Yesterday the forces of truth met at Washington National Cathedral to say goodbye to John McCain, a patriot who fought his whole life for America, and for truth.
What truth is that, you ask? The truth enshrined in our founding documents: that all men are created equal, that there is worth to every human life, and those lives must be treated with dignity and respect.
America has never been perfect. It says it right there in the Constitution: “a more perfect union.” The founders knew that America could change, that our union can and should be perfected.
That idea survived through civil strife, depression, and two world wars, and each time it came out stronger than ever before—a shining beacon to all the pilgrims from all the lost places, hurtling through the darkness toward home.
As Meghan McCain said in her passionate, eloquent eulogy, “the America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”
That greatness is being threatened once more, by a cabal of con-artists, fraudsters, kleptocrats, fascists, racists, and morons whose only principle is grievance, whose only desire is to watch the world burn and fly a flag over the ashes.
It’s a cabal led by Donald Trump under the influence of Vladimir Putin, supported by the propagandists at Fox News, and given cover by Republicans in Congress whose balls Trump excised as surely as Putin excised Trump’s.
It’s a cabal that must be defeated—in the elections of 2018 and 2020, and in kind acts of empathy between decent human beings.
Lincoln gave his famous address—for my money the greatest speech ever made—on the fields of Gettysburg, at the site of a battle that turned out to be the turning point of a war for which he would be the last casualty.
It’s far more than four score and seven years since then—one hundred and fifty five, to be precise—and today we find ourselves in another civil war. This time there are no cannons, no bayonets, and no amputees. This time it’s a civil war of conscience, and it’s being fought between those who believe in truth, and those who don’t.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
And so, the battle lines are drawn in this latest iteration of the eternal war for truth. It will be much less violent, but much more petty than the battles that came before. It will be fought with tweets, interviews on MSNBC, and articles of impeachment.
Trump must be stopped. He was elected fraudulently, with the assistance of a hostile foreign power. He is a shitstain on the monolith of American democracy, and his Presidency is an abomination. He is the physical manifestation of everything that is bad about the human species. He is the stumbling, wheezing personification of a lie. Perhaps the kindest thing that might be said of him is that he’s generous when paying of the women he fucks—the women he says “remind me of my daughter.”
And he will be. He will be impeached if and when Robert Mueller’s investigation presents incontrovertible evidence of what anyone who’s been paying attention already knows: that Trump is a criminal and a traitor in hock to a foreign government. Failing that he will be mercifully defenestrated in 2020 from an office he never really won in the first place.
In the mean time, and after the dust settles, it is up to us the living to keep our eyes fixed—not on what is seen, but what is unseen: a more perfect union.
Us the Living
September 2, 2018