Late Sept. 2019, phase shift

I spent minutes struggling for a title, here, because I’m not sure how to describe the national situation. “Dam breaking?” That describes how this moment feels, but what if a month from now the dam still seems to be there.

I wrote this in our newsletter for the Lakewood Democratic Club:

Trump pressured a foreign government (Ukraine) to open an unfounded investigation of a political opponent, in return for the release of funds which his administration was holding back. He also tried to block Congress from seeing a related whistleblower complaint.

He got busted, his personal involvement in this attempt to extort foreign election interference is now exposed, and a whole lot of other misconduct is being exposed as well.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced complete support of formal impeachment proceedings.

That’s the bare summary of the past week!

That’s a decent, simplified summary, I think. It leaves out a lot, but it covers the big news which seems to have precipitated a “phase shift,” in which suddenly House Democrats quit being scared, polling had a sudden jump in public support for impeachment, Trump and Republicans are on the defensive, and everything just seems different and that’s the part which seems to defy explanation.

Because what’s different here? What’s new? Lying? Abuse of power? Breaking the law? Getting caught at these things? None of this is new! I have been chronicling this awful era for nearly three years, and these have been features since the beginning.

I genuinely can not come up with any persuasive explanation for why—if this moment is different and things don’t just revert to the mean—this particular story should have such radically different results.

It reminds me of the bizarre public response to the Bush administration, which also still seems to me fundamentally arbitrary. After two years, the electorate endorsed more of the same. After four years, the electorate endorsed more of the same. After six years, kablooey, a historic “thumpin.'” People have offered explanations after the fact, but they don’t make sense.

Nor does this. Oh well.

Politics is a crude, largely irrational, wasteful and messy scrum.

I’m cheekbone-deep in another Lakewood local election, yet again offering a seemingly stark contrast between good government and lying, abusive kleptocracy. Yet I don’t know how it will turn out. All we do in campaigns can add up to such little impact.

Mayoral candidate Sam O’Leary can repeatedly mail out a claim to be endorsed by an organization which absolutely does not exist, and yet seemingly rational adults have determined to rationalize this and stick by that. Have, in some cases, actually been far more angry at me for blowing the whistle on a blatant attempt to fool voters by totally making shit up.

I don’t know what will happen with these elections, or with national politics, and of course in the meantime it looks increasingly like the medium or even near term future will bring the collapse of the global economy, the climate, the food chain, and possibly rules-based civilization and the human race.

At a minimum it looks like not only I will live through disastrous climate change, I will probably do so while still in my forties as the radical perversion of our climate is now running significantly ahead of median forecasts.

I went to San Francisco, by jet, on the main day of a September “climate strike,” which is probably a whole other post, but short version is what should I do with what looks increasingly like no real options to prevent disaster, at any level. Things can change, suddenly, at least that seems to be the case, but it also seems not to happen very reliably in response to any rational cause. I try, anyway. Try and try and try. There is not much R&R in my life these days.

But identifying complete sense in any of the activity which competes for my attention in 2019 is very difficult.

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