Congress Rising

I didn’t watch the Trial of Trump much. I had already watched over 35 hours of Congressional Hearings and I knew the case for impeachment like the back of my hand. The Republican Senate had already shut down any possibility for more documents or witnesses, so nothing new was likely to arise.

Still, those 35 hours plus the little I caught of the Trial, both live and recorded, have convinced me that it is time that we paid much, much more attention to our Congress. We did so in 2018, and were rewarded with a House of Representatives for the history books. From Nancy Pelosi on down through her caucus, we turned out in droves and elected a Democratic House that was, indeed, working for the people who elected them. I’m almost certain they will all be returned in 2020.

What we need now is a Senate that is worthy of them.

I fear that lately, until 2018 at least, Congress has become an also-ran. This President operates on the assumption that Article I is no longer of any importance at all. It might even be that, until 2018, we helped to give him that impression. That is, we all, both parties, seem to look for leaders in the shape of the One and not the Many. The One does, indeed, embody our hopes and fears in a way that the Many cannot, but it is the Many who actually enact the will of us all.

This was the year that Congress, the House that represents the Many, asserted itself in a way we have not seen for too long a time. But the Senate has lost half of its soul. What else do you say about those who follow the Grim Reaper?

I caught a bit of the Republican Senators’ responses to the House prosecution, and their statements were … well, how can I put it? I wish they had the sense that god gave a flea. Senator Joni Ernst put it something like this: President Trump has done more for Ukraine than the previous administration (you know whose) did, and therefore … was entirely justified (after learning that Joe Biden was ahead of him in the national polls) in withholding aid for several months .

I would watch the defense that began today if I thought there was the chance of a snowball in hell (this is an administration where all the old clichés have come to life again) of hearing a reasoned response to Schiff and Co. But there isn’t a hope in hell of that. Not with the stream of mean-spirited and non-pertinent trailers that dribbled from Senators and legal counsel alike last night. Sorry. Was that mean-spirited?

Meanwhile, a Presidential primary race is going on all across the country, state by state, to decide which of these worthy contenders – and they are all worthy in comparison to the incumbent – will be handed the thankless job of cleanup he or she will be saddled with – and it’s going to take more than a bottle of Clorox. Fixing what has been broken is almost more than anyone can take on, not to mention sponsoring the legislation we all know that we need and want.

This morning, Michelle Goldberg could have been channeling me when she wrote her NYT column The Darkness Where the Future Should Be. “At some point in the last few years, a feeling has set in that the future is being foreclosed.”

So here’s what I propose we do.

Let's follow our star candidates through the primaries and vote one of them into the White House. But let us rally around our Congressional candidates like never before, slather our cars with Senatorial bumper stickers, and plant forests of yard signs. Let’s go all out for Congress. Let’s thank and re-elect our champion Democratic House, and turn the Senate blue as a morning in June. You know. That one great morning. The one that promises so very much for the day ahead.These are the people who will carry us forward. These are the people who can be the light against the darkness.