The Chuzzlewit Hour

In our time, this prepossessing era of vanities, this age of clowns and bullies, anti-intellectual, partisan without ideals one is tempted to throw coins down the nearest storm drain and have done with all expectation. I think of the Trump impeachment this way. The Democrats for all their failings cling to ideals and the GOP won’t have any of it. Jeffersonian idealism and a principled belief in the basic tenets of democracy are for chumps. You can see it written on Lindsey Graham’s face.

Trump is to democracy as feces to fudge but his defenders cry impeachment will destroy the legislative branch which is of course what he’s charged with attempting in the first place Have done with expectation, have done. And of course I can’t.

My favorite novel by Charles Dickens is Martin Chuzzlewit where you’ll find this marvelous passage:

“If I was a painter, and was to paint the American Eagle, how should I do it?…I should want to draw it like a Bat, for its short-sightedness; like a Bantam. for its bragging; like a Magpie, for its honesty; like a Peacock, for its vanity; like an Ostrich, for putting its head in the mud, and thinking nobody sees it -‘ …’And like a Phoenix, for its power of springing from the ashes of its faults and vices, and soaring up anew into the sky!”

Can today’s America spring from the ashes of its facts and vices?

This will depend on the staying power of progressive voters and in turn that will depend on their willingness to be disappointed and still turn out to vote again and again. Democrats are not good at the long haul. Republicans are always good at it.

As I watch GOP senators doodling on their note pads while insurrection is displayed for their benefit I’m reminded of another Chuzzlewit passage:

“The weather being hot, he had no cravat, and wore his shirt collar wide open; so that every time he spoke something was seen to twitch and jerk up in his throat, like the little hammers in a harpsichord when the notes are struck. Perhaps it was the Truth feebly endeavouring to leap to his lips. If so, it never reached them.”

Lindsey Graham anyone?

Of the long term and the GOP remember this quote from Chuzzlewit:

“My meaning is, that no man can expect his children to respect what he degrades.”

Democracy does demand something like respect and if it’s not esteem perhaps we can cal it approbation?

And yes what will our children’s children say?

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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