“He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?” — John Lennon
There are moments in my life I’d like to have back. Like most of us, they usually involve things we wish we had done or said but didn’t. Sometimes it was just about being too timid to share my feelings with someone I liked or have the courage to take a chance on something that might have been fun or otherwise fulfilling.
It is only with the wisdom of time that we can look back on these moments and put them in their proper context. Whatever force you may believe in (be it God, fate, or coincidence) usually has a way of sorting these things out. Girls I liked in school that didn’t like me back or that never knew I liked them usually turned out to be wrong for me anyway. Those fun activities may have gotten me into trouble had I said yes. I’m sure all of you have similar experiences you can chalk up to life experience.
Sometimes, you have regrets for the things you had done. It may have been a foolish thing you did as a kid that could have gotten you arrested or in serious trouble in a different time or place. Sometimes we have hurt the people we love with something we’ve said or done. However, the one I’m currently thinking of is a lot more recent than that.
Yesterday, I posted a piece about how we will have to find a way to forgive Donald Trump someday. I always stand by everything I say here. However, given recent events, the timing of the piece just wasn’t right. I probably should have known. Even if I hadn’t heard about the phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State, I should have known something would happen to render that opinion as ludicrous.
Forgiveness will happen and should happen, but it cannot happen until the act is over. During the act, you have to either cover up to fend off the evil forces or stand up and fight. Either way, there really is no time to reflect. Every time it feels like there will be a respite, something else happens to remind you that we are in the middle of a crisis.
Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” may have been his best work. Ed Harris played E. Howard Hunt who was involved in the Watergate scandal. He told John Dean in the movie that Richard Nixon was “the darkness reaching out for the darkness.” Who knows whether that actually happened. Creative license is powerful even in so-called biographies. Yet, it was a powerful line in a powerful movie.
In the midst of calls of four dimensional chess we get news stories like these. We see the sitting president not even holding onto vague and specious claims of fraud. Those pretenses are gone. He is simply asking another government official to just overturn an election just because. Keep in mind the Electoral college has already voted and the state’s results have already been certified. I’m not even sure what the legal machinations would be.
As Keith Olbermann pointed out on Twitter, the audio is much clearer on the president’s end. So, that means the call was likely recorded in the White House. So, either the president released it himself or someone close to the president that was privy to the call released it. This isn’t fake news. It’s the Ukraine call all over again but worse. Their own version of the facts has him guilty of any number of federal crimes.
Criminal justice is obviously a debate we will continue to have in our country. How should we police our communities? What should be a crime and what shouldn’t? How long should criminals be in prison for? What should the ultimate goal of incarceration be? These are all questions that cut to the very core of who we are as people. Are we primarily interested in protecting good people from bad people? Are we primarily interested in punishing people and making sure they suffer for making us suffer? Are we primarily interested in helping people become the very best people they possibly could be?
These are all questions that swim around my head when I think about Donald Trump. We need to be protected from him, but what does that even look like? It could just be duct tape over his mouth and broken thumbs so he can’t tweet. A life sentence or worse might be simply allowing our anger to take over. Certainly, a majority of Americans would like to see him punished for putting us through hell.
I’m not sure there is a best version of Trump at this point. Sometimes with criminals there isn’t a best version. Perhaps there is just a time when they are no longer dangerous to the community. Evil is often easier to understand when there is a goal behind it. Attention isn’t an end but a means to an end. With Trump that might not be true. Maybe attention is the end. You usually want to make a public spectacle of a fiend that has terrorized the community. He needs to public spectacle. He just needs to go away and never be heard from again. It could be in a jail cell or a mega-mansion. Either way, it needs to happen sooner rather than later.