Well, limbo is not a good place to be. Billy Joy
Prior to the release of Robert Mueller’s Special Prosecutor’s Report, my life felt as if I was on a roller coaster from hell. Up one staggeringly steep incline to the peak and then heart stopping plunge into the abyss. Over and over, day in, day out through the seasons and months of one controversy after another. Look back on this Axios timeline to refresh your memory of how we got to this place of nothingness in just under three years. It’s all there. Every lie, illegal activity, indictment, guilty plea, Mueller’s offers of clemency for dirt on Trump, Trump’s constant denials, and all in head-spinning detail that makes me wonder how we’ve survived this far. I admit, as a news junkie, it was often exhilarating times when it looked like Mueller was going to pull the trigger and send Trump to the Big House for the rest of his life. Yet, nothing happened.
The constant drum beat of Trump’s whiny voice proclaiming “No Collusion”, fake news, and/or “Witch Hunt!” was a bile inducing toxic mix of proportions that had to have our Fore Fathers rolling in their graves. His lies became more and more outlandish. His demeanor more bizarre. His grasp on reality slowly slipping away. His slim base of 31 or 32 percent of all American voters took on an out sized importance as their need to feed the fires of racism, xenophobia, negativism, and bigotry grew with every rally, scandal, and embarrassment at home and on the international stage – which seemed to occur almost daily. The once respected Republican Party has become a laughing stock since January 2017 as members began kowtowing to Trump in fear of his considerable influence over party funds and the primary process that he holds over their heads like the Sword of Damocles.
I am ashamed to admit that I was totally caught up in the frenzy. Not ashamed that I wanted Trump to go down – hardly, but that I lost objectivity to the point all I cared about was Mueller and his hopefully damning expose of the Trump. To a point, I tuned out most everything else. I see now I was like a trout on a fishing line being played by a skilled angler. Most of my acquaintances, and certainly, my close friends were caught in a similar conundrum that basically blinded us to everything else going on around us. We were played by the media, television ratings, and our own need to feed on every evolving crisis and the unbridled hatred of everything Trump represents contrary to the America we love. We were like NASCAR fans watching a race an pulling for our favorite driver, yet hoping in the back of our minds for a spectacular wreck full of fire and exploding cars.
Now, Mueller has issued his report. Barr has submitted his “summary”, and Trump has gone on a nationwide pep rally to proclaim his innocence and exoneration for all wrong doing. It is one of the most bitter political pills I have ever had to swallow. Granted, there will still be a great deal to learn from the Mueller report if Congress and the Democrats can get their hands on an unredacted copy, but all that seems rather hollow now that Mueller has more or less confirmed liberals’ worst fears. There is a hole in my political gut that seems to be widening, and the result is a malaise of proportions similar to what I felt when George W. Bush stole the presidency from Al Gore and Trump beat Clinton.
Of course, I only have myself to blame for being so naive and nonobjective. The media, however, has a big part to play in my condition. We’ve all laughed or made jokes about elderly white people getting all of their news from Fox News. How it warps their brains and allows them to believe things that normally sensible people would never believe. Yet, my addiction to CNN and MSNBC has been no less harmful. We all would like to think that our view of the world is one of enlightened optimism based on facts and truth. What many of us forgot is the corporate structure of the national news which has only one real goal – money. Truth is little more than a corollary to modern thinking based on a need to know basis and facts sometimes not verifiable in the real world. When news outlets allow the prevailing zeitgeist and public emotion to direct their coverage in the pursuit of ratings and advertising dollars, situations like the Mueller report carry a heavy toll for our own understanding and objectivity.
Glenn Greenwald, one of the founding partners of The Intercept, has contended for sometime that the Mueller investigation was simply a cash cow for corporate news, and its resulting reporting was a travesty for reliable news coverage. His point is that while Americans hung on every word or rumor about the Mueller investigation far more important issues were being swept under the rug like judicial appointments, destruction of environmental regulations and on and on. Greenwald wrote,
Just three weeks ago – three weeks ago – former CIA Director and now NBC News analyst John Brennan confidently predicted that Mueller was just weeks if not days away from arresting members “of the Trump family” on charges of conspiring with the Russians as his final act. Just watch the deceitful, propagandistic trash that MSNBC in particular fed to their viewers for two straight years, all while essentially banning any dissenters or skeptics of the narrative they peddled to the great profit of the network and its stars . . .
Earlier in the article, Greenwald lays out the devastating effect that Barr’s summary of the Mueller report had on the American psyche that hoped to see Trump found guilty,
Barr’s summary of the Mueller report: specifically his definitive finding that “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” and that “the report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.” Those two sentences alone permanently destroyed the prevailing Trump/Russia narratives – from blackmail fantasies to collusion tales – that consumed most of U.S. politics and media discourse for much of the last three years. Greenwald
So now, we find ourselves in political limbo. While we wait to see the full report released to Congress and the public, it’s hard not to be skeptical. Trump is acting like his usual self, a half-witted clown, crowing about his pristine image while throwing insults and catcalls at Democrats, the press, and anyone dumb enough to attack his plutocratic self. If anything, his lies have grown more grandiose as he threatens to shut down the border and wreak financial devastation on the economy. His sudden need to strike down Obama Care and replace it with a much better Republican plan, one that has not be fleshed out as of yet, seems “normal” as far as Trump can be called normal. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess. One thing for sure, Robert Mueller gave us little bang for our buck. Instead, for the time being, we wait and count the days when we can look back on this and say it was all a bad dream.