“If you want to keep a secret, you must hide it from yourself.”
This quote from 1984, the suddenly-relevant-again George Orwell classic novel of a dystopian future, could easily apply to Republicans in the current U.S. House of Representatives.
These Republicans — Every. Single. One. — yesterday voted down two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump without once deigning to actually defend the president’s irrefutably impeachable acts that led to the vote in the first place.
Instead, they threw out a blizzard of dishonest, often untrue, distractions. The process of investigation against Trump was “rushed” and “rigged,” they whined. The president “did nothing wrong,” they cried. The president was asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to fight corruption, not (as a parade of very credible witness attested to) pressuring him by dangling $391 million in tax-funded, congressionally authorized U.S. military aid to investigate Joe Biden, whom Trump believed would be his main rival in the 2020 presidential election. Democrats “hate” the president and have been “out to get him” since he was elected.
None of this has anything relevant to do with the facts, which are incontrovertible and, so far, fundamentally unaddressed by the House’s GOP tribe.
Why are they hiding the president’s obvious transgressions against the nation’s ideals and values from themselves, I wonder?
The facts are plain: that the president in a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president asked him to investigate Biden and his son (who once was on the board of a Ukrainian company) and an exhaustively debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in “sweeping” fashion the 2016 vote to help Trump win, which he ultimately did. That the president and his henchmen, notably former New York Mayor Rudy Giulliani, used a “shadow” diplomatic team outside official U.S. government channels to orchestrate pressure on Zelensky for the investigations, which would help Trump personally in his re-election but had not value for American foreign relations or national security except negatively.
So, I was reminded of this disturbing 1984 quote as I watched and listened to House GOP members spout all manner of nonsense that had zero to do with facts relating to the president’s actual behavior that led to the impeachment — their rhetoric dripping with venom.
Did they actually believe what they were saying, or had they been so thoroughly enslaved by President Trump that they had convinced themselves that it was the impeachment itself that was a “sham,” a “hoax,” an “embarrassment” to the nation, and not the president’s unconstitutional actions.
During this long process, which began before the president’s election and later went into high gear as it became dreadfully apparent that his supporters were in complete thrall to him — as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s cringingly slavish subjects are to him — and that the president’s strategy was to confuse and manipulate supporters and opponents alike with a barrage of unending lies. Thousands, actually, all fully debunked and documented.
It’s not just me. I’m no Democrat zealot. I’m a retired journalist who honors the primacy of truth and truth-telling. That’s how American democracy will survive, not listening to the bald-faced falsehoods streaming constantly from the demagogue we elected in one of the most colossal mistakes in U.S. electoral history.
So, in the interest of truth, reason and good faith, here some eloquently written and soundly reasoned opinion articles regarding the impeachment from The New York Times and The Washington Post. Conservatives will immediately tell you that these are “liberal” publications that can’t be trusted to fairly and accurately inform us. Nonsense. They are arguably the two most professional, most accurate, most respected news sources in the country, if not the world.
If you read these article, you will get a deep and valid sense of which proffered notions and details surrounding the impeachment are true and which are suspect (or downright lies). Keep in mind that there are only real facts, not “alternative facts,” and in the House impeachment inquiry the only details resembling facts were what witnesses revealed under oath, not what the president and his camp followers threw against the wall while cowering behind a bogus claim of “absolute immunity.”Republicans and Democrats, in fact, don’t live on two different planets. We only occupy the same one, but some of us vicariously live in another one we invented in our heads.
Keep in mind that witnesses chose to come before House committee even after the president ordered them not to. And House Democrats in purple districts showed courage in voting for impeachment knowing full well it could directly cost them their seats in Congress.
No such courage was on display elsewhere in and around the White House, including the Oval Office.
So, if you truly want to understand this historic moment in American history and use that knowledge to demand that the Senate do its duty and carry out a fair trial on the impeachment articles (with direct-evidence witnesses), read these below (there may be paywalls, but for as little as $1 you can access them):
- “Trump has been impeached. Republicans are following him down.”
- “Why the House’s impeachment of Trump was proper and necessary”
- “Republican senators run the risk of being shamed by Trump himself”
- “We are Republicans, and we want Trump defeated.”
- “Why the Trump impeachment inquiry is the only option”
- “Trump is getting the one kind of accountability he fears”
- “Spoiler alert: Trump is probably going to win in 2020”
- “Trump has made it nearly impossible to formulate a policy against misinformation”
If you read at least a few of these and still think the impeachment is just the wages of a shameless witch hunt by Democrats, I shudder for the country.
Hiding truth from yourself is not a curative strategy for what ails us.
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