Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Impeachment Trial-Watching

     This afternoon, the U. S. Senate will do something they rarely do: put the President on trial.  The process is written in out Constitution, in broad brush-strokes that assume much about the common sense and good will of the participants -- possibly more than most of us might credit some or all of the participants with possessing.  But they've done it before and they'll get  through it this time, too.

     Don't watch in anger.  Everyone involved is going to play up the drama. They all want your emotions involved.  We're in an election year and nothing gets people into voting booths like strong feelings!

     They're not wrong.  But this is history on the hoof and how you feel about it as it is happening will not change the outcome.  That's in the hands of the United States Senate.

     This is an uncommon event and none of the players are in their usual, comfortable roles.  How they behave can be revealing.

     You can watch and learn or you can watch and fume -- fume about the President, fume about the Senate and its leadership, fume about partisanship or grandstanding, and before it's all over, you may even find a reason to be annoyed at the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Watch angry and when it's over, you'll be working on an ulcer while all or nearly all of the participants in the Senate Trial will get their nice, fat paychecks, same as every payday. 

     Most of us will be working, at least for the first few innings; but I plan to watch what I can as coldly as a hawk.  It's a rare opportunity and I don't want to waste it.


Witold Pilecki said...

We will have it on at the firehouse, just like we did with the hearings. I like that the senators cannot speak, that questions have to be submitted in writing. No grandstanding, pontificating, or declaring guilt without direct evidence or criminal charges.

Hmmmm....which party members were doing that again?

RandyGC said...

You have more patience than I do.

I have found that reading transcripts works better for me. I read fast enough that I actually get annoyed when having to spend time listening to someone talk through a speech. (In museums with an audio guide type device I always ask if they have a hard copy of the transcripts that I can read as I make the rounds).

It also helps disconnect the emotional responses you touched on.

Not to go Godwin here, but I do remember reading once that the speeches of a certain European politician evoked a highly emotional response from the crowds that heard him in person, and slightly less so for those that heard him on the radio. People that read the speeches in the newspapers often couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. Of course that means they were blindsided by how "quickly" he came to power.

I get that there are nuances you can glean from watching the actors in real time, but I'm not good enough at reading people to get much of that. And I don't do much TV during the day. Hence my preference for transcripts.

If you do get any insights from watching this please share them here.