The House of Representatives initiated impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, 2019. This came roughly three years after discussions about impeachment began, starting about the time Trump won the election. At least that’s what I remember.
Since Trump was elected, we’ve been regaled with increasingly fantastic stories involving Russia, Trump, and an ever-expanding cast of supporting characters. The stories, of course, did not stop when Trump was acquitted back in February, which was not that long ago, though time has become meaningless and February might as well be last century. Again, this is assuming I didn’t imagine the entire thing.
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) came and went, and with it went impeachment. Surely this wasn’t the case. After years of dominating the conversation and occupying the entirety of a large group of people’s headspace, suddenly it didn’t matter anymore? Has it really vanished, never to be seen again?
In explaining why impeachment wasn’t mentioned at the DNC, Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said — or maybe “said” — “Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.”
Sorry, that wasn’t Greenberg, but Verbal Kint in 1995’s “The Usual Suspects,” a much shorter and more entertaining film about shadowy figures manipulating people for power. What Greenberg actually said was, “Voters literally didn’t care about and forgot about impeachment the day after the vote. Democrats favored it but didn’t think it would accomplish anything.”
Goldberg also said people who don’t live and breathe politics “didn’t really understand why he was being impeached, and Republicans thought it was a ‘witch hunt.’” This might be why the Republicans did mention it at their convention, although maybe they’re just channeling their inner Kint. Or maybe a highly partisan issue buried in a more fantastical tale than the one Kint spun for detective Dave Kujan didn’t work out for the Democrats as much as they had hoped.
And now, like that, poof. It’s gone. Is this real life? Surely I have not had my imagination working overtime for these past three years, dreaming up stories of shady Russians and micturating prostitutes.
There was going to be a Trump Tower in Moscow. Emails were leaked from a time machine. Jumpin’ Jack Flash was born in a crossfire hurricane. James Comey dyed his hair jet-black and wrote poetry. The fabric of our republic was being torn asunder by memes and posts on social media written in broken English.
Does no one care? Where are the furious calls for more investigations, more accountability, more resistance? Not that I would mind if it’s gone. It’s a tiring situation to navigate, made all the more tiring by the fact that I apparently imagined it. Surely, I could have engaged in a more productive voyage through light and sound, or at least recreated a lackluster reboot of “St. Elsewhere” instead of this.
But here I am, wondering what happened. I’m wondering why I left that barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois, to go pick coffee beans in Guatemala. I’m wondering why I departed Guatemala and came back to America to engage in fever dreams about Donald Trump, Russia, the aforementioned micturating prostitutes, Emo Comey, and the rest of the gang.
America was facing an existential crisis, my imagination assured me. Without impeachment and a conviction, the country would cease to exist. Surely the Democrats didn’t forget that and whoever was rolling the videos during their convention failed to hit play on the ones covering the topic. There’s absolutely no way it was all a convoluted Rube Goldberg of an attempt to wrest power from the duly elected president, because that would be too insane even for fiction.
Yet the silence continues, so it must be that impeachment never happened. It was all a dream. The truth does not involve a vast conspiracy and democracy dying in darkness. It was all a figment of my imagination. It never existed. And poof, like that, it’s gone.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Agent Kujan has some more questions.