Food for Thought

by Eric Hamilton

This current impeachment flap isn’t exactly a big deal.
I’ll bet you thought you’d never hear me say that. The impeachment inquiry into whether or not Donald Trump used his position to leverage Ukraine in an attempt to meddle in the 2020 election—it’s…what do you call it? Fake News. A witch hunt. A total hoax.
Other epithets spring to mind: mountain out of a mole-hill. Tempest in a teapot. (Or was it mountain in a teapot and tempest out of a molehill?—I’ve never quite been certain.)
In fact, the current inquiry may very well be presidential harassment.
Yeah, I’m completely on board with this idea. Why?
Because new standards of behavior have been established.
Can anyone say what is presidential anymore? What is criminal? The idea that a U.S. president might blackmail another head of state over the phone is no longer controversial—and frankly, it isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before.
So Donald Trump was willing to pressure a foreign leader into smearing former Vice President Joe Biden—so what? People who are shocked by this fact are like people who, after watching the first 15 minutes of The Wizard of Oz, turn to the person sitting next to them and say, ‘You know, I think that the Wicked Witch of the West might not be an altogether nice person. And I think that she may have it in for Dorothy, for some reason.’ And the similarities to The Wizard of Oz don’t end there. Rudy Giuliani bears some resemblance to a flying monkey when he goes on cable news, and I’m not certain what would happen to Donald Trump’s hair if a bucket of water were dumped on it.
Most importantly, Donald Trump told us months ago that he was going to do this. He has said in interviews, multiple times, that a foreign power ‘digging up dirt’ on his political opponents would not be election interference; in fact, he has called such meddling by foreign governments ‘opposition research’. Three years ago, during an internationally broadcasted press conference, he asked Russia to ‘dig up dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. And apparently many people did not believe that this was a big deal.
More than two years ago, Trump admitted on live television, during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, that he fired FBI Director Comey to stop him from investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. This was obviously obstruction of justice—a felony—but also apparently ‘not a big deal’. In the years since, Trump has threatened federal witnesses on Twitter (another felony), has been named in court as ‘Individual One’, a participant in a scheme to violate campaign finance laws, and has suggested that aides should ignore eminent domain laws in seizing private property to build his border-wall. Over the past two and a half years, he has committed so many illegal or immoral acts that I simply cannot remember them all, and he has committed most of those acts unashamedly, in full view of the public, often freely admitting to what he has done. And nearly half of the country has thought that none of this was a ‘big deal’.
Oddly enough, all of this reminds me of the Clintons—and how President Clinton’s popularity remained steadfast even in the aftermath of the Monica Lewinski scandal, after it had become obvious that the man had perjured himself.
In my opinion, the Clintons have never come close to stooping as low as Trump; however, there are many similarities. President and Secretary Clinton have always seemed to float through life on a river of unethical behavior, and after a while, many people start to think that their ethical lapses are ‘no big deal’. ‘So President Clinton committed perjury? So what? We should just accept it and move on,’ some people say, and some of those same people might be inclined to say the same thing about Trump.
Such people are like frogs being slowly boiled alive…and presidential corruption is like the heat of the stove. Put the frog in a pot, put the pot on the stove and slowly turn up the heat, so that the frog can get used to it. Kermit just thinks he’s in a hot-tub.
It’s ‘no big deal’ for the frog. Until it IS a big deal.