Impeachment as a Distraction

Well, the circus has arrived in the United States capital, and the media is all agog at the show! In the Big Tent, sometimes referred to as the White House, announcements about forthcoming performances are being tweeted at a breath-taking rate. Many of them are coming directly from the star clown himself, none other than the orange-complected and bewigged Donald Trump! Oh, the excitement.

Of course, like wrestling and magic tricks, the conclusion is foregone, and it is all nothing but smoke and mirrors. But what smoke and mirrors! Imagine this, if you will: an unstable leader of a rich and powerful government who has run amok on the world stage for three years, enriching himself and his family, shattering centuries-old alliances and bringing the world to the brink of World War III, with a supporting cast who sees nothing wrong with any of this. In another ring, an equally bumbling group points accusing fingers at the main clown. And the clown has surrounded himself with a cast of characters sure to entertain! Rudy Guiliani (think: shadow government); Alan Dershowitz (think: pedophilia and Jeffrey Epstein); Lev Parnas (Trump claims he never met him, but there are multiple photographs and videos showing them together). Oh, where can one buy tickets?

The press corps can think of nothing else to report on (well, almost nothing else; apparently we all need to know what Harry and Meghan are up to now that they are no longer ‘royals’), as the impeachment show slowly unwinds. Media pundits carefully document each line uttered by this amusing and talented cast. Think Dershowitz, who, when last appearing in the circus (the Clinton impeachment) had the reverse lines of those he is saying today! Or Lindsay Graham, another supporting character, who is also reversing his lines. Oh, the ability to switch roles! Such talent! Both supported Clinton’s impeachment with arguments they are using today to oppose Trumps!

If ever there was a parade meant to be rained on, this is it. Yes, the impeachment of a U.S. president is newsworthy; it has only happened twice before, and, theoretically at least, accompanies the possibility of the president being removed from office (the potential horrors of a Mike Pence presidency will not be detailed here, but they are many). But is this all, or even the most important thing, that is happening in the world today? This writer thinks not. Allow him to suggest a few that are worthy of mention by the press:


+ Crime
+ Gun violence
+ Opioid epidemic
+ Police brutality
+ Income inequality
+ Child poverty
+ Racism
+ Homelessness
+ People without medical care.


+ War in Yemen
+ Khashoggi murder
+ Kashmir
+ Unjust and illegal sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.
+ Tensions with Iran.
+ Caged children at the U.S.- Mexico border
+ Climate change
+ Fires in Australia

None of these issues have been put on hold because the U.S. is going through the farce of an impeachment trial. Children in the U.S. are still hungry and homeless, conditions made worse by the extreme cold of winter. Unarmed minority citizens continue to die at the hands of the police, and mass shootings have not stopped.

The corrupt Saudi government has not been held accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under harsh, U.S.-financed and approved oppression, as do the Kashmiri people. Innocent people suffer horribly due to U.S. sanctions, and U.S actions have brought the world to the brink of a major, devastating war.

But let’s ignore all that and focus on the spectacle coming out of the U.S. capital, where a deranged president, who assumed office despite losing the popular vote (did someone say ‘democracy’? Guess not), with no consideration for international law or common decency, faces a trial the outcome of which is in no doubt. Yes, let’s all hear the words of Republicans who defend actions that clearly violate the U.S. constitution, and those of Democrats who, in righteous indignation (which they demonstrate on cue; like any actor reading a script, the words don’t mean much), accuse Trump of crimes he is actually guilty of. And, of course, let’s all marvel at the bizarre rantings that are almost constantly ‘tweeted’ from the White House to the world.

Consider, if you will, the fact that this is the most powerful nation on the planet. Yes, the country with the highest military expenditures, the most nuclear weapons, the most soldiers, the most foreign bases, the most wars in its history, and all the media can discuss is impeachment.

Add to all this the fact that the Democrats in the U.S. are about to start making official their choice for the nominee for president. In 2016 the fix was in; the Party would break and bend whatever rules were necessary to assure that the corrupt Hillary Clinton was the nominee. We all know how well that turned out. This year, while the Party seems to strongly favor former Vice President Joe Biden, a less-inspiring candidate than which does not exist, there doesn’t as yet appear to be a major effort to sabotage everyone else. Perhaps the media might provide a service by reporting on the candidates’ positions, answers to constituents’ questions, or by discussing how indebted each is to what lobby groups.

(This writer does not wish to give the impression that he believes any of them will be a savior, but it would still be nice to have some substantive news coverage of the candidates).

One does not need a crystal ball to see how the impeachment trial will end: Trump will be acquitted and will tweet about the ‘witch hunt’, the Democratic effort to ‘overturn’ the results of the 2016 election (do he and his cohorts who make this bizarre statement really believe that if he were removed from office, Clinton would become president?), and how loyal patriots prevailed. And if he has felt any constraints on his behavior thus far, they will all fall away, enabling actions that are too frightening to even consider.

This is the United States of America in all its glory. This is the vaunted ‘democracy’ that politicians proclaim is the envy of the world. Heaven help us all.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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