies of the “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth” against a combat veteran with a clear record of service.

The term “grasping at straws” refers to drowning people desperately reaching for anything, however plainly, absurdly inadequate, that might keep them afloat.

And there is a significant percentage of voters who will grasp at straws to buttress their view, not of “My country, right or wrong” but that their country cannot be wrong and is not simply equal to but plainly superior to all other countries.

If that means making a hero of Custer or of Calley or of Trump’s emerging stable of dubious role models, well, it always has. Perhaps it always will.

I probably shouldn’t be reading “A Warning” before bed. It seems to make me wake up in a cynical mood.

 

Meanwhile

Again, I’m projecting my own views into a cartoon that may have different intentions. Tom Toles has the elephant speak of the “Trump ‘Scandal’,” which makes me think he’s referring to the flood of witnesses and documents that buttress the Ukraine extortion charge.

I certainly agree that proof of the charge has grown beyond deniability, though we should remember that Nixon only lost public support after the tapes supported John Dean, and because he was so patently dishonest about releasing them.

But, as I’ve said before, people understand a burglary, and, once it was established that Nixon knew about it and ordered a cover-up, they understood that.

I don’t think it matters how well the Ukrainian extortion is proven: It’s a more technical crime than burglary, and, IMHO, if the Committee to Re-Elect had tapped DNC phones from across the street, I doubt Watergate would have ended in resignation.

There is — and was then — a substantial “They All Do It” feeling to begin with, hence the Watergate mantra “It’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up.”

What Nixon or Trump or anyone else does to gather political data, perhaps including the hacking of DNC servers, is dismissed as business as usual.

To put it bluntly, the Democrats are investing an awful lot of energy, and a large pile of their chips, into proving a crime that nobody gives a shit about.

Do I think he’s guilty? Hell, yes.

But I think that pile of shoes includes all sorts of other things he’s guilty of, too, and, if I were a Democratic strategist, I wouldn’t know where to begin, which is why I wasn’t a huge fan of impeachment to begin with.

I might have put the effort, instead, into publicizing some of the more obvious things, like paying off his concubines, which has more of a Watergate feeling, since you can shrug off infidelity but not bribery.

Or get him under oath and see if he’ll lie about it. (Where have we heard that cunning plan before?)

I might have done more to publicize the findings of the Mueller Report, once it became clear that John Q. Public wasn’t going to read the damn thing.

I might have made more of his revelation of classified material to Russian officials.

And having seen the turnout for the pussy-hat rallies and the Parkland kids’ rallies, I might have begun setting up more, to undercut the appearance of support that his own rallies engender.

 

In any case, if Tucker Carlson is going to cheerlead the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the least we can do is, as Mike Peters does here, remind the nation — particularly the super-patriots who should be most open to the message — that we’re not supposed to sell out to foreign governments.

And when a judge provides a worthy quote, do as Ed Hall does and dress it up in a way that makes Trump not look sinister and clever but foolish, spoiled and self-centered.

Get your message out. Keep it simple. Make it count.

Sigh.

Maybe instead of internships in Congressional offices, would-be campaign managers should spend a year selling vacuum cleaners.

 

Community Comments

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#1 Bill Harris
December/1/2019
@ 7:58 am

I’ve had the same thought about the impeachment process- DJT is guilty of trying to get Ukraine to do his political bidding but the crime is not sexy enough to get the public -and many of the politicians, who would do the same thing if the opportunity arose- to care. The Democratic National Committee should start the new year with a steady drumbeat of why DJT is not fit for office. Pick one issue per week and beat it into the public consciousness with a common voice though social media, speeches from the , interviews, ad buys, Heck, the POTUS had supplied them enough material to last up until election day.

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