I have listened to most of the impeachment hearings over the last few days. I also purchased a copy of the Mueller report many months ago. What is clear to me is that Republican defenders of Trump seek to parse words, cloud timelines, and sow as much confusion about what Trump did to trigger these impeachment hearings as possible.
At first they complained about the process (which they originally created). They then claimed there was no quid pro quo. They claim that Trump can do what he likes because, as president, he is immune from prosecution. They also claim that because no aid was withheld, there is no crime... no bribery. They argue that because Trump did not directly order anyone to withhold military aid from the Ukrainians or deny them access to him in a meeting that the “presumptions” of everyone involved in carrying out his desires do not legally count as his orders.
Here are the facts:
1. Bribery occurs when a demand is made for action by another in exchange for something of value.
2. Harm occurs (in this case, to the United States) when a bribery occurs.
3. Quid pro quo is merely a constituent part of bribery (consideration of “this” for “that”).
Here is the “smoking gun” that Trump has provided, that the Democrats are basing the impeachment on, and the Republicans are trying to wish away:
Trump: “A would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it... I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like to get to the bottom of it... The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”
The moment that Trump asked Zelensky for the “favor” of investigating his political rival was the moment he abused his power and bribed Zelensky. Trump did not ask for this favor to benefit the United States. He did it to benefit himself. The harm he did to the United States is immeasurable. Our country must be seen as one that allies can rely upon. Our word must be our bond. Our commitment against corruption everywhere must not be questioned. Whether aid was forthcoming or meetings withheld is immaterial to the essential fact that Trump broke the law, abused our trust, violated the oath of his office, and jeopardized our reputation and standing in the world.
The Republicans in the House impeachment hearings know the law. They understand what has happened. They clearly have chosen to attempt to defend the indefensible and smear as many good civil servants as they can to protect Trump. Their actions are disgraceful.
Trump will be impeached... if for no other reason than what he, himself, has provided as evidence. If the Senate does not remove him from office for a crime far worse that ordering a break in of opponent's Watergate offices or lying to Congress about having sex, then we should all understand that the idea we live in a nation of laws is a fantasy. We will then understand that we have lost our democracy and that the Constitution is meaningless... things the Republicans have worked towards for a very long time. We will then need to get used to saying “Heil”.
Came to my house seeking justice for the son who was killed.
I offered a meeting with the woman who ran him over him... and a check.
Came to my country with their small children seeking safety.
I broke the promise that allowed them to dream of a future.
Trust me to protect and serve them and honor their sacred piece of paper.
I constantly betray their trust, lie to them, and seek my own gain.
Were killed protesting against oppression and white supremacy.
I would not condemn good people on both sides of the issue.
Are children terrorized by gunmen walking down the halls of their school.
I met them with a script reminding me to appear sympathetic.
Served their country while transitioning between genders.
I demonized them because I had the power to do so.
Came from the Middle East to visit families and loved ones here.
I turned their airplanes around mid-flight because I hate them.
Cross borders fleeing from poverty, oppression, and gang violence.
I shut the door to my country and erect a wall while cursing them.
Jeopardized their lives for our country, depending on us for support.
I facilitated their massacre because I tired of their plot of sand.
Others love me for:
Keeping their 401s filled,
Speaking their truth,
Giving voice to their hatred and fears,
Being their darker selves,
Mocking art and science,
Being ordained by God to be used
As the imperfect instrument of His will.
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr.
So, I'll tell you what's on my mind... all the people these days who are flying the flag all day and all night as a sign of patriotism and/or solidarity with Trump and his racist policies. Most are upset at professional ball players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the killings of black people by police in this country. They say our flag is being disrespected. If they are so concerned about respecting the flag, why are they disrespecting it themselves?
According to the U.S. Flag code,
• The American flag can be displayed only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open
• The American flag must be properly illuminated during the hours of darkness
• The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed
 U.S. Code Title 36 Chapter 10 § 174. Time and occasions for display
Behold Homo Spiritus:
They stand but do not fight,
They kneel but do not yield,
They speak only after listening.
When asked where they are from,
They say ''Everywhere'' -
When asked what they desire,
They say ''Justice for the Earth and all other living things'' -
When asked about their authority,
They reply ''Love... only Love.''
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr.
The End of God-Talk, An African American Humanist Theology – Anthony B. Pinn
Paraphrasing from one of the storybooks (19) Pinn referred to, and correcting for gender bias: “God is love and they who abide in love abides in God and God in them”. (1 John 4:8,16 ) We human beings are at our magnificent best when we are in love. That state is shared, and from within it, we are connected to other beings through time and space.
As I read Pinn a question began to creep in from the margins: “Where is love in this man's universe?” The word appears five times in the text: twice in relation to King’s “Beloved Community”(46), once quoting Thurman (78) and two times quoting others in the notes and bibliography. Pinn does not write about love from his perspective! No wonder why I needed to take a 7 hour break doing music after reading the first two chapters of “The End”. I was sucked dry by African American nontheistic humanist theology and its “embodied self and the nature and meaning of its occupation of space and time.” (62) The anthropological emphasis on the uncertain ups and downs of life having significance had me screaming for (63) William Jones’ heartfelt warmth, who’s rejection of the little god still held a place for something bigger.[A] His struggle with god is much more satisfying than Pinn’s more poisonous indifference.
By Chapter 6, Pinn goes some way to redeem his bleakness with the notion of celebration and ritualization to achieve “complex subjectivity”. I resonated with his approval of the UUA as a good p(l)ace for humanist leaning people of color like me. I do not feel that I need to “surrender” my embodied self in the UUA. (141) In fact, I wish to assist other people of color to jump into the UUA pool. The water can be warmed.
I offer another perspective rather than Pinn’s discussion of humanist writers. Instead of asking questions about what constitutes sacred space and the structuring of “religious thought and engagement” (with “... and”), I believe the more important question is “What do we humans love?”
Yo-Yo Ma played the Bach Unaccompanied Suites for thousands of people at the Mexico/United States border the day before fire broke the back of the Notre Dam cathedral in Paris. Ma managed to unite millions of people over a very human issue with music written by a composer who died 269 years ago and who wrote “Soli Deo Gloria” at the bottom of all of his manuscripts.
Ma was in love while he was playing the cello for people at the border (he always is). We cellists like to say that God plays the cello through Ma. As a professional cellist and composer I am “embodied” in the forms and shapes of music. Like a physicist seeking elementary particles only to find traces of God smiling back, composers dance in the same stream that is propelled by love. The composer in me can tell with certainty what Debussy had for breakfast the morning he composed a piece of music because I am connected in time to him through the choices he made using the same rules that govern the twelve notes he had to work with. Community created through orchestras, and the composers who write music for them, is one of the most powerful expressions of the “magnificence” I write about.
The community of musicians is vast over space and time. It is driven by the love of encapsulating moments that can be communicated through human bodies in motion. I compose music for the people who will voyage to the stars. I like to think they will be listening to my music 300 years from now. They will know that I am in love with them, and that some version of God is encoded into our shared experience... Pinn notwithstanding.
[A] Is God a White Racist: A Preamble to Black Theology - William Jones
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!