The gavel passes back to a known quantity. Nancy Pelosi might be every right-wing zealot’s favorite piñata, but those in and around the house know and respect – if not fear – her command of her caucus in the House of Representatives. All partisan Democrats place this characteristic of Ms. Pelosi’s above any criticism – even when it is supported by a rational argument – and the basis for holding her at the top.
The United States cannot expect much from the 116th Congress. In fairness, the Senate is still ruled by cunning and divisive leadership, and the White House is the source of pettiness and misanthropy when it isn’t oozing incompetence. What remains is an apparent scheme to wait out the storm, wait until the G.O.P. self-destructs, instead of acting quickly and decisively to avoid being herded by the American right into a bottomless pit of fascism and tyranny.
The continued suggestions that Democrats will fight and yada yada yada is empty. Were the Democrats ready to fight, they’d be publicly advertising that they would hand over articles of impeachment of the POTUS to the Senate by Memorial Day. Yet repeatedly they dismiss these calls. They haven’t had the courage to do what needs to be done to rescue the United States from Republican malfeasance for three decades:
If there is a Democratic Congress in January…the odds for impeachment will still be very low. Fresh with congressional power for the first time since 2014, many Democrats will be wary about investing their political energy in impeachment, just as most Democrats stepped away from that option in 1987.
During the Iran Contra scandal, the nation learned that high-ranking officials in Ronald Reagan’s administration had sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to provide support to the Nicaraguan Contras despite a congressional ban on doing so.
Speaker of the House Jim Wright felt that Democrats were best served to focus on their policy agenda and taking advantage of the weakened state of the administration. Putting the nation through the traumatic process of impeachment, Wright concluded, would not serve voters or the Democrats.
This is more evidence that the Democrats’ modus operandi in the federal government is to be the anchor that slows right-wing zealots’ passion to steer the ship of state like a band of marauding pirates, moving ever closer to a feudal, neo-medieval reality where might always makes right and the majority of the world’s citizen-peasants cower in fear at the approach of heavily armed corporate looters.
That is distinct from repairing damaged institutions and setting an example of a moral deterrent: for Reagan’s malfeasance, the mercenary oil wars of either Bush and Trump’s activity since he left his reality show and began his run for the White House. On the other hand, Democrats have learned that when their POTUS has an extramarital affair at the office it will be ginned up into a constitutional crisis. Democrats can’t find a pragmatic electorate that can hold their nose and vote for someone who will promote half of the policy that the electorate would want in spite of poor decisions he makes in his personal life.
If there is no shortage of new crimes against democracy so why focus on the scandals of the past? Because for many, the idea that soon the Trump firestorm will pass and America will return to ‘normal’ is soothing. Sadly, this is not a problem with the United States that began with Trump and his removal will not solve it. There are structural, historical, and deeply vested economic interests that make the American system an unwinnable game for too many. We have seen in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, a Carolina and a Dakota that the United States’ Second Sin – denying an adult the right to vote – was repaired only for one generation; federal courts are seeing to it that it will never be completely repaired. Jim Crow was alive and revised on 6 November 2018. On the whole, there is much more that the U.S. could do at any level of government to have truly free and fair elections.
For now, Californians are beholden to a nation that is run by climate change deniers and occupied by a populace that is – at best – indifferent to our undocumented neighbors. California is beholden to a nation full of denial about and beset with sloth to repair its vulnerable electoral system, a nation that boasts of greatness and the provision of liberties, but only for some.
The United States – with its elected leaders chosen by the media from the Partisan Duopoly™ – put more credence in a discredited economic theory than one that has proven to work when employed. As great as the California economy is, it can’t be harnessed to build sufficient housing, provide universal health care, or make it a more affordable place to live as long as it is part of a nation which reduces it to abstractions. After this election, a Californian may hold the gavel in the House of Representatives, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory for California, as long as it is just one of the fifty United States.