This blog represents the views of the author alone and not the newspaper.
The other night my phone started flashing BREAKING NEWS: “Trump commutes friend, Roger Stone’s sentence.” Ordinarily, news like that would set off a firestorm, like the Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” but it hardly made a dent. It was put on a continuous loop of hourly breaking news but it just became a forum of legal experts telling us what we already knew.
I wasn’t surprised, angry, or disappointed about the commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence because I am beyond that. I’m not an attorney but I thought in order to be eligible to apply for commutation of sentence, a person must have reported to prison to begin serving their sentence and may not be challenging their conviction in the courts. As I said, I am not an attorney nor do I pretend to be one but that’s what I read.
I’m still amused that the media got all excited that the Supreme Court ruled that the president does not have “absolute immunity.” I could have sworn that I learned that in junior high.
This weekend a respected New York Times reporter tweeted “The mask-wearing Trump looks presidential.” What! It’s July 2020, not March 2020. Is she grading this president on a curve?
Just last week the White House press secretary told us the president can read and we were assured by Trump that he can drink water using only one hand and is capable of walking down a ramp. Recently, the president said he aced his cognitive test and the media left it at that. They should have asked “why did he take one and why at Walter Reed? What type of cognitive test did he take and can we have the results in writing?
We haven’t concluded whether the president allowed Russia to get away with paying a bounty to Afghan warriors to kill Americans. We learned what most of us already knew, the president doesn’t read his daily presidential briefs and during that period he pushed for Russia acceptance into the G-7. In a normal world, we would be in a mist of fact-finding congressional hearings but the latest bombshell puts this issue on the backburner, and life in the era of Trump continues.
I actually get it, after the knockdown drag-out fighting in passing the ACA, the country was left in congressional gridlock. Perhaps the people who voted for the outsider Trump, did so to grab Washing D.C by its lapels and vigorously shake the gridlock, pettiness, and corruption out of Congress. I never thought Trump was that person because I have known of him since the 1980s and I watched his immature behavior during the 2016 primaries. Some thought the weight of the presidency would transform him but it only emboldened him to stretch the envelope.
I actually agree with the right’s assertion that riots, looting, and destruction should not be tolerated. I don’t view those issues being driven by party politics. I didn’t like the Bundy ranch incident or the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. All those incidents are the acts of individuals who take advantage of a crisis to pursue their criminal acts or get the spotlight to promote their ideology.
I also agree that it was not good to have protested or attended high-profile televised funerals at the same time condemning the opening of bars, churches and beaches during a pandemic.
There are those who live in a “you are either for me or against me” world. They see everything in a left or right lens with no shades of gray. Since when did Antifa become a wing of the Democratic Party? News to me. Nowadays the left (whatever that entails) is blamed for the so-called “cancel culture” even when the right boycotted Nike, the NFL, and Starbucks.
Today, it seems like the left thinks it’s still unsafe for our children to go back to school right now and the right thinks the opposite. That’s the way it is being portrayed in the news. In a normal world the government would make a decision driven by the science and data then mandate it; letting the chips fall where they may.
I went through the Watergate, Monica Lewinsky scandal, and the Bush v Gore meltdown but it doesn’t hold a candle to what we have seen this year and what’s probably coming down the road. There have been some positive voluntary confederate monument removals, team mascot name changing, and talks of future removals, name changing and some police reforms. I tell myself that is a good sign but then I open my Twitter feed and see the videos of people on the edge yelling obscenities and on the verge of an altercation with pent up feelings that want to get out.
This is not normal.