Impeachment’s Next Step: Ignore Oaths and Rule of Law

I will admit that I do not understand a key piece of the current impeachment battle that reached another milestone last night with the House of Representatives’ passage of two articles of impeachment against President Trump. I do understand the House’s action, which is to be followed by a trial in the Senate, as the Constitution requires. And that there is disagreement and high tension to be found in those matters, including squabbles between competing factions and viewpoints.

Messy business all around. Inevitably so.

But here’s what I do not understand: How can the putative jury foreman in that trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with at least one of his most ardent backers, Senator Lindsey Graham, take an oath at the beginning of that trial to serve as impartial jurors, but weeks before that even happens, they offer up the following statements:

McConnell, speaking to Fox News:

“Every...

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Mt. Royal Drive, 1959

MT. ROYAL DRIVE, 1959

The garage door—
atop which my father
placed a basketball hoop,
its backboard sawed, drilled,
painted and hoisted
by his own hands,

Against which
dodgeball epics played out
among siblings and neighbors,

Past which
we dashed in races that
began north of the driveway and
careened to the back fence,

Inside which
I smoked my first cigarette,
nervous as the homing pigeons
who pecked warily in their coop above
(another father-built project born of scrap wood and love).

The basement—
place of hiding & seeking,
caroms & checkers on
idle summer days,
where the parents retreated occasional Sundays,
locking the door with an air of authority that
required no “Do Not Disturb” sign for 8-year-old eyes.
(Two surprise sisters products of those languid afternoons…)

The breakfast nook—
Site of pancake fests and
endless torments by an older sister
artful in the ways of clandestine kicks,
where...

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In Praise of the Darkness

A rather well-known book once began with this rather foreboding line: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.”

A few lines down in that same story, we read:

“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years…”

Much later on in the Book of Matthew, Jesus talks about sinners being flung into the darkness, where there is “wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  That would be down there with the devil, of course, the guy who, in pagan and much early mythology, is associated with ice and cold, even though he presides over the everlasting fires of hell.

Which reminds me of the movie, “The Exorcist.” I saw it again just a few years ago, and I can report that it still scared the bejeezus out of me.

If ...

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On the “Crowded Kindnesses of God”

This is the nut of it, yes? For those of us in the developed world living beyond all previously imagined luxury and comfort (even if we are far below the vaunted “1%”), we pause perhaps out of daily practice and most assuredly on this day that we celebrate in common tomorrow, trying to make room for the “crowded kindnesses of God.” I came across that line yesterday, noodling around for a quote for this blog’s Facebook page pre-Thanksgiving. Its unique expression of abundant blessings struck me as worthy of further reflection.

The quote is from Baptist minister Alexander Maclaren (1825-1905), reputed to be a powerful preacher of his time and denominational leader in his native United Kingdom. The full entry reads:

“Do not let the empty cup be your first teacher of the blessings you had when it was full. Do not let a hard place here and there in the bed destroy your rest...

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An Impeachment Week Lamentation

WOW. I’m tempted to end it there, maybe with a dozen more of them, followed by a few paragraphs of exclamation points as our country, at least those of us watching and absorbing the awful spectacle unfolding in front of our eyes and ears, takes its collective breath and returns, yet again, to the awful question facing us: Can the sordidness and corruption coursing through every vein of Donald Trump’s misbegotten presidency possibly get any worse, and possibly offer any more clear and compelling evidence for why he is so manifestly, perfectly unfit to be the kind of leader we need and deserve?

As clearly devoted and decent as Deputy Secretary George Kent and Ambassador William Taylor showed themselves to be on Wednesday in exposing the multiple ways President Trump has undermined American interests in pursuing Ukrainian assistance in bringing down Joe Biden, it remained for Taylor’s predecessor, the deposed...

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