A Moment of Frank Talk About the State of Our Republic

I am feeling very demoralized at the moment, because everything feels so pointless. I am reading all the reactions to the release of the Nunes Memo and what it means for the country, from the hot takes to serious analysis, and thing that's quite clear is that very few people seem to understand that none of the specifics matter.

If it wasn't the Nunes Memo that Trump and the Republicans used to hasten their seizure of power, it would have been something else. And it will continue, with various indecencies and corruptions of various shapes and sizes, and the specifics won't matter, because the objective is bigger than any of the details.

Consider: If Trump had decided to not release the Nunes Memo, the objective of this entire charade — to further undermine trust in the FBI and the Justice Department, especially among his base — would have been accomplished all the same. They would howl about how Trump was pressured by those very suspect organizations and hounded into keeping "the truth" from the people.

The specifics don't matter.

Oh, you can prove with logic and reason that Trump's position on whatever is garbage? COOL. Except that doesn't matter anymore.

Oh, you can cite the precise law Trump is breaking? COOL. Except that doesn't matter anymore, either.

Oh, Jeff Sessions is doing something an Attorney General who recused himself shouldn't be doing? Congratulations for pointing that out, but IT DOESN'T MATTER ANYMORE because who's gonna stop him?

Which, by the way, is why the Democrats should have just leaked their complementary memo, explaining why the Nunes Memo is mendacious trash, because it's useless to insist on playing by the rules when the rules also don't matter anymore, because your opponent has broken them so many times that most spectators of the game can't even remember what they are or that they ever existed.

We are in a terrible spot right now, and we cannot pretend that there is any discernible way out of it at this point. As I've also said many times before, the real time for resistance was before Election Day in November 2016.

Because now we find ourselves in a situation in which all the solutions to this apocalyptic mess depend on things that don't exist and/or aren't going to happen.

Is the political press going to suddenly become responsible?

Are the Republicans suddenly going to hold Trump accountable? Are they going to suddenly realize that they can't keep prioritizing party over country and change their ways?

Are we really going to have free and fair midterm elections, despite voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money, and Russian meddling? Would we even have a peaceful transfer of power if Democrats won?

How can the erosion of trust in our public institutions be restored?

Are social media executives going to spontaneously start valuing democracy over profits?

How are we going to magically eradicate the misogyny that prevents far too many people from listening to and respecting women who are the most urgent heralds of the perils facing our republic; misogyny so impenetrable that people who have made careers in government and federal law enforcement and political media thought it was fine for Michael Flynn to lead "LOCK HER UP!" chants and for James Comey to insert himself into the election and and and... because they all just saw Hillary Clinton as "that bitch" instead of "our last hope for democracy against the Nazi who Russia wants in the White House"?

Is Trump's entire base going to turn off Fox News and set down their guns?

None of that is going to happen, no less all of it.

Even if there exists some contingent of Republicans in positions of power who might want to do something in defense of the republic, they're probably compromised. They may have started down this road with their power-hungry party not realizing exactly where it would lead, and now they're in too deep. There's no reverse on this car. You don't get to "kinda collude" with Russia. That's an "all in" proposition, folks.

But that's far less relevant than the fact that the Republican Party has been laying the groundwork for this sinister takeover for decades. If there isn't a patriot among the party, it's because they were compromised by their own greed and malice long before they were compromised by Russia.

So here is where we are: We started this week with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe being forced out and Donald Trump unilaterally overruling Congress on Russia sanctions. We are ending the week with the President of the United States having declassified a memo, without even reading it, that was explicitly designed to discredit the institutions tasked with holding him accountable for his contempt for law and possible treason. And there is now a real possibility that Trump will fire and replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, using the Nunes Memo as an excuse.

I don't think it should be controversial to observe that it's incredibly difficult to come back from that. If it's possible at all.

To be clear: I am not giving up or giving in. That is not in my nature. And I have never, ever, hoped more desperately to be wrong than I hope to be about the fate of this nation.

But what I once predicted as our fate to a cacophony of charges that I'm a hysterical alarmist is now clearly, indisputably, one distinctly possible fate.

You don't have to agree that it's the likely outcome to acknowledge that it is eminently possible. Which is terrifying enough.

And I refuse to be silent about that terror. We must speak of it.

We cannot pretend, I will not pretend, that the potential future we're facing doesn't exist.

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