“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The words of Charles Dickens reach out to us over the centuries and still hold true. Within the US, you will find both sentiments existing simultaneously among the political tribes we are sorted into.
You find those who bought a celebratory bottle of sparkling wine after the first step was taken towards holding a former President accountable for his actions. And you will find those in sack cloth and ashes moaning about the complete collapse of the legal system in this nation if they were supporters of the former President. Taken as a whole, this nation has cognitive dissonance in how the actions of the legal system in the State of New York are viewed. But both sides are utterly convinced theirs is the correct interpretation of events. Indeed, I now see where the concept of alternative facts can appear. The facts themselves are not much in question, but how they are viewed through lenses of partisanship varies greatly.
One side sees the status of this nation torn to shreds by having the audacity of indicting a former President. The other side sees the honor of this nation upheld by a demonstration of the commitment to the rule of law, a commitment other nation-states can only dream about. What-aboutism has reared its head as one side tries to equate events in the 1990’s with interns, to the events of the last decade where the price of dalliance was made clear. It takes a bit of historical perspective to view events in their proper context.
It is apparent this nation is not where it used to be. Regardless of the personal sexual habits of politically connected individuals, there used to be a red line that could not be crossed if one wished to be taken seriously by the electorate. That red line was paying at least lip service to the concept of moral consistency with the sexual morality expressed in countless pulpits across the United States. But as the moral exemplars of the church yielded to the temptations of the secular world, be they related to money or sex, the moral authority of our political leadership also became compromised. So much so that when a candidate for President discussed his own privilege and preferences, his supporters were not bothered with his confession. He grabbed them by the pussy, just like he could grab the pussy of anyone else who caught his wandering eyes.
He could not be bought. That was his original argument. His business empire threw off so much cash he could ignore the traditional high rollers of campaign finance. But with a political environment so corrupted with money (equivalent to speech), by the time the second run for office came about, he was less picky about who supported him financially. Sure, the small donor was satisfying. After all, a few million supporters averaging $30 per capita could exceed even the mega moneys of the privileged class. There were efforts made to crack open the aura of financial success, like the reporting of the New York Times. But by the time serious investigation into his business “successes” was made public, his followers had morphed into a cult incapable of hearing any flaws in their leader’s public persona.
So one group sees the Emperor in his gaudy clothes, while the members of another group is blinded by the glare of lights upon the gilded fixtures in his palaces. Meanwhile, his true business successes remain few and far between, and without a television series adding to his mystique, slowly his true nature becomes visible to many. But what is really wild, is that he still reigns over the wreckage of the party he appropriated. Once the Republican party was a party of ideas, and those ideas were discussed and debated on the platforms of this nation’s elections. By 2020 though, the Republicans actually committed themselves to “what he says”. Never have I seen a party completely abdicate its responsibility to enunciate its principles. Not until this last election where the dedication to a cult leader became absolute. It mattered not who objected to this charade. An entire party apparatus was usurped, with the added effect that anyone who disagreed with the dear leader immediately became subject to the charge of being a RINO. Good luck at trying to convince any of his true followers of their leader’s faults and foibles. Indeed, we are now in a world where attempts to hold the man accountable for his actions has become reinforcement for the cult member’s beliefs of unjustified political persecution. It may take shooting someone on Fifth Avenue before his true believers would open their eyes to the actual nature of their leader. But given his style, he would just suggest that someone should be shot, and one of his deluded followers will take it on themselves to execute the desire of the leader. That way, he can claim he was only warning about what was to come, not that he was responsible for nudging someone into fulfilling his desires. Buckle up, because the ride is just beginning.