Monday, November 6, 2017


Because Americans are a naturally optimistic people, a surprising number of us believe that the current President will soon be impeached and booted out of office in abject disgrace. Cheerful hopes, in other words, spring eternal.

However, it’s also true that more Americans believe Elvis did not take drugs than believe he did, and more believe he’s alive than believe he’s dead. To make the point, this is the land that invented the Wizard of Oz as well as professional wrestling, which everyone knows is theater but still, is it? Is it really? Every good American knows he's only a lottery ticket or new invention away from a gross amount of wealth, and most can tell you in detail how JFK’s death was part of a conspiracy.

But there comes a time when we all must face certain truths and here are two. One: as God is my witness, I’m telling you that Oswald acted alone. Two: the Mueller investigation into Donald Trump and his Russian masters is going to achieve absolutely nothing.

Not nothing in terms of yield. On that score, the Mueller investigation is going to reveal quite a bit. Already, we have been given enough to gasp in shock that a greasy toad like Paul Manafort spent something like a million dollars on a rug that didn't even fly, or managed to spend an equivalent amount on clothing in a troublingly short period of time. This is good stuff, and more is surely to come from Mr. Mueller and his team, whether on Manafort or Papadopoulos or Mike Flynn or even the Wizard himself, but in the end it will amount to sound and fury achieving nothing -- meaning that it will have no significant impact upon the central ugly truth of American life right now. The ugly truth is that the entire political structure as a functioning engine has utterly failed and that a piece of human garbage now occupies the Oval Office.

The reason the Mueller probe won’t be able to address this problem isn’t just that the Republicans, should they still control both houses of Congress once the very worst that Mueller has stuck in his throat is coughed up onto the national carpet, must continue to sell their souls to the devil as long as he still holds the support of more than 80% of the Republican voters, which they will; nor is it because the Democrats seem unable to find the light switch as any kind of Loyal Opposition, although this is also true. The reason is more concerning and deep-rooted, and therefore self-condemning.

Trump won’t be impeached because we don’t really want to impeach him. Not in our darkest hearts. Because – left or right, Dem or GOP – we all believe he’s entertaining. He gives us something to rail against, to cheer, to despise, and to rally the troops. But most of all, he feeds a nation that chose entertainment over thinking a long long time ago. And we’ve only become more addicted to the crack pipe over time, which is why today more Americans can tell you who Kanye West is married to than can tell you who the Vice-President of the United States is.   It's also why most high school kids have no idea who or what the original thirteen colonies were.

This is a degenerative slide. In 1980, Ronald Reagan seemed to be the ultimate pitchman-turned-politician, an easy joke, except that when placed beside Trump, Reagan now comes off as the reincarnation of John Quincy Adams. And after Trump it will be… who?

Well, next time, perhaps, we will take the final plunge and vote for someone who isn’t even a person at all – Ronald McDonald, or Frank Underwood, or an emoji. This strikes me as the obvious next step for a country that just refuses to read. And vote what you’ve heard of, not what you know.

Let me be clear: this isn’t just a jibe at the great unwashed who can’t spell “cat.” I’ve read Hillbilly Elegy so I know those folks are the salt of the earth. This is an attack on those baffled souls as well as the educated idealists who figure they can sit back and let Mueller deliver them from evil. The problem is that the Mueller investigation is a game show, a magician’s distraction that serves all political stripes. Whatever he does serve up in the end—even if it’s Trump colluding with Putin to become his own Manchurian Candidate, or Russian hackers literally erasing votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania – actually pales against a much bigger story.

Here’s that story:

21% of all children in the United States live below the poverty line.

African-Americans make up 13% of the general population but 37% of the prison population.

Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

Now, who wants to hear about that?

The answer is no one. So, bring on Mueller. Bring on Trump’s tweeting indignation. Bring on the dancing bears. After all, it’s a country that believes Elvis is still alive.



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