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Magary writes: "I have spent the past three years slogging under the assumption that the entire Trump storyline would culminate in some kind of massive, public cataclysm: nukes going off, assassinations, World War III getting under way, etc. Such potential calamities still loom perilously on the horizon."

The White House at night. (photo: Susan Walsh/AP)
The White House at night. (photo: Susan Walsh/AP)


The Longer We Delay Impeachment, the Worse This All Gets

By Drew Magary, GQ

20 July 19


Drew Magary on the president and the triumph of fear.

have spent the past three years slogging under the assumption that the entire Trump storyline would culminate in some kind of massive, public cataclysm: nukes going off, assassinations, World War III getting under way, etc. Such potential calamities still loom perilously on the horizon. But in the meantime, the horrors of what is being conducted here in America have come in steady waves: Puerto Rico being left for dead, state-sanctioned human-rights abuses at the border, law enforcement officials joining online hate groups, tanks on the National Mall, more mass shootings, the president being openly racist and staging hate rallies, and on and on it goes. I would tell you Trump is gonna get someone killed, but he has already fulfilled that prophecy. The catastrophe is already here, and it is growing.

And yet there is no urgency. All I got is a formal condemnation of a few tweets, and the House couldn't even pull that off without making an embarrassing spectacle of it. A cursory impeachment proposal from Congressman Al Green was easily voted down by a majority of Democrats. And there's obvious symbolism to be found in Trump's getting more hateful and frenzied the night an effort to oust him was tabled indefinitely. I am like millions of other suckers who put all their eggs into Robert Mueller’s basket and hoped his work would initiate President Trump’s downfall (Mueller, ever the polite fellow, seemed to encourage this initiation but erred for subtlety when blunt force was so, so necessary), but that never happened. The men beholden to Trump made certain of it, and complacent leadership from Democrats has only served to further enable the opposition.

Two weeks ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did her now infamous sit-down with perennial vicious-circle wannabe Maureen Dowd, during which Dowd called impeachment a “primal pleasure” and Pelosi explained that Trump “practically self-impeaches” in his daily transgressions, but that actually impeaching him (or at least trying to) would play right into his hands. She also told The Washington Post that trying to remove Trump from office is “just not worth it.” Hence, no serious impeachment proposal is in the offing.

Pelosi is hardly alone among Democrats in avoiding this battle, because so many of them judge impeachment to be a losing one, one that might come back to bite them in the ass in 2020. Every time a Democrat does something halfway wise, smarmy news analysts are like, "Oooh, the GOP'll use that against them for sure!" And so Democrats are skittish about even attempting such partial measures. When they do get around to executing them, they do so as tepidly as possible.

Former Congressional stalwart Barney Frank just gave an impassioned defense of Pelosi to Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, and it was a cogent defense but was enervating in the ways Frank sides with Pelosi in believing Democrats should only take what the defense gives them. This is a constant long game Democrats play, where they assume that sitting tight and giving Republicans enough rope to hang themselves will result in triumph at the ballot box somewhere down the road. That’s victory enough for them, apparently. Pelosi was somewhat validated when this strategy paid dividends this past November and Democrats reclaimed the House. But rather than take that restored power and act as a forceful check on the president, party leaders have elected to again hold back, offer the occasional tut-tut, and place their bets on future elections that could already be prematurely compromised by gerrymandering that has cut off crowded blue areas of the electoral map from the corridors of power, by foreign interference, by the spread of mass disinformation, and by a judiciary now predisposed to strike down any election result it doesn’t care for, or any law that has even a whiff of compassion to it.

Meanwhile, the shit keeps rolling downhill. On the surface of things, I suppose you could be prudent and wait for a white knight 2020 Dem to come riding in on horseback to save the country 16 months from now. On the other hand, where is the URGENCY? Why am I sitting here waiting for leaders to do something meaningful, only to find out that so many of them are themselves content to hope for things to magically improve LATER?

It will be extra terrible if we treat impeachment as some reckless crime of passion instead of the proper action to take against a flagrantly lawless administration.

Believing you can only do so much right now is an excuse that Americans like me are tired of hearing. A lot will happen between now and November 2020, and a lot of it will be terrible, just as the past three years have been. And it will be extra terrible if we treat impeachment as some reckless crime of passion instead of the proper action to take against a flagrantly lawless administration. By letting this continue to fester, Democratic leaders are encouraging social complacency. I, being a cosseted suburbanite, walk outside and things are normal, at least in the superficial sense. The street lights work. Local ATMs are still operational. It is not hailing meteorites. And so it’s very easy to be sheltered like me and come to treat what is happening right now as The Way Things Just Are. Doing next to nothing to rid the country of Trump right now, this instant, only helps cement his corruption as an expected, and acceptable, machination of our federal government. The greater media has little issue going along with this, telling you to pay no mind to that mind behind the curtain. And Democrats seem all too determined to cultivate unity the only way they know how, i.e. via surrender.

What you are witnessing is the triumph of fear. Trump rode to the presidency by stoking fears among his base about immigrant bogeymen and liberal swamp roamers and all that other horseshit. He has governed with that fear, and he has, in turn, made the opposition far, far too afraid: of him, of displeasing his disproportionately influential voter base, of levying any tangible punishment upon Trump that might incite violence from a sector of Americans who clearly have a taste for it, of upsetting racists (and we are now at the point where the right wing has successfully managed to make “racist” its own unspeakable epithet), and of FIGHTING: of doing the hard work that is clearly needed to stop us from falling into a fucking black hole.

This is where I remind you that Donald Trump is afraid of stairs. There is no more cowardly a pig in this country, and indulging him in his bravado by not initiating formal action against him only encourages more sniveling pigs to come sidling up to the trough. Fatten them up and they only get harder to move out of the way. Impeachment is only a lost cause if you view it in the most fatalistic terms, and if you’re afraid that doing the right thing right now will somehow make you look irrational and weak? It will not. Now matters. It has to, and a lot of people get this. There is no more long game to play. Setting impeachment in motion is not a careless act, nor is it a suicide mission. Quite the contrary: It is a long overdue step in trying to derail a suicide mission we’ve already all been forced to slowly embark upon.

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+25 # Lgfoot 2019-07-20 10:31
Americans despise cowards. It's why they continue to vote against Democrats who stand for their interests in almost every poll. If Pelosi were half as smart as the media think she would figure this out and start fighting the creeping but accelerating fascism that is taking over our country. Spineless Democrats will never win. Fighting Democrats might just do it.
 
 
-3 # logical1 2019-07-20 10:32
Yes, with the unAmerican senate we have ipeachment is not based on facts or actions.
"The investigation into Russian election interference is, on the other hand, arguably the most serious investigation ever launched into a presidential administration."

Although it would be proper to impeach Trump, it is futile. The Senate would drop it like a hot potato and then complain about a Democrat House agenda.
In the end it would give Rethugs excuse to block any congressional accomplishments and make more noise-complaint s.
There are so many impeachable events and facts, improprieties, and actions that it would take an immense, lengthy and costly effort to interview, document, and do a proper impeachment.
There is no purpose to doing so with the existing senate.
If Dems must impeach, I suggest make the articles as factless and short as possible, to get it out of the way and give Rethugs the least fodder to argue.
This way congress could move on having removed the elephant of impeachment from the room.
 
 
+9 # lfeuille 2019-07-20 16:10
There is a great deal of purpose in doing it even with the current senate. Day after day of revelations about his criminal activity that the press with avidly cover is the best campaign strategy possible for Democrats right now. The MSM has not gotten anywhere near exposing the extent of this administrations wrong-doing but they will have no choice but to cover impeachment hearings. And articles of impeachment don't have to be based on crimes. A Dem. congressmen sent an email recently claiming that racism was not an impeachable offense, but that is not true. It is not illegal unless it leads to concrete acts against a protected person, but it doesn't have to e illegal to be impeachable. An impeachable offense is anything that Congress deems damaging to the interests of the United States and it's citizens.

People are busy with their own lives and have short memories about political events. Impeachment hearings would be a constant reminder to a distracted populace about what they hate about Trump.
 
 
+7 # Texas Aggie 2019-07-21 06:58
This is the purpose of impeachment hearings, to get the information out there. That the senate won't convict is less important.
 
 
+16 # economagic 2019-07-20 10:41
Quite so.

I don't think it is wise to make light of the dangers faced by Mueller, and by Pelosi, and in fact by every citizen who chooses not to knuckle under to the knuckle-draggin g juggernaut that promises to "Make America Great Again" in the sense that Mussolini made Italy great and Hitler made Germany great. Yale historian Timothy Snyder nailed that in his little volume from early 2017, "On Tyranny." It has its flaws, but it is a good starting place. I recommend that everyone read it and that those who have already read it do so again, to remind us of what it looks like. The jackboots, the disappearances in the night, and the camps (cf. "Martin Niemoeller") come later.

But in the meantime--and for that reason--fight like hell, fight like there is no tomorrow (for there may not be), and accept that you are going to die sometime anyway. Everyone knows FDR's "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But that's only the beginning of the quote, which itself is only half of the first paragraph (of 26) of his First Inaugural Address. Read the whole quote. It is the frame for the remainder of the speech, which is also well worth reading.
 
 
-4 # indian weaving 2019-07-20 10:52
The good news is that Trump winning the presidency again will only hasten the onslaught of the inevitable civil war. That will conclude with the break up this evil empire into several weak sovereign nations, the only solution to the problem of the existence of the USA any longer. Nothing else can make any difference anymore at this point of collapse.
 
 
+6 # itsnowornever 2019-07-20 14:57
There is no good news here. Civil War is not good news either, for the people going through it. And, if we believe, and you could be correct, that nothing makes any difference, then we are truly lost. As is any notion of a civilized society.
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2019-07-20 16:12
Your dreaming. It won't happen. There will be a slow slide into fascism, not a revolution.
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-21 05:41
Hasn't the US always been a fascist state? There have been very good and important democratic uprisings and movements, but at base the US is fascists.

It is not clear what you mean by fascism in your slow slide. The correct meaning of fascism is the corporate control of government. Democracy is when people control the government. Democracy and fascism are opposites. The US has been fascist for most of its existence. Trump only follows the patterns set by his predecessors.

It is time for a change in directions. The American people want that. Many of them thought Trump was an outsider and would change the fascism in Washington. They were wrong. Many Trump voters in 2016 will vote for Sanders in 2020.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2019-07-22 23:39
No it has not. Fascist states effectively prevent resistance through fear. There is plenty of resistance and there has always been resistance when the a sizable segment of the population disapproved of the governments actions. Trump would like to change this, but he hasn't been able to so far. But the right to dissent is not the same as revolution.

If this were really a facist state, most of us would have been arrested RSN posts by now.
 
 
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-21 05:27
I would not want a civil war. That would be very bloody. But I would want a dissolution of the Union. States and regions might simply withdraw from the Union and free themselves from the tyranny of the central regime in Washington.

Areas like California, Oregon, Washington would declare independence and then support the independence of Texas and some southern hell-holes. No state need fight another state. They are not enemies. The real enemy is enclosed inside the Washington Beltway. It could be built up into a 50 foot wall and then become a prison for all the top operatives of the former criminal regime.

Empires all eventually break up. The USSR broke up. The UK is breaking up. Yugoslavia broke up. Ukraine is breaking up. It will happen to the US. The reason is always the same: the central regime loses its appeal to the regions. I wonder how many Americans think there is any value coming out of Washington these days. Some new independent nations would be true hell-holes. I would not go there. But others would be quite good. That's how it always is.
 
 
+17 # hectormaria 2019-07-20 12:19
Trump, like most Conservatives, spews crap not only from the anus but also from his mouth: the nation will have a big clean up bill after he and the likes of MConnell leave.
 
 
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-20 16:57
hector -- republican presidents in the last 50 years are:
Nixon -- 1968-74
Reagan -- 1980-88
Bush I -- 1988-92
Bush II -- 2000-08
Trump -- 2016-20


We have not even begun to clean up the mess created by Reagan or the Bushes. Trump is not the problem. It is Reagan and the Bushes.

Republican presidents are a real rogues gallery. Demos are only a little better but at least that is something.
 
 
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-21 05:47
Continues. Democratic presidents in the last 50 years:

Johnson -- 1963-68
Clinton -- 1992-00
Obama -- 2008-16


The only problem here is that the last two were really republicans:

Clinton was a southern Blue Dog democrats which is someone who did not move over to the republican party with the southern strategy of the Nixon/Reagan era. He did not need to. Blue Dogs were already bad enough.

Obama said of himself ""The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican," he told Noticias Univision 23 in a White House interview.

So it has been all republican presidents since the election of Nixon in 1968.

Will this mess ever get cleaned up. I seriously doubt it.
 
 
0 # chapdrum 2019-07-21 16:23
IF they leave.
 
 
+7 # janie1893 2019-07-20 14:14
We all want impeachment but we all want someone else to do it!!! It is obvious that elected legislators are not going to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Trump is gearing up for WAR against Iran. How many innocent people are we going to allow him to kill before we halt his insanity?
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-20 14:36
"the past three years slogging under the assumption that the entire Trump storyline would culminate in some kind of massive, public cataclysm: nukes going off, assassinations, World War III getting under way, etc."


The US goes through one of these cataclysmic spasm every 20 years or so. The last one was Y2K. For nearly 3 years we were told that the world would end because our computers did not have enough numbers in them for the new millennium. They would reset at 1900.

Let's rename this current hysterical spasm M2k. M is for Mueller. The rest does not make sense but that is OK since the whole investigation, Mueller himself, and the Alice in Wonderland Report do not make sense either.

We are in the world of another Y2k. Donald Trump is afraid of stairs. He's a cowardly pig. We must impeach him because he is making all of afraid of everything, making us into sniveling pigs. Really, people that's is where we are. Our media, even a clothes horse magazine like GQ, is hawking the fear. M2K.

M2K is here. It is real. The sniveling pigs are on the march. They are sniveling at us. And you know, shit is now rolling down hill. The world will end tomorrow. It is all very obvious. M2K is really, really the end of it all.
 
 
+1 # johnescher 2019-07-21 06:50
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
We must impeach him because he is making all of us afraid of everything, making us into sniveling pigs.


You read it here.
 
 
+2 # Texas Aggie 2019-07-21 07:04
I'm sure you realize that Y2K didn't happen as predicted because lots of people got off their butts and rewrote millions of lines of code to prevent it. If people don't get off their butts now and do whatever is necessary, then this time there will be no redemption.
 
 
+3 # chapdrum 2019-07-20 17:43
Don should not be permitted to run for re-election. Better yet, he should have his citizenship revoked.
 
 
0 # Dennis 2019-07-24 21:38
You can certainly keep hoping, folks, but Trump will not be impeached. There is nothing to impeach him on, that is, not liking someone is not an impeachable offense.

Maybe if the faithful readerships didn't keep voting for a party that has "superdelegates ," then they wouldn't always have their hopes dashed that Utopia is just around the corner. Looks like it's 4 more for 45...
 

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