Democracy abandoned

You can’t con an honest man.

The senate default of Trump’s impeachment trial makes the president, effectively, a monarch unconstrained by the law. After all, he is free to ignore subpoenas, misappropriate public monies for private partisan use — even if it leads to the death of America’s allies, obstruct the operation of justice, tell blatant lies, and gloat over those foiled in the expectation of common decency.

Historians will study the emasculation of the Senate — the world’s greatest deliberative body — by a grotesque carnival barker for the next 100-years. And inevitably, one after another, they will come to the same conclusion: That’s what a decisive faction of Americans wanted.

The evangelicals will be relatively easy to decipher. Trump plays to their resentments and, since so much of their lives are devoted to maintaining garish fictions, the pretense that he is an honorable man and not a corrupt madman is small additional burden. And what, after all, does Christianity really offer but the promise of eternal childhood? That soon we will all live peacefully under the reign of a benevolent, absolute, dictator?

Small wonder that so many of them view the depredations of Donald Trump as a fulfillment.

But what on earth has happened to the Senators? I honestly believed that, push come to shove, they would stand-up for the prerogatives and power of the Senate. I even believed they would stand-up for American ideals, that they would look past short-term advantage and grasp that they are throwing-away something unique, something precious, the imperfect but endless striving toward an Enlightenment ideal never elsewhere manifested on the earth.

What happened to them? The evangelicals who comprise Trump’s base have always been anti-American ignoramuses, so they are behaving in a predictable way. Were the Senators, too, untouched by the music of America’s uniqueness, and merely a pack of self-interested hustlers with no sense of the greatness they were privileged to give direction? That’s hard to accept, somehow, and yet … here we are, with Donald Trump formally freed to grow more arbitrary, more brazenly corrupt, more unconstrained by the norms of ordinary decency and ethical governance.

America has a last chance, and it is a long shot with Trump freed to corrupt the election, and that is to beat him — again — at the ballot box. It’s that, or forget that we are the two-legged citizens of a republic; we will become the scraping and bowing subjects of a monarch.

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