Well, the circus has arrived in the U.S. capital and the media is all agog at the show! In the Big Tent, sometimes referred to as the White House, announcements about forthcoming performances are being tweeted at a breath-taking rate. Many of them are coming directly from the star clown himself, none other than the orange-complexioned and bewigged Donald Trump! Oh, the excitement.
Of course, like wrestling and magic tricks, the conclusion is foregone, and it is all nothing but smoke and mirrors. But what smoke and mirrors! Imagine this, if you will: an unstable leader of a rich and powerful government who has run amok on the world stage for three years, enriching himself and his family, shattering centuries-old alliances and bringing the world to the brink of World War III, with a supporting cast who sees nothing wrong with any of this.
In another ring, there’s an equally bumbling group points accusing fingers at the main clown. And the clown has surrounded himself with a cast of characters sure to entertain! Rudy Giuliani (think: shadow government); Alan Dershowitz (think: pedophilia and Jeffrey Epstein); Lev Parnas (Trump claims he never met him, but there are multiple photographs and videos showing them together). Oh, where can one buy tickets?
The press corps can think of nothing else to report on (well, almost nothing else; apparently we all need to know what Harry and Meghan are up to now that they are no longer “royals”), as the impeachment show slowly unwinds. Media pundits carefully document each line uttered by this amusing and talented cast.
If ever there was a parade meant to be rained on, this is it. Yes, the impeachment of a U.S. president is newsworthy; it has only happened twice before, and, theoretically at least, accompanies the possibility of the president being removed from office (the potential horrors of a Mike Pence presidency will not be detailed here, but they are many).
But is this all, or even the most important thing, that is happening in the world today? This writer thinks not. Allow me to suggest a few that are worthy of mention by the press.
Domestically the issues include; crime, gun violence, the opioid epidemic, police violence, income inequality, racism, child poverty, homelessness, lack of adequate and affordable healthcare.
Internationally the issues include; the war in Yemen, the Khashoggi murder, Kashmir, unjust and illegal sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and others, tensions with Iran, children in cages at the U.S.-Mexico border and climate change.
None of these issues have been put on hold because the U.S. is going through the farce of an impeachment trial. Children in the U.S. are still hungry and homeless, conditions made worse by the extreme cold of winter. Unarmed minority citizens continue to die at the hands of the police, and mass shootings have not stopped.
The corrupt Saudi government has not been held accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under harsh, U.S.-financed and approved oppression, as do the Kashmiri people. Innocent people suffer horribly due to U.S. sanctions, and they have brought the world to the brink of a major, devastating war.
But let’s ignore all that and focus on the spectacle coming out of the U.S. capital, where a deranged president, who assumed office despite losing the popular vote (did someone say ‘democracy’? Guess not), with no consideration for international law or common decency, faces a trial, the outcome of which is in no doubt.
Consider, if you will, the fact that this is the most powerful nation on the planet. Yes, the country with the highest military expenditures, the most nuclear weapons, the most soldiers, the most foreign bases, the most wars in its history, and all the media can discuss is impeachment.
This writer does not wish to give the impression that he believes any of them will be a savior, but it would still be nice to have some substantive news coverage of the candidates.
One does not need a crystal ball to see how the impeachment trial will end: Trump will be acquitted and will tweet about the “witch hunt.” And if he has felt any constraints on his behavior thus far, they will all fall away, enabling actions that are too frightening to even consider.
This is the United States of America in all its glory. This is the vaunted ‘democracy’ that politicians proclaim is the envy of the world. Heaven help us all.
Robert Fantini is a commentary writer and an author his latest book is “Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy.”