“One thing is sure. Democracy is doomed. This is our last election. It is fascism or communism. We are at the crossroads — I take the road to fascism”. — Father Charles Coughlin, 1936

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In a day of stark images, one symbolized American descent like no other: the busts and portraits of patriots past gazing down from the walls at a lone terrorist walking through the halls of the Capitol, a large Confederate flag unfurled behind him. One hundred and sixty years have now passed since Abraham Lincoln gazed out at the Potomac in early 1861, anxiously awaiting the arrival of federal troops to save Washington from insurrectionists. It was saved then. …

“But are there not many fascists in your country?”

“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the times comes.”

- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

Now? Of all fucking times, now? A variation, perhaps less profane, perhaps tinged more with sadness than rage, went through the minds of millions of Americans when the inevitable became reality. A century ago, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck observed a young republic touched by the magic of luck and memorably remarked “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” Once wonders what his latter-day successor Angela Merkel, the last remaining Atlanticist leader upholding the world built by an optimistic, can-do America now long past, must think of the luck of Americans now. In a year when voting in massive numbers is the last stopgap before the irrevocable stain of Putinism becomes too embedded to dislodge, we’re faced with a highly contagious pandemic and a massively, and deliberately underfunded post office. In a year where the litigation is all but certain to decide the thin veneer of legality within which Trump hopes to cloak his purported re-election, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg removes the clearest voice on the Court for fairness and adherence to Constitutional norms, her absence certain to be filled by a sprightly young cheerleader for untrammeled executive power (so long as the presidency is held by a Republican, that is). …

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”- James Baldwin

In a year when we are reminded again that events on the far side of the world can impact our lives with terrifying speed and calamitous effect, perhaps it is appropriate that the pithiest explanation of the American divide came not from an American, but from Marion Marechel, a French politician espousing the same archnationalist plague that has infected democracies across the globe. …

South of Najaf, Iraq in 2003, General David Petraeus asked the question which would serve as an early epitaph for the entire American misadventure in Iraq: “Tell me how this ends.” Today, Americans are asking the same question about a very different enemy.

Every so often, an event occurs which, like the receding of the tide, exposes the detritus left behind. As we watch the world pass by, day by day through the windows of our homes, Americans are being forced to confront the cracks increasingly present in the national façade. Even as our ship of state has taken on water, the lives of ordinary Americans receding further from the sunny shores, we have clung to narratives of exceptionalism, of a higher reality that existed over the horizon. As COVID reshapes our world and challenges our future, reality has taken the brunt of a bracing confrontation with myth. For if anything has been proven by the extraordinary events of the past two months, it is that the America we half-thought and half-hoped existed was a fading mirage. The COVID crisis has dissolved our recent perceptions in an acid bath and instead, America the fragile has stepped out the shower without a towel in sight. …

Sometimes, the new looks a lot like the familiar. For those over 40, the sight of a septuagenarian Republican president shrugging off a rising health threat which contradicts his ideological predispositions is déjà vu all over again. Today, it’s Donald Trump and his brazen, almost impressive attempts to walk the tightrope of downplaying the threat of the virus while simultaneously taking credit for aggressive steps to stop it, all while locking reality within the prison of his pre-existing worldview: that whatever the circumstance, the Democrats and the media collectively are endeavoring to undermine him. Then, of course, it was Ronald Reagan, and his more genteel elective avoidance of gazing too seriously at the earliest rise of the AIDS epidemic. While the times are different, as is the bug, some of the lessons learned from the past are timeless. …

Pelosi doesn’t want to hand over The Articles of Impeachment, which were fraudulently produced by corrupt politicians like Shifty Schiff in the first place, because after all of these years of investigations and persecution, they show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!- Donald Trump, Jan 9, 2020

Should they whisper false of you, never trouble to deny. Should the words they say be true, weep and storm and swear they lie! — Dorothy Parker

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© goodmenproject

Although the focus of the political world, if not the public itself, is on the impeachment hearings, the consequences of this seemingly historical moment are inversely proportionate to the attention received. Only two things are inarguably accurate: first, the President abused his office in a banally corrupt manner, seeking foreign interference to smear an electoral opponent in a brazen attempt to benefit himself in the upcoming election; and second, that despite the first, at the conclusion of the impeachment saga he will remain in office, unbound and unbowed by the charges laid out against him. No matter the facts, the rhetoric, or the determination of the House managers, a substantial minority of the country regards the President as an impenetrable shield against the vision of an America they fear and disdain. Trump’s defenders in the impeachment trial have little but anger and bluster to defend his conduct, but when paired with 53 votes of raw power, they need no more. Metaphorically, Trump has shot the Constitution on 5th Avenue, but no matter: unlike Trump’s aim, impeachment is a bullet pre-determined to miss the target. …

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On the surface, three widely divergent stories which featured prominently in the news this week — the NBA’s agonizingly slippery response as to how to respond to a generic tweet from Rockets GM Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong’s protests, President Trump’s increasingly brazen appeal to racial divisions as an electoral strategy during a Minneapolis speech, and the success of Law and Justice, Poland’s authoritarian populist party in Poland’s parliamentary elections- are wholly unconnected, spanning three different continents and political systems. …

O let America be America, the land that never has been yet- Langston Hughes

Since Donald Trump’s repugnant attack demanding that four Democratic Congresswomen “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came,” (hint: America, in 3 out of the 4 instances) a cottage industry of Kremlinologists has attempted to discern his intent. Is Trump a master manipulator, throwing the public off of the scent of his association with the disgraced Jeffrey Epstein? Is he attempting to shape the table before the Muller testimony to Congress? Is he pulling the strings of the Democratic party, forcing them to line up behind the most liberal members in advance of 2020? …

If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. — Abraham Lincoln, 1838

In March 1916, Carolina Petrovitis, a mother of two small children, was in terrible pain following an illegal abortion when a local doctor sent her to the hospital. Three police officers soon arrived to question Carolina. With the permission of the hospital physician, hospitals being then required to cooperate in abortion investigations, Sgt. William E. O’Connor “instructed” an intern to “tell her she is going to die.” With the dying mother wailing from this cold-hearted invocation of her mortality, the police then collected a “dying declaration” from her in which she named the midwife who performed her abortion and gave facts pertinent to charging the midwife with a crime. The midwife was dragged in and Carolina identified her. A third police officer drew up another dying statement “covering the facts.” As he read the third statement back to Carolina, she lay in bed “in pain, vomiting;” illiterate, she made her “mark” on the statement. …

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1973 Political Cartoon

After waiting, Godot-like, for two years, the Mueller report and the nation’s anticipation of its conclusions has reached the endpoint. Filtered through the not-at-all-biased report of AG Barr, Mueller’s handiwork has landed as the most divisive denouement since the Sopranos finale. Not since the great kale shortage of ’16 has there been a such a general feeling of malaise on the left; all that remains is the rending of garments. The right, meanwhile, has unsurprisingly already chosen to weaponize the presumed results of the investigation, with the President, as usual, leading the charge to turn the tables on his reputed accusers. “What they did — it was a false narrative, it was a terrible thing,” Trump said. “We can never let this happen to another president again.” All this without a single page of the report being made public. No matter: in modern America, partisanship can climb Everest before facts can buy climbing boots. …


Evan Belosa

Lawyer by day. Star Wars aficionado by night. Hug a wookie and fight the dark side.

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