The Trumpster Gambit

Today we have this weird situation where the votes of the “electoral college” are counted – or not – in a joint session of Congress with Vice President Pence presiding and counting, or maybe not counting, maybe someone else does. We don’t know.

Apparently this has all been fertile territory for political conflict before, since Article II, section 1 of the constitution prescribes some fairly detailed procedures for this whole thing, and then that didn’t work out all that well early on (the 1800 presidential election!) and so we got the 12th amendment and if you want to have a read of that go ahead but it hardly seems like it could have improved things and so later the Congress passes the “Electoral Counting Act” and you can go ahead and have a read of that, too.

The point being, that like that last run-on sentence of a paragraph it all gets sort of impenetrable after the tinkering.

We have said many times that we are not big Trump supporters. But now that we’ve lived through four years of Trump detractors on steroids and brandishing virtual megaphones that they have not hesitated to employ virtually constantly, an unrelenting din poisoning not only political discourse in the United States but also any semblance of reason, we can maintain our detached neutrality no longer: Trump’s detractors are clearly worse than Trump.

Despite the word “baseless” being transformed into a mantra, there clearly is evidence of widespread vote tampering in the presidential election just past. There is nothing implausible about that, and indeed as we have pointed out before if it was implausible it would not have been necessary to have Article II, section 1 of the constitution, the 12th amendment and the Electoral Count Act. Those realities do not disappear under the withering and tedious repetition of a mantra.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what this is about: whether we can stamp our feet and mantra and megaphone and bully our way into a reality that is different from the actual reality. We cannot, and no one can. Reality just is.

Now, there are frequently conflicts in which this is a factor. More frequently in post modern world, where nothing is true and nothing is false and will is all that matters because Nietzsche. Again, we’ve been over that.

But people seem to be missing something here that makes this different. Because now we are throwing down the relativist gauntlet at the feet of the president of the United States, clothed in immense power.

There was a “phone call” over the weekend between the president and some officials in the State of Georgia, that have led to a new round of calls for impeachment and prosecution, but in order to beat that drum the nature and particulars of the now infamous phone call have to be grotesquely misrepresented. Not just misrepresented; grotesquely misrepresented. There was one, and only one, significant “revelation” from this phone call: despite two months of wrangling over the legitimacy of the vote in Georgia, the officials on the phone call had still not provided the relevant documents and evidence from Fulton County, where Atlanta is, to the president or his lawyers. This was admitted by the officials in the phone call.

There is one and only one, characterization that can be fairly applied to this: stonewalling, which is itself evidence of wrongdoing and cover up. It does not matter now how many times the Washington Post or the New York Times uses the word “baseless” and, far-fetched though it may seem, there comes a point where their refusal to truthfully report on the matter, coupled with the behavior they have engaged in since the beginning of the Trump presidency, actually puts the term “sedition” in play. About which we will say two things: first, like any law enforcement official the president can forego enforcement, and there are often good reasons for doing so; and second, if he does not forego enforcement we are going to experience one of those historical moments.

Historical moments are interesting and fun and exciting only in retrospect. They are no fun to live through.

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Filed under epistemology, Media incompetence/bias

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