by Jerilyn Bowen
In his bafflement over the role of language in human knowing, twentieth century analytic philosopher Wittgenstein finally concluded that language is a game in which the rules evolve over time through usage practices. As we watch the impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives with bated breath, we are witness to a battle between those who adhere to linguistic rules based on conveying a truth that accords with objective evidence and those who violate those rules by weaponizing language into a means of psychological manipulation and deception. In a culture where we are saturated with advertising designed to do the latter, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the longstanding rules of our major means of human communication have been eroded to such an extent that the more unscrupulous among us seize upon an anything-goes approach to public discourse in pursuit of both power and profit.
Under the principled leadership of Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee is interviewing highly credible witnesses who one after the other testify to the nefarious corrupt scheme Trump and his enablers have been up to in the Ukraine. Lacking any real grounds for countering this undeniable and damning evidence, the disloyal opposition who seek to protect Trump by any means necessary resort to a congeries of aggressive strategies designed among other things to call into question the impeachment inquiry itself. They variously characterize it as unconstitutional, a mere partisan power grab, an attempt to undo the 2016 election results, a coup, an inquisition, a farce, a kangaroo court, and so on. Ranking Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes goes so far as to refer to “the Russian hoax,” playing into the Trump/Putin narrative that denies Russian interference in our 2016 election while promoting a debunked conspiracy theory that it was, outlandishly, Ukraine that interfered, to Trump’s detriment on behalf of Clinton.
In casting their aspersions, the foaming-at-mouth Republican attack dogs conveniently forget the ways in which Trump, his family, and his allies have flagrantly profited from his presidency, betrayed the public trust, and undermined our democratic institutions in ways so numerous, it’s difficult to keep track. Ignoring all that, their strategy is to cast Trump as a victim of Democratic skullduggery. How dare the underhanded self-serving Democrats drag this poor innocent man through the mud? The president’s Grifter Guard seek to muddy the moral waters enough to distract from the mounting evidence that their beleaguered hero engaged in multiple high crimes and misdemeanors, not only in his Ukraine bribery/extortion scheme but in other ways as well, including obstruction of justice from the very outset of his tenure in the White House. They care nothing for truth or justice or democracy itself. It’s clear they aim only to score a win for their illustrious champion, at any cost to the common good.
Another clever crazy-making ploy by Trump surrogates is to accuse the House investigation of revealing merely circumstantial evidence at the very same time that Trump’s team is doing everything in its power to prevent first hand players from testifying. This team of obstructers notably includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, the highest law enforcement officer in the land. (As an aside, it should be noted that, inasmuch as many if not most crimes don’t have eyewitnesses, judges necessarily consider circumstantial evidence to be as weighty as first hand accounts.)
The Trump stormtroopers also contrive to disconnect from its source the Putin-originated “server” conspiracy theory designed to benefit Russia’s interests by implicating its enemy Ukraine in U.S. election interference, a move that is part of Putin’s overall objective of undermining NATO so as to augment Russian influence in the region. Let us not forget that, though the Cold War is thankfully behind us, when we speak of Russia we’re now talking about a kleptocratic authoritarian state in which honest journalists and Putin’s adversaries regularly suffer imprisonment and worse, including not infrequent horrific deaths by poison and other means.
So it goes in the battle over what is true and what is not, which by-the-by entails what is honorable and what is not, what is just and what is not. The Republican transactional charade would be laughable if it weren’t so effective with about forty percent of our citizenry, the Ever-and-Always Trumpers who’d pronounce him innocent if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue at high noon. What kind of country can we have when there’s no longer any shared standard of truth and lawfulness? Not to mention sheer human decency. How did it come to this?
That’s a question we’ll no doubt have to face down the line. For now, let us hope that justice does prevail in the House impeachment inquiry. And do everything we can to support that outcome.
Toward that end, do consider letting our NM Congressional delegation know where you stand and what you’re looking to them to do, with thanks when they speak up and commit to taking leadership in bringing the president to justice. Along with that, enjoin them to show their constituents what is at stake by connecting the dots and framing the issue in its biggest, most revealing terms.
And do let key House Committee leaders like Adam Schiff know of your support in their efforts to uphold the Constitution by calling the Trump cartel to account.
~ ~ ~
New Mexico Congressional Delegation
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Debra Haaland, District 1
202/224-3121, DC Office
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, District 2
202/225-2365, DC Office
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, District 3
202/225-6190, DC Office
Washington, DC 20510
Sen. Tom Udall
202/224-6621, DC Office
Sen. Martin Heinrich
202/224-5521, DC Office
Key House Committees re Impeachment
Rep. Adam Schiff, Chair
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
202/225-7690, Committee Office
202/215-4176, Rep. DC Office
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chair
Committee on the Judiciary
202/225-3951, Committee Office
202/225-5635, Rep. DC Office
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Acting Chair
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
202/225-5051, Committee Office
202/225-7954, Rep. DC Office
Rep. Richard Neal, Chair
Committee on Ways and Means
202/225-3625, Committee Office
202/225-5601, Rep. DC Office