Brrr! America is shivering through a cold civil war. The longer it persists, the more likely it is to end not with a whimper but with a bang.
So says my friend Swamp Rabbit, a formerly apolitical drifter transformed into a fire-breathing left-wing activist by Trump’s attempted shakedown of a foreign ally.
“Ain’t nothing wrong with being an activist,” Swamp Rabbit said when I raised the issue. “It’s better than hanging out at your shack, watching them swamp frogs hibernate.”
“Never mind,” I replied. “My point is that you didn’t really care about politics until the impeachment hearings, but now you’re all fired up about the fate of the nation. People all over the country are fired up, and a lot of them are rednecks with rifles who don’t want to see Trump brought down.”
The case for bringing Trump down was presented this week by House Democrats in two articles of impeachment. The first says Trump abused his power by threatening to withhold military assistance to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless Zelensky agreed to announce an investigation of Joe Biden. In other words, he tried to conduct a shakedown to “harm the election prospects of a political opponent.”
The second article says Trump blocked investigation of the shakedown by directing “the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole Power of Impeachment.'”
Republican counter-arguments are flimsy. They say Trump’s target was corruption in the Ukrainian government, not Biden. They insist, contrary to what the Constitution says, that the House doesn’t have the power to demand the evidence it seeks.
Ultimately, they’re arguing that Trump is above the law, which is what Trump has been implying or saying outright for three years now. It’s the argument his so-called base makes by standing by him, knowing he’s a career conman who paid $25 million to the people cheated by his sham university, and $2 million for stealing from his own charity.
They knew he was a crook but stood by him. They know he’s a would-be extortionist but stand by him.
None of this is new. The MAGA morons don’t care if Trump is a criminal, so long as he’s their criminal. They count on him to be anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-environment. They believe him when he says he’s anti-elitist, even though he’s backed by plutocrats.
“What’s scary is that Trump’s true believers get more loyal as his abuses get more flagrant,” I said to Swamp Rabbit. “They get more defiant of people who want to make sure he doesn’t shred the Constitution. What we’ve got here are two different countries, like back in 1860.”
“Like I said, it’s a cold civil war,” he replied. “But it’s gonna get a lot hotter, bet your shack on that.”
Footnote: The House Judiciary Committee approved the articles of impeachment today and sent them to the full House for a vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News — the other America’s main “news” outlet — that he’ll let Trump’s lawyers decide how his trial before the Senate is handled. So much for separation of powers!