What a day!
I wrote this as I was watching the House managers make their case against Donald Trump in Day 2 of his impeachment trial.
As I watched, I had two responses – one rational; the second emotional.
The rational response was clear. The case they were making, the logic, the brick-by-brick presentation of the facts, the evidence, was brilliant. As each manager came to the podium to make his or her case, I watched in awe. Watching their presentations, managed by Jamie Raskin, ably supported by Joe Neguse (a budding superstar), Julian Castro, Eric Swalwell, Madeleine Dean, Ted Liu, Stacey Plaskett, David Cicilline…, all I could think of was that there could not be a more compelling case for conviction; there could not be a more brilliant group of prosecutors anywhere; there could not be anyone who actually has a working brain, and is paying attention (looking at you Josh Hawley*), who could vote to acquit Donald Trump. Perhaps I’m a Pollyanna; perhaps my rational response is really irrational; but there cannot be any other outcome.
The emotional response is more difficult to express. I guess that’s why it’s emotional. As I watched the videos, the ones I’d already seen as well as the new ones shown for the first time today, I had a visceral reaction, a feeling in my gut, an emotional response I’ve never encountered before. I actually shivered. I hyperventilated. Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched the horror being replayed on my TV; as I watched the horror of the assault on our democracy, an assault incited by the President of the United States.
As I took a few breaths to calm down, I thought about the House team. Jamie Raskin, a father who buried his son the day before the assault, was clear-headed and emotional at the same time. Watching Neguse, Castro, Liu and Plaskett, each either an immigrant or a child of immigrants, made me feel, for perhaps the first time since Obama left office, truly proud to be an American. I watched, astonished, as Swalwell and Dean demonstrated their prosecutorial adroitness. And then, in a brilliant summation, Cicilline showed, as the riot escalated, Trump not only didn’t try to stop it, he continued to encourage it.
And then I paused; I thought again about what I saw. I thought about the people who carried out the insurrection – these people, this mob, these thugs, these insurrectionists – they don’t look like me, they don’t sound like me, they don’t act like me. But, like me, they’re Americans. They’re my fellow citizens. And their your fellow citizens. Think about that as you reflect on your America.
There are 50 Republicans in the Senate, all also fellow citizens. Forty-four of them, using Trump’s words, apparently are “strong Republicans” who watched what I watched (with the possible exception of Josh Hawley*). Did any of those 44, after watching what I watched, get a visceral reaction, a feeling in their gut, an emotional response they’ve never encountered before?
Based on Senator Mike Lee’s classless move to “strike from the record” an insignificant comment attributed to him in the managers’ statements, I fear they haven’t.
And if they haven’t, how will they vote now that they seen the incontrovertible evidence? And, with more coming tomorrow.
Here they are – the list of the strong and weak Republicans. How do you think this list will look next week?