Before Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the #Resistance was calling for his impeachment. It was simultaneously adorable and horrible, reflecting that exceptional combination of passion and ignorance that could only possess the minds of so many well-intended, well-educated, totally batshit crazy people in the Age of Emotion.
It was Stephen Colbert who, in his humorous way, saw this coming years in advance and gave it a name:
Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2006:
1 : “truth that comes from the gut, not books” (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” October 2005)
2 : “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true” (American Dialect Society, January 2006)
It was an excellent word, capturing where reality would be heading long before it got there. But, we’re there. The word has fallen out of favor, forgotten by most, because it’s too correct.
Since Trump’s inauguration, the calls for impeachment have persisted, sometimes daily, other times hourly, in response to his actions if not his mere existence. Much as otherwise thoughtful people have failed to internalize the fact that Trump, as president, was going to make choices with which they disagreed, as if he would acknowledge his “illegitimacy” and nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in some inexplicable homage to the Democrats.
When he didn’t, it was an outrage in itself, but nothing compared to what would come, now with the loved/hated Jim Comey and the Russians in the Oval. To the extent it was all truthiness, Trump’s actions, and words, did everything humanly possible to keep the fire of fury lit. Some called him a narcissist, but then anyone who presumes himself worthy of being president and willing to endure the slings and arrows of an election is, by definition, a narcissist.
Some called him a child, for his impetuousness, lack of a filter or impulse control, which others saw as refreshing honesty rather than manifest shocking cluelessness and impropriety. It’s not as if he didn’t inform us that he knew more than the generals on the campaign trail, so why anyone would be surprised he would not surround himself with knowledgeable people, and then heed their advice, can’t be explained. He told us that whatever crap popped into his head was how he would govern, and he has. And crap it is.
Some called him stupid, which seems neither true nor helpful. But whatever the pathology, he remains in the office of the presidency. For now. And even if he was to lose it, the assumption that America would choose to “correct” its mistake by electing a Democrat rather than a Republican who wasn’t incompetent in the ways of governance is by no means clear. Trump may be awful at the job, but that doesn’t mean the alternative is desired.
With the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the Russian involvement, his opponents see impeachment as imminent. His supporters see nothing but conspiracy of the elites to deny them their President. His adversaries are breathlessly predicting the fall of the House of Trump.
One of the virtues raised by this scenario was the expectation that Americans would finally show greater interest in the workings of their nation’s government, learn how America worked, and prepare to assume their role as knowledgeable citizens of a nation. If nothing else was to be gained by this pseudo-populist president, it would be that it’s a lot harder to run a country than Trump and his groundlings imagined, that nothing was as simple as they wanted to believe it to be.
But instead of learning this valuable lesson, Truthiness kicked in and people gravitated toward simplistic, insane versions of reality instead. A Brit woman who fancies herself a whistleblower, Louise Mensch, has been busy with her “breaking news” about a sealed indictment issued by FISC against the president, with Marshals dispatched to arrest him. It’s completely bonkers, but that doesn’t stop people from believing. And when it didn’t happen, because it was nuts, nobody seemed to notice or care.
She’s now in the process of “explaining” how impeachment is happening as we speak.
Multiple sources close to the intelligence, justice and law enforcement communities say that the House Judiciary Committee is considering Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States.
Sources further say that the Supreme Court notified Mr. Trump that the formal process of a case of impeachment against him was begun, before he departed the country on Air Force One. The notification was given, as part of the formal process of the matter, in order that Mr. Trump knew he was not able to use his powers of pardon against other suspects in Trump-Russia cases. Sources have confirmed that the Marshal of the Supreme Court spoke to Mr. Trump.
None of this, of course, bears any resemblance to reality. No doubt she hears multiple sources, but only when she’s alone. But who would heed such nonsense?
The way out of governmental paralysis and ineffectiveness will not be through the next group of insane and ignorant groundlings, who remain as truthy as their opponents. What we can take away from this is that the elites failed to produce a viable government, the groundlings didn’t do any better and that neither side has a monopoly on truthiness.
But then, Donald J. Trump, at least for now, is the President of the United States of America, and Louise Mensch has almost 300,000 twitter followers.* Rather than move closer to finding a better way, we, as a people, embraced truthiness.** No one is the wiser.
*As of this writing, I have 8,551, and no blue tick to signify that I am a person of interest.
**P.J. O’Rourke says things are going to get better. He’s unconvincing.