By Bob Ferris
I used to have a friend who when faced with nonsense or ill-placed blame would say: We always kick the dog when the old lady breaks wind. This could have been a recasting of the above clip from the movie 10, but might have come from something earlier. I think about this as I watch Trump try to lay off some of his son’s blame on former Attorney General Loretta Lynch because she, after all, let the Russian Attorney in the country in the first place. Hmmm.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence [sic].” US Constitution Bill of Rights Amendment VI
Let’s think on this for a moment. The Russian lawyer in question came to this country under what are considered emergency and deeply American conditions. She was allowed into the US because her client—the son of a Russian oligarch—needed representation in a federal court case involving money laundering among other issues. The judge in the case asked for this emergency immigration parole because we in the US believe that anyone deserves representation (see 6th Amendment above) when tried or testifying in the US. So this woman was in this country because of that pesky document we call the US Constitution.
This immigration parole was for a single, expressed purpose and had an expiration date like all of these paroles. The expiration date was extended, but the purpose was not expanded. Yet here she was with a support cast of Russian-born and Russian-connected helpmates meeting with members of candidate Trump's inner circle. Loretta Lynch did not set up the meeting and the Secret Service did not review or approve the action. But Trump still “kicks the dog.”
Two recurring themes are raised here. The first is that Trump knows very little about the American principles embodied by our Founders or how government actually works. This idea of a democracy or even a republic is fundamentally at odds with his apparent preferred state of a dynastic monarchy. For how can we have King Donald I or Princess Ivanka and her consort Jared if they can be bound by the rules or norms of common folk?
The second and perhaps sadder reality is that Trump and his gruesome gaggle of adoring family and sycophants seem as incapable of accepting responsibility or fault for anything as they do of embracing truthfulness. For his entire career Trump has been the “bull in a china shop” leaving destruction in his wake never once owning his part in the wreckage. One wonders in this if he even senses the broken plates and saucers or simply sees the shards and fragments as a logical by-product of the world enjoying his magnificent Trump-ness.
Frustration and meanness bubbles up in me when I think about what we are seeing in DC. Without much effort the classic cartoon sequence from Fantasia of a hippo dancing in a tutu comes to mind. It is comical for a while but my smile leaves as I start to see modern-day parallels. The circling hippos, for instance, isolate and enable the central hippo creating and reenforcing the false impression of true skills and grace. That is before a lack of functional stamina forces a collapse on a fragile day bed or what is classically known as a fainting couch. This last collapsing couch imagery compares much too closely for comfort to what Trump and his allies are doing to our expectations for the presidency and our system of government which are both strained to their limits by the weight of his corruption and ineptness.
The movie 10 was a comedy and Fantasia was a cartoon that used absurdity to draw people to neglected classical music like the hippo piece—Amilcare Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours.” This was fine music that Walt Disney felt that most would sadly fail to hear or appreciate. That was unless they were eventually fans of a 1960s era parody song by Allan Sherman. But the presidency cannot be a comedy or descend to absurdity if we hope to remain a world leader or vibrant nation.
Moreover, there comes a time in everyone’s life when they finally have to face the music for their actions. And if we want to regain credibility, this should be Trump’s. We simply cannot have a shell-company or LLC-type of presidency. I am encouraged by this discovery of a memo indicating that the president can be indicted and agree with those who are wearing t-shirts or caps emblazoned with the slogan “It’s Mueller Time.” In point of fact it is well past time.