‘Where’s my Roy Cohn?’ | Winslow Myers

At one point when he felt under siege by possible indictments and impeachable offenses, the president whined petulantly, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”

The question became the title of a documentary on Cohn’s life and career that made one feel after viewing like taking a long hot shower. Cohn blithely represented a number of high-ranking organized crime capos — as well as the president of course (in his younger day; Cohn died in 1986). His reputation for ruthlessness was surpassed only by his reputation for hypocrisy as a closeted gay man who, when he worked for Senator McCarthy, had no problem trashing the reputation of other gay men.

Now the president has found his Roy Cohn — in Lamar Alexander, Lisa Murkowski, and all the other Republicans in the Senate who voted to end the first ever impeachment trial that subpoenaed no witnesses and requested no documents.

As e.e.cummings once wrote:

“A politician is an ass upon

Which everyone has sat — except a man.”

Women, too — here’s looking at you, Lisa.

But politicians do not have to be sat-upon asses devoid of principles. I don’t know about you, but in the heroic eloquence and poise of Adam Schiff, I saw something presidential. Maybe not this cycle, but down the road.

It was hard to choose the most outrageous aspect of this Moscow-like show trial — McConnell’s brazen partisanship even though he swore himself to impartiality; Dershowitz’s cockamamie “arguments” that came right back down to Nixon’s “if the president does it, it’s not illegal”; the general weakness of the defense’s rationalizations of the president’s behavior; the abject, feckless refusal to interview Bolton; or the fact that the president’s lawyer, Mr. Cipollone, continued to defend the president even as it emerged that Cipollone was in at least one meeting that made him a direct witness of the president’s perfidy.

Polls suggest that 75 percent of Americans wanted witnesses. That statistic, given myriad other evidence that the polarization around Trump is more like 50-50, is arresting. It suggests something hopeful about the body politic: that, unlike the Republic senators, even for Trump supporters, basic fairness trumps mindless cultism.

Jill Lepore, in an excellent article in this week’s New Yorker, writes “Nothing so sharpens one’s appreciation for democracy as bearing witness to its demolition.” The empty spectacle of the impeachment trial has the potential to activate a lot of citizens to go to work and show cynics like McConnell the door.

OK, on to the ballot box. At least they can’t take that away from us … can they?????

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative, and is a member of Rotary. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not represent official Rotary policy.

More in Opinion

Three big reasons why Joe Biden continues to trump Trump

Here’s the 2020 presidential race in a nutshell: On Tuesday, Joe Biden… Continue reading

Alaska Airlines positioned for coronavirus comeback

It is no secret that airlines were clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic.… Continue reading

Offering some praise for the Pentagon on flags

I’ve gotten a few letters from readers over the past couple of… Continue reading

Must we live with one foot in the grave?

“Shower the people you love with love/ Show them the way that… Continue reading

DR. Fauci, we always knew it would come to this

Let’s begin today with Joe Biden, who is far too often trumped… Continue reading

Trump using students as coronavirus pawns

Here’s how far Donald Trump is willing to go to ensure his… Continue reading

Democracy or populist authoritarianism

Populist authoritarianism has become a threat to democracy. This is not about… Continue reading

Ethical meatpacking is essential

This letter is responding to “Rise above it all: Bainbridge slowly learning… Continue reading

Remembering Joyce Veterane

Joyce Veterane, a long time fixture in the Bainbridge Island community, passed… Continue reading

People of color don’t want resolutions from city council

In response to the June 9 city council meeting regarding the Race… Continue reading

Outrage is appropriate

Sending the military to teargas peaceful protestors exercising their constitutional rights for… Continue reading

With thousands dead, Trump thinks only of himself

How did we ever end up with someone as unsuited to be… Continue reading