The Elephant Not In The Room (Some thoughts on the Impeachment Inquiries)

I have to warn you that this post may be a bit jumbled to read, as I’ve revised it many times. In all honesty it’s probably small chunks of several different posts smashed together.

But I think I ought to at least try to get something down. After all, if Rep. Jim Jordan talks any faster, he might explode. And then it might be considered distasteful to remind you that Jordan may have enabled disgraced Dr. Strauss to sexually abuse students at Ohio State University. Think about that the next time he turns up on TV pretending to be Mr. Law and Order.

I keep trying to get this post “right,” but I’ve realized that’s pointless. Yes, other weird shit will have happened by the time I have it up, but these inquiries represent some particularly important weird shit.

And I’m guessing that not all of you have an extra 25 hours or so to watch or listen to them in their entirety, so I ought to give a little insight just in case. 

And to be clear, the absolute last thing I want is for you to beat on yourself if you haven’t “kept up” with the news. It is literally impossible to keep up with all news that is published, even when it doesn’t relate to a President who lies about everything from crowd sizes to policy. 

You might not even realize it, but you’re kind of exhausted, aren’t you? I know I am.

Consuming news, even at the best of times, can be very tiring. It is essential (not optional!) to take breaks, and practice basic self care. For me, it’s a hot cup of green tea and a book. Or maybe a walk, or some video games. Or consuming media that has little or nothing to do with current events. What is it for you? Don’t tell me, just make sure you’re doing it when you need to. 

So on to the “meat” of this post, and the one particular exchange I’d like to mention. It’s already been highlighted by better writers than I, but I don’t want the significance to slip anyone’s attention. I am referring to an exchange between Rep. Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Jordan (R-OH). Watch it now, if you haven’t already.

In his lament about the absence of the original Whistleblower, Rep. Jordan neglects to mention the death threats against this individual and their lawyer. Instead, he characterizes the Whistleblower at the one who “started” it all. Rep. Welch calmly reminds Rep. Jordan that the one who “started it all” is President Trump. He continued on to say that “President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there.” And he gestured to where the witnesses had been testifying.

This was a brilliant reply. Not just because it got a laugh (and was therefore more memorable and memeable) but because it cleanly cut through the gas lighting that has been clouding this whole thing.

Trump DID start all of this. He COULD testify and speed things up. But just as with the Mueller investigation, he is hiding behind his lawyers and his cult.

Probably because he has no other option at this point. 

The elephant in the room (or NOT in the room, see what I did there??) Is that Donald Trump refuses to testify. His refusal is the very reason that we are hearing from “secondhand” witnesses. When his fan club asks us to disregard this, they are asking us to ignore the most basic evidence of our eyes and ears. 

Of course, the fact that Trump fans have difficulty accepting reality isn’t exactly groundbreaking blogging on my part, so what now?

Now comes the part where I give you, dear reader, a couple of pointers on what you might do about this. That’s right, HOMEWORK. 

Here at Sing Into The Void, I don’t just describe the toxic diarrhea hellfire nightmare that is this administration- I also like to remind my readers that there are things we can do to help our political systems function more fairly, as well as things we can do outside of established political systems to help our communities. 

Resist Apathy

There are no shortage of people who will tell you that it’s all a sham- that elections are all rigged and politicians are all bought and paid for, and that people who vote are suckers.

This view is attractive because it has a few kernels of truth to it. Yes, bribery is common. Gerrymandering is a thing. There’s all kinds of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we might never hear about.

However, this view is ALSO attractive because it absolves we citizens of any real responsibility. If everything is rigged, why vote? Or read up on current events?

Or really do anything at all? Just sling some memes about how all politicians are corrupt, and then pat yourself on the back for being so enlightened.

I voted for Clinton in 2016. I lived in Georgia at the time, and had to use one of those sketchy ass voting machines. In spite of my observing all local laws and changing my voter registration, I later learned from a non profit that my vote was not counted. There could be in innocent reason, but in light of Georgia having not the greatest track record with election security, there is a very real possibility that my vote was illegally purged. 

Does that mean I’m never going to vote again? Absolutely fucking not.

Because if there is even a possibility that my vote will help, I have an obligation. All of us do. If our votes are gonna get tampered with, let’s at least make it hard for em, yeah?

Make a habit of calling your reps

And no, emailing isn’t the same thing. An email can be pretty easily ignored, but a call has to be answered. There are numerous sites where you can look up the numbers for your reps if you’re not sure. Common Cause is an organization that has a pretty handy tool for this, as well as some useful information for those who are unfamiliar with politics. 

So get the numbers. Put them in your phone. If you have severe anxiety, call after hours and leave a message. Or write a physical letter to the office. 

If your reps have been supportive of the inquiry, then thank them. Chances are they’ve received at least a handful of callers accusing them of being part of the “deep state,” or lizard people pedophiles, or robots, or whatever.

If your reps have been defending Trump, CALL THEM ANYWAY. Even the greediest, most unscrupulous politicians will sometimes change their mind about something if they think they might not get re-elected. After all, they gotta get that cash (and that sweet government healthcare!) 

So call. And tell your friends to do it too.

Consider making a good old fashioned sign, and putting it on your lawn or in your window

Depending on where you live, you may have even seen a few people doing this already. It’s simple, yet weirdly effective. Seeing a “meme” in the real world can grab our attention, and as long as you can safely do so, it’s a cheap and easy tactic. 

You can simply write “Impeach” in large letters, or get creative and do something more with it. Just make sure the message is clear.

I do want you to be safe. You might not want to do this if any klan, proud boys, or other collective man-baby tantrum groups have been active in your area. But it can be a fun activity if it’s right for you. 

Donate if you have the means

Yes, money in politics is gross. Unfortunately, campaigns with no funding at all tend to sink pretty quickly, as Americans are accustomed to spectacle.

If you make decent money and are comfortable donating to a candidate who is running against Trump or one of his enablers in the house or senate, this is a good thing to do on behalf of those that can’t.

If you’d like to donate, but don’t have a lot of money, consider donating to a smaller, more specific regional branch of a given campaign. This way your money goes further. 

If you have little or no money (or don’t feel comfortable donating to politicians or their campaigns) you might consider volunteering. 

Participate in protests when possible

It’s become fashionable to lament that Americans are too lazy to protest the Trump administration, but this isn’t quite true. The Kremlin Annex, for example, has been going on in DC ever since the Helsinki summit.  

The topic of the protest deserves a post of its own, but I’ve gone on too long already so I’m going to compromise and give you a few pointers if you are participating in a march or protest:

  • Stay on Message (do not be the dude at a Black Lives Matter Protest with a sign about how much you love weed).
  • Be careful about how you talk to media, or just avoid them altogether (Media coverage of protests can be wildly unpredictable, and sometimes flat out dishonest- don’t give them anything that can be used against you or the cause).
  • Dress comfortably for walking (or running).
  • If you’re going to protest without a permit, be prepared to be fined or arrested. Do not expect the police to be kind. 
  • If you’re going to use social media, be sure to make it about the cause and not about you.

I could go on (and some day I probably will) but I hope that gives you an idea.

Be a good citizen (even not during election season)

While it’s safe to say that Trump is a symptom rather than the disease itself, this administration has nonetheless been disorienting and sickening for many Americans. But we don’t need to wait until after impeachment/ 2020 elections/ violent retail worker uprising to remind ourselves of what’s important.

We can still pick up trash in parks. We can still donate (with money or volunteer time) to local food pantries and animal shelters. We can still purchase local street papers and read them. We can still plant gardens and trees.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew, of course. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, maybe pick one or two areas that are important to you. And don’t forget that self care, either.

Because while resisting Trump is a fine goal, let’s not forget why we’re doing it. 

I’m doing it because I want real action on climate change, as well as a better quality of life for everyone (in a nutshell, anyway). 

What kind of world do you want?

Don’t tell me. Just think about it. And then help make it happen.

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