Axios reported this morning that the Trump administration is now arguing that the President cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice because the constitution declares he is the chief law enforcement officer of the land. Early in the Trumpian onslaught against our country last year, I began to liken him unto a god of sorts, a “dark” god who had a chthonic grip on a significant portion of the American population. This was best illustrated in his brazen declaration that he could shoot someone in the streets of Manhattan and not lose support. Trump and his handlers are very astute in grasping when he pushes the limits and immediately huddle together and discuss, “Now, how do we justify this?” Simple denial has worked faithfully for him as the base of his party believes everything he says and the rest of the party marches lamely in tow as they too have succumbed to the intoxicating siren song of power. The Republican Party has created a monster which many of them realize they cannot control but they cannot admit this because, like Trump, they cannot admit having made a mistake.
But this phenomenon is an expression of not just the Republican Party but of the American psyche. If we find the humility we will have to acknowledge that our nation has been, as the prophet Daniel put it, “weighed in the balances and found wanting.” Our inherent arrogance and smugness is now egregiously apparent for all to see and many can respond only with a lame, “Oh, that is not true. That is fake news.” One historical example is in the Manifest Destiny theme in American history when we were consumed with the belief that God had brought us to this new world, had created us as a nation, and then given us the “manifest” task of carrying our “truth, justice, and the American way” westward to the Pacific Ocean. This “divine” mandate meant that the Native Americans were merely an obstacle and could be slaughtered in the interest of our goal being accomplished. “God is leading us,” we said, and how can one argue with God?
The attitude that was present then, and did bring these United States to the world stage, is now having the dark, daemonic dimension of that Manifest Destiny impulse exposed. Our task now is having the humility to let “self-awareness” dawn upon us, “self-awareness” being merely the light of day which any tribe always resists experiencing. This cultural blindness is not exclusive to our tribe by any means. It is present with all individuals and all cultures but now we are in the position where we could humbly acknowledge this human frailty and grow from the experience. But, as Auden told us, “When truth met him, and held out her hand, we clung in panic to our tall belief and shrank away like an ill-treated child.” And it is very interesting to note that significant numbers of Christians in our country…especially evangelicals…adamantly remain ensconced in their arrogance as they too, just like Trump, cannot admit that they made a mistake.
(The following is a link to the Axios article— https://www.axios.com/exclusive-trump-lawyer-claims-the-president-cannot-obstruct-justice-2514742663.html)