On a cold October night, as dark as the grave, its slumber comes to an end. With a flick and a hiss and the glow of wood ember, a tiny flame blooms in the blackness of its steel heart. Moment by moment, it grows hotter but hungers not, as coal piles in, pound by pound, by unseen hands. With a growl and a thump, its pistons turn, metal shrieking against metal, and the shadowy contraption lunges forward. With a howl, its horn peels through the air, sending a conspiracy of ravens, stirred from their slumbers among the falling rafters, into the grim night, adding their caw calls to the growing roar.
The beastly machine shudders, thunders, and rumbles onto the main line of track, pulling behind it boxcars bulging with a thousand crimes and misdeeds, lies and dishonors, and the shame of all. The baleful light at its nose flickers blood red into the darkness ahead. No station is its destination; no hub its home. It hunts another like it, a train fueled by petty bravado and petulant fools, with their thousand transgressions and careless injuries. The wind rushes through its rattling hull, as it hurtles headlong toward its only purpose being the unfeeling machine’s namesake.
“Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.'”
-Edger Allen Poe, The Raven-
Halloween 2017 comes in the aftermath of what can only be described as the most historic political and legal event since the Watergate Scandal of 1973-1974. Though there are certainly few similarities between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, at least one similarity stands out, even if it’s only a fairly esoteric statistical one. Thanks to high profile foreign policy developments and a strong economy at home, Richard Nixon started his second term in January 1973 with an approval rating of 67% (Gallup). Less than 2 years and the Watergate scandal later, Richard Nixon resigned from office with approval at just 24%.
Fast forward to October 30th, 2017, Trump’s weekly average approval rating fell to 36% and his daily approval rating dipped to its lowest yet at 33%. Monday saw 2 of his campaign staffers, Paul Manafort, a long time associate who joined his campaign in March 2016, then became campaign manager in June 2016 until he left rather abruptly on August 19th, 2016, and Rick Bates, a long time associate of Paul Manafort, indicted for conspiracy against the United States, and the revelation that a third staffer, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to a “making false statements” charge to the FBI, obviously a lesser charge than he was originally charged with.
For someone who only listens to Pop-Con pundit class media, this may very well be the first they’ve heard of these indictments, which have been in the 24-hour cycle since Thursday. These will be the same people that have been screaming “Fake News!“, because Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and a host of other partisan talking heads who’ve been saying for months that this couldn’t happen told them to. For practically everyone else, these indictments have been inevitable given the mounting evidence that’s been piling up since late 2016.
“What did the President know and when did he know it?”
-Senator Howard Baker, about Watergate-
There is no question that these events, clearly but the first in what may be a long series of serious indictments, will undoubtedly reshape the political landscape for years to come, just as the Watergate scandal reshaped American politics 40 odd years ago. Just like in 1974, there remains a pocket of Americans who will simply ignore reality and doggedly support the president no matter how damning the evidence. When Nixon resigned, 1 in 4 Americans still believed that he had done nothing wrong or, at the very least, lying to the American people about an actual crime committed to benefit him didn’t rate removing him from office. Those people were fools.
And the 1 in 3 Americans who presently continue to support Donald Trump, despite the numerous obvious false statements (lies) that he and his surrogates have told in regards to both the nature and individuals involved in this brewing scandal, reveals one very simple and incontrovertible fact: Republicans cannot be trusted. When push came to shove, and it became obvious to even the most oblivious objective observer that high ranking members of the Trump campaign, including those with direct access to Donald Trump himself, were engaged in decidedly suspicious interactions with equally suspicious individuals with ties to Russian intelligence, the entire Republican apparatus abandoned objective truth for the cover of lies.
Trump and his closest surrogates immediately issued blanket denials (the meetings never happened) that were quickly disproven. When caught in their first string of lies, they immediately replaced those lies with new lies (no one important was at the meeting was unimportant and had to do with adoptions), which then were also disproven. Fox News and the talk radio pop-con pundit class have willfully and repeatedly obfuscated, to the point of outright omitting the series of false statements coming from the Trump administration and have even attempted to push an entirely different narrative (the Obama and Hillary uranium deal), in a coordinated effort to distract from the bold faced lies coming out of the White House.
Meanwhile, Republican Representatives and Senators in Congress have also pushed the Hillary Clinton scandal narrative, rather than admit to Trump’s numerous and obvious false and willfully misleading statements to the public. Rank and file Republican voters have, in lock step, dutifully ignored any media outlet even vaguely critical of Trump, plugging up their ears and screaming “Fake News!” as loudly as they can. This time, it’s not just the White House that is conspiring against America by covering up a conspiracy that fundamentally attacks the very fabric of our representative political system. Literally a third of the American public are actively participating in the hysterical perpetuation of utter nonsense.
“In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.”
-Edgar Allan Poe-
As was alluded earlier, the conspiracy of ravens has been flushed from their shadowed perches. There is no going back, and the point of honorable retreat is but a dim memory. Those who are party to the conspiracy that darkens our headlines had their chance to take a nobler course, and they chose not to. The party once of Reagan, too, had a chance to do what was right, rather than what was popular, and that chance, too, has passed. The pundit class had a chance to adhere to their long espoused principles and promises of virtue, but they too missed their opportunity. The American public, the final defenders of justice and truth, stood ambivalent as the truth was mangled before them.
Sadly, my friends, there is no good end to this story, and, as they say, “This will end in tears.“
Liberty is For The Win!