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Herding cats and counting crows

When I think back over the last two-plus years of this administration and try to remember all that’s happened, my thoughts slide from side to side, impossible to hold onto, a stream of events, ever elusive, and trying to frame them is like herding cats or counting crows.

I still recall, clearly, the day after the inauguration, Trump standing before a marble wall adorned with rows of stars representing unnamed men and women who gave their lives in service to the CIA and their country. He never turned and acknowledged that what was behind him was a solemn memorial; instead, he cavalierly talked about how often he had appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

And that was the beginning. And we know now that there is one thread that passes through this presidency — it is sustained chaos. Week after week.

And now we find ourselves debating the wisdom of impeachment, asking: If not now, when? Actually, I agree with House Speaker Pelosi: Unless information revealed in the Mueller report is so egregious as to be unavoidably bi-partisan (think the Senate), then let the 2020 electorate deliver the final judgment. Regarding the Blue Wave Democrats’ mandate for oversight, let ’er rip.

And speaking of next year’s election, there are times when I have the chilling thought that if Trump loses (the alternative is beyond comprehension), he will not go quietly back to Trump Tower. The word “rigged,” spoken often during his last campaign, echoes. He has stated that should he not be re-elected, the nation’s military and police, as well as Bikers for Trump, will not be happy. He said this.

I’ve also been listening to Donald Trump repeatedly denigrating John McCain, recently deceased, accusing him of malevolently passing what is called “the Steele Dossier” to the FBI. Something Trump believes triggered the Mueller investigation. As well, he often refers to that singular moment when McCain walked out onto the Senate floor to cast his vote on the Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, disingenuously called “repeal and replace.”

Appearing frail, waging a battle against brain cancer, a scar still visibly healing above his left eye, he extended his right hand, thumb pointing downward and thereby scuttled this bankrupt attempt to take health care away from millions of Americans. For the Republicans, that called vote was a moment of cowardice and malfeasance. For John McCain, who knew the replacement promise was hollow, it was a profile in courage and conscience, matched only by his refusal, as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, to be released early (he was the son of a prominent Navy admiral). That decision to remain until all prisoners were released meant additional years of incarceration and torture, his injuries ultimately so severe that he was unable to raise his arms above his shoulders.

And even now, as Trump carries on this callous vendetta with a deceased senator while ignoring the grief his family still feels, the congressional Republicans remain, almost to a person, silent, refusing to suggest that this president has once again abandoned any sense of decency. Of course, they know what has been widely reported, that Trump’s father paid a podiatrist to provide a medical affidavit that Donald had a disabling bone spur, thus preventing him from serving in the military.

I recently heard the congressional Republicans, demonstrating once again a lack of will and conscience, referred to as the equivalent of the French Vichy, the government set up in the city of Vichy during World War II that collaborated with the occupying Germans and entered into a reprehensible Faustian bargain referred to by some at the end of the war as treasonous.

History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Draconian autocrats and their enablers are ever with us. But this is our democracy. If we can keep it.

Chris Honoré is a Daily Tidings columnist.

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