National Commentary

Not the Time For Idle Debates

Once again this week, as the 20 Democratic presidential candidates were paraded for a second round of media-driven exhibitions in front of national TV audiences, a bizarre form of “reality television” with pundits in the wings rating the high points and low points of each’s performance with respect to each other, the proverbial “elephant in the room” was effectively ignored.

In this case, the “elephant” is a more than a vague if colorful cliche, it hits far closer to today’s darkest reality, to the reality of a current Republican Party and president who constitute an incomparably grave threat to the future of democracy in America and the world, and even to life on this planet.

The format of the Democratic “debates” had the effect of turning all the candidates in on themselves at a point where too much of a far graver nature is at stake, like trying to play a game of charades in a remote country cabin while horrible creatures are lurking outside and looking to get in.

The issue of defeating this menace was barely mentioned, in fact, and when it was it was, only in terms of the most conventional political manner, of defeating an opponent, as if the stakes were the usual ones for one party competing against the other.

But the nation faces a far, far more serious crisis than these kind of dog-and-pony shows are willing to allow us to contemplate. This isn’t Democrats versus Republicans, or moderates versus progressives. Properly understood, our predicament today is one of the need to rally the populace in a veritably cosmic clash between the forces of good and evil, on a very fundamental level.

Even if not explicitly acknowledged as such, the first waves of major Democratic gains against Republicans in the wake of Trump’s fraudulent electoral win of 2016 were animated at some core level by this recognition. The women’s marches that spontaneously filled the streets of dozens of American cities the day after the Trump inauguration was the first manifestation of this, and then it came with the electoral sweep for Democrats in the 2017 elections in Virginia, and the 2018 midterm elections, when the gains were far beyond what the pundits were predicting.

Americans need to tap into that same moral urgency going into the 2020 presidential election, and it needs to be magnified far beyond where it has been to this point.

Congressional Democrats and conventional political leaders generally have been too polite and too caught up in their deeply flawed sense of limits to, for example, lay it out for the American people what the real consequences of the Mueller report are, as spelled out in the public hearings with Special Investigator Robert Mueller presented to Congress last week.

What the report describes is treason, plain and simple. It is treason by the man who has become president of the U.S. and his enablers. It is a form of treason that threatens the very existence of the nation.

The report says that the Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections on behalf of Trump, that they were successful in their interference, and that Trump led a massive effort at obstruction of justice to cover this up.

This was on the basis of the most effective investigation by the best the U.S. has to offer in terms of capable professionals over a two year period that included extensive arrests and convictions of key elements in the conspiracy. Mueller made it clear last week that if Trump were anyone other than a sitting president, he would be under indictment for an array of serious felonies.

Consider this: What’s been the impact on the U.S. of all this? Is Trump acting as an active agent of Russian influence now? Is this defining everything that he is doing? Why wouldn’t it be?

When has the U.S. ever had an enemy of its very existence operating as its president?

Now Trump is using the prospect of a new election to sow deeper divisions in the land, to fire up the evil forces of racism and domestic terror. He has no intention of going quietly.