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A School Lesson in 20 Years Time.

Republican senators should vote with the Democrats to convict Donald John Trump.

Teach: After a delay of weeks, they held the trial in the Senate. Given the major evidence afforded by mobile computers with cameras, the House managers made a compelling case against the former president.

Johnny: So they voted to convict? Locked him up!?

Kelly: You don’t get locked up if you’re convicted by the Senate. And they voted to—

Teach: We’ll get there. I want you all to understand the evidence. They knew he’d lied about the election fraud. They showed how he moved the date of the rally. They proved his team was aware that violence was planned. They interlaced his speech with the footage his mob took of themselves. This was as easy a case as the Senate would ever see, outside of a guilty plea.

Johnny: Like I said…

Kelly: You said wrong! They—

Teach: Spoiler alert, Kelly! Not everyone reads ahead. Let me finish.

Just imagine Johnny and Kelly are faced with the fact that a major political party left justice fallow at such an important time, with such compelling evidence. Do you think they’ll give that party the time of day?

Perhaps they will. The Democratic party was instrumental in fomenting the Civil War, and yet they continued to exist. They have changed dramatically over the years, as to be unrecognizable as the party that once sent the worst of us to the legislature. But they did face years of exile, however brief and however weak, during Reconstruction. They did other redemptive acts over the years, finally arriving as the pro-civil-rights party.

Over the coming decades there will be tens of millions of johnnies and kellys learning about the attack on our government and the lame response by the Republican members of the Senate and House. This is poison to all right-thinking school kids against considering a party that would sell its country out given these facts.

What will be the redemption story of the Republicans? When will it start? Even before the Civil War, there were some Democrats who, not abolitionists, at least did fervently rise against expansion of slavery. And even in the cradle of the Confederacy there were American patriots who kept in contact with Washington, who President Lincoln asked to serve as aides to the Union, either as emergency governors or otherwise.

If I were a Republican (there, but for the grace of God!) I would be either jumping ship or agitating outright against this sick and weak and rotten strain that Donald John Trump represents to the party. Stand against this anti-reality, anti-American nonsense, Republicans!

Vote to convict! Do not waste this chance to salvage your party. Do not condemn generations of children to learning how poor examples you are to the virtues of humanity! Do not be forever stained as cowards and gladhands to a demagogue!

Do not condemn generations of teachers to explaining to disappointed children that the Republican party were of no help, did not rise up in the country’s hour of need. And generations of parents the same, to ask, “What did you learn in school today?” only to be reminded of their own schoolday lesson when they found out just how horrible the Republicans circa 2021 were, how little they cared for the country and how they put their own reelections ahead of the most basic principles of justice!

It’s not entirely bleak. Some Republicans have woken up a bit more after their party leader caused an attack on the government itself. But the progression has been dismal:

  1. 2015–2016: Emergence of some reasonable Never-Trump Republicans.
  2. 2016–2020 election: Mostly status quo. A few grumbles at key moments, but no major movement.
  3. 2020 election to 5 January 2021: State Republicans in those places Trump lost and lied about make at least some noise regarding Trump’s simultaneously-pathetic-and-dangerous attacks on their elections.
  4. 6 January 2021: A bit more movement, even as House Republicans went on to vote against the USA immediately after it was attacked.

The elephant-boiling has largely continued apace. The idea that there will be a break-away moment for most Republican officials seems as dead as those same officials’ souls. While more horrible behavior from Donald John Trump’s supporters might shake a few more loose here and there, there will be no wholesale departure.

The Republican party will only recover if and as it can weed out these elements. Right now they control the party. What happens in 2022, and in whatever state, local, and special elections intervene remains to be seen, but the fact that they’ve spent so much effort warding off primary challenges makes it all the harder to fix their own party.

But here is your chance, Republicans of the Senate. You can stick it to Upton Sinclair, who said, “It is difficult to get a [person] to understand something, when [their] salary depends upon [their] not understanding it.” Prove him wrong. Understand the case, and understand the guilt of Donald John Trump, which will be known evermore.

The Cost of the Filibuster: Too Low and Too High.

The problems of the filibuster could be mitigated by making it more obstructive.

Sparing you another attempt to explain the GameStop Short Squeeze. You’re welcome.

For a good many measures before the Senate, it takes not 51 votes, but 60 votes to pass. Technically not to pass, but to proceed to where they can be passed. The term for this is cloture—the closing of debate. Without cloture, the debate continues and the measure does not come up for a vote.

At one point in time, the filibuster, the continuation of debate, was much more obstructive than today. Today the filibuster approaches a practical veto without any cost to the Senator who wields it. The cost of raising an objection to progress in the Senate in modern times, under both parties, is farcical. They need not engage in incessant speech. They do not substantially obstruct the whole body of the Senate to block a measure. They simply place their padlock and move on. Only if enough members care about the measure will the boltcutters be brought in.

The way that a filibuster should work, must work for it to be a reasonable tool to keep around is that it must put the choice to all concerned. It must be a head-on collision if it is to be useful and not poison to the body. With a head-on collision, the parties must be sober about the conflict. Nothing can be done if the blockage is put up, and so both parties feel the pain. It is a sort of trial-by-combat measure: the opposition says they will not budge, the majority says they want the measure passed. Whoever cares most, their will endures and the measure passes or falls.

The dull-blade filibuster cuts the Senate far too often and without any settlement of long-standing issues. The log remains unhewn, while the wielder is constantly bloodied. It should not be so.

Whether the filibuster remains or falls away is not the question. The question is about the present form of the filibuster being unworkable. The majority should consider both options: either sharpen it or scuttle it.

Is one preferable, whether to the current agenda or the health of the Senate? Not really. The Senate’s health ultimately depends on being in a position to legislate again. Trial and error—experience—is how the Senate will wear down the rough edges that keep it from being capable of much legislation. That position comes in both cases.

In the case of a hard filibuster, on any given issue one of the two sides will fold. The legislation will move if the opposition caves, and won’t if the proponents cave (in all-or-nothing cases; if there’s a particular section to be amended, the legislation may survive even if a part falls). But after that point, the next item on the calendar may come up and, if it’s not worth the same do-or-die fight, it will be passed.

I do think having a tool for the minority to force an issue is useful from time to time. It puts things in perspective if there’s a cost to doing so. It’s a picked battle rather than another in a long line of vetos.

But keeping the filibuster as is does not serve the interest of the Senate, the minority, the majority, or anyone at all.

Why Witnesses?

The failure to vote for a full trial is a fatal mistake for Republicans.

The question is moot now, the Senate having voted against entertaining motions for specific witnesses. It’s worth noting that every other Senate impeachment trial included witnesses.

Particularly in this Senate trial, when nobody believed we could see anything approaching real justice—given the majority of Republican Senators spiritually-entangled with Donald John Trump, what could witnesses have added?

If the Republicans are to acquit no matter the evidence, why would they have witnesses? If Donald John Trump is to be let off the hook, again, for known and proven crimes, what would witnesses add?

Purgation, for one. Not for Donald John Trump, of course, but at least for the Senate Republicans. A full airing of the facts that they turn a blind eye to, would serve to place the record upon the table. It would allow them to point backwards and say, “We knew, but we were paralyzed with fear and hate, we could not act upon the truth!”

Instead, they will always be haunted. They will, for the rest of their time, be confronted by the witnesses they have failed to call. Everyone who ever sees them will recall and associate them with John Bolton and Mickey Mulvaney. What would have been said? (We’ll find out over the years.) Why couldn’t they bring themselves to have had it said then, despite all the calls for them to do so? (Did they hate themselves that much?) What went so wrong with this sad being before me? (It used to be a thing of stature, but look at how it oozes around now.)

The innocent employees of the executive would be cleared, for another. Anyone seeking to do business with former associates of this administration will now have to ask, “Can I trust they didn’t have a hand in that Ukraine scheme?” Any firm with a laywer would receive advice against hiring those with potential involvement—the blackmail risk is too high for any of them to hold a position of trust! But had the full record been developed, those who hope for carreers beyond this administration would not have it hanging over their head.

For the same reason, it would have protected the nation’s security. There are those still in the administration who helped further this corrupt scheme, and they are subject to blackmail or other kinds of manipulation. They have not been rooted out, and the rot continues.

We’re at a point where it again seems futile to try to explain the daylight to the blind fools in the Republican caucus. Maybe so, maybe not, but it sure feels pointless. If they care not for the nation, which appearances again suggest, one wonders why they bother to remain. Why not take a cruise to one of the four corners of the earth?

Alas, there is something sick in them, and science has no known cure. They are betting against the United States of America, the place that invented telling naysayers where to stick it. They have placed their chips with corruption and coverup. It’s a bad bet, and it won’t pay. (And their donors will move on, leaving them with the debt.)

To be clear, the election of Donald John Trump was a major and lasting blow to any claim to credibility or sanity the Republican party could make. It was a bleeding wound in their caucus. But it was survivable. Get to a doctor. Fight for your life.

No. Given every opportunity, with the Democrats and others urging and rushing them to the surgical suite, they have now called off surgery. They are choosing to bleed themselves to death. Pro-life? Indeed. The Republicans in the Senate have fled the hospital and intentionally thrown themselves upon a clearly marked landmine. They’ve pissed away at least a couple of Senate seats on that vote alone! (Ask me which.)

It happens, sometimes. Institutions that know they have grown sick, that they are beyond redemption. Like those spots in strip malls that keep opening and closing and opening and closing. Permanent dead zones. One hates to believe it, that some can slip so far that they are beyond reprieve. But it does pass, in this universe of odds.