I Gain a Little More Self-Awareness, Dammit

One of the few musical comedies I like is 1776. I like the songs, the message, and the acting. I saw it soon after it came out and fell in love with its depiction of the terribly difficult decisions the members of the Continental Congress had to make.

One of the characters who stood out most to me symbolized the tension intrinsic to in representing others. The character was Dr. Lyman Hall, who represented the Georgia colony.

I thought of 1776’s characterization of Dr. Lyman Hall as I listened to Mitt Romney’s speech the other day saying he felt he had to follow his conscience and his faith and not vote with “the team.”

The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Yes, he did…The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the president did was wrong, grievously wrong.
(Mitt Romney )

Romney saw his choice as voting his conscience, and taking the consequences, OR voting with his party and taking the consequences of voting against his beliefs and the oath he had taken to uphold the constitution. On Twitter later that day I read, “Think of what Romney has sacrificed.”

I thought, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36 seems to have been the foundation of Romney’s internal crisis and external decision. In my opinion Romney didn’t sacrifice much of real value.

In 1776, Dr. Hall’s dilemma was similar but perhaps weightier. He believed the colonies should declare independence from England. His colony — Georgia — did not. He was torn about his duty — was it to bring the desires of his colony to Philadelphia and vote in concert with them or vote his own conscience?

That is THE question.

I’ve learned a lot through this whole nightmare. One of the things I’ve learned is that I am pretty naive and idealistic. I didn’t know that party allegiance is expected over allegiance to right. How in the world can anything good happen when that is the cynical mode of operations in our government? I was shocked that — given the fact that Trump admitted to committing the crime of inviting a foreign power to interfere in our election and using aid already earmarked by the Congress (the people, me) for that power’s defense to bribe them — ANYONE voted to acquit him.

I guess we rely on other people to do their jobs as we undertake to do our jobs. Assuming integrity in others seems a lot more comfortable than assuming they’re all crooks and liars, so I’m going to stick with that. What I’m most concerned about now is the upcoming election — I don’t see anyone in the Democrat’s field of candidates who can beat Trump’s powerful and sinister disinformation machine.


23 thoughts on “I Gain a Little More Self-Awareness, Dammit

  1. Were you really shocked? Or just appalled? An interesting sidelight: while Romney was delivering his speech, explaining that he took his oath before God seriously and had to vote for conviction (though I don’t understand how he could vote to acquit for obstruction of Congress), I went to his official Senate webpage to compose a letter thanking him and admiring his courage. I clicked “send”. Nothing happened for minutes and then a screen popped up explaining that the Senate website was down for maintenance – in the middle of the afternoon, on a workday when the impeachment vote was about to begin. Coincidence?

    • No, I was really shocked. I was appalled by the illogical explanations some senators gave for their “yes” vote. I imagine in the future I won’t be shocked; I’ll be appalled or maybe I’ve jumped from naive to jaded. I don’t think I’d make too much of the senate website being down “for maintenance.” I bet it was being choked with messages. I’m also a little shocked that I maintained my innocence this long. 😦

  2. As an outsider who is watching from the UK, I would say it was bizarre. But having just experienced Brexit, and out Prime minister following Trumpian misinformation tips and tricks, I despair for democracy and wonder if the pendulum will be allowed to swing back the other way.

  3. The only reason the law — any law — works is because people essentially believe it is the right way to behave. If everyone stopped believing in the value of the law and along with it, honor, honesty, and justice — no police force on earth could enforce it. All governments assume that citizens are mostly decent and reasonable people.

    I was sure that somewhere along the line, at least a portion of the red party would feel a call of conscience. It’s appalling that it’s not what happened.

  4. I think that what Romney MAY have lost is the right to represent his State after his current term expires — but he’s 73, and may have ultimately decided not to run again anyway, making that loss a moot point. He delivered a more eloquent speech than I remember from his earlier years, and made the correct decision that so many others simply glossed over with lies and excuses! More power to him!

  5. I am worried for you all too. I don’t see a standout Democrat candidate who will engage the public’s imagination and time is running out. Unfortunately, the election is basically a popularity competition, it’s the same here, and Trump is like one of those reality show stars that everyone tunes in to watch even if they think they are appalling. Come to think of it that is exactly what he always was. So many people vote on that basis, never mind policies or even who seems to be a decent human being. I’m not shocked anymore. Not after Australians elected the same government twice more after the things they did in their first term and continue to do to this day. I am just disappointed in us.

    • You’re right. I have never had any positive opinion of Donald Trump or his family, not since the very beginning, the 70s. He just struck me as a sleaze bag and a phony. I have yet to understand how anyone would be attracted to that except that they’re entertained. There are some good candidates. I’m watching the debate now and I’m impressed. A lot depends on how they hold their shit together on a stage with Trump.

  6. I see my job as voting for the candidate running against the current President. I applaud Sen. Romney for growing a pair. Just wish others had followed suit. Then again when a fox squirrel invades territory of red or grey squirrels the first thing it does is emasculate all of them! Trump has managed that task quite easily…

    I almost deleted this but decided to let it stand. Took too long to type on the phone!

    • Like you, Val, I seldom express my political thoughts here — but I am applauding Sen. Romney for his stance and his eloquence in expressing it! Love the comparison of Trump to the squirrel — two top people gone today, and more to come. Our job is definitely to vote for the candidate running against him!

    • I see my job the same, but then once that Trump is defeated someone has to lead. I love Amy, but I think Biden is the most prepared. But I’ll vote for any one who runs against Trump and pray the election isn’t completely corrupted.

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