Stand by for some journalistic heresy: I don’t follow the minute-by-minute or day-by-day circus in Washington, D.C., about the impeachment inquiry.
Chances are that you don’t, either.
Yes, it’s an important story. The legally elected president of the United States faces an effort by the opposition party to remove him from office. You can’t ignore it, but the sheer amount of information, misinformation and disinformation being peddled by the major news outlets and commentators (knowledgeable and otherwise) on the internet is just so overwhelming that it’s hard for a person like me to know what’s really going on.
Who really has time to read the Mueller report and the Ukraine transcript and all the other documents and dossiers that are part of this? Who has time to watch the congressional hearings? Some of us barely have enough time to fit work, school and family life into our schedules, let alone take it upon ourselves to absorb all the details some people say is necessary to save the nation from descending into whatever apocalypse the political junkies tell us is coming.
When something does happen, it seems that two different news organizations are reporting on two different events. Which am I to believe? Do I want to invest the time every single day in trying to figure out what’s happening, or do I wait for the truly big event that cannot be spun?
I would rather pick up my five-month-old grandson and watch him smile as he tests his legs to see if they’re strong enough to hold his weight. I would rather clean my gutters. I would rather get down on my knees and scrub my kitchen floor.
If the idea is to numb us with too much information that tells us nothing, it’s working.
There are plenty of theories going around about why the Democratic Party is so determined to impeach the president even though it knows the Senate will not vote to convict. Democrats want to weaken the president politically. The party wants to maintain its control of the House of Representatives and perhaps take back the Senate, and this energizes its base.
Or it’s because the Democrats’ presidential candidates have no positive ideas to run on, so their platform is Orange Man Bad. Impeachment is a way of taking attention away from other stories that could damage the party.
One of the better ones that has come out has to do with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her health problems are widely known, and it’s possible she will not be able to stay on the court through next year’s elections. Impeaching the president is a way to stall or delegitimize the president’s ability to appoint a successor and have the Senate confirm him or her before his term ends.
Some people on the right want a lengthy impeachment trial so the Senate can call all sorts of Democrats as witnesses who will be compelled to testify about wrongdoings in the previous president’s administration. They see that as a way of getting things on the record and swaying voters to vote Republican.
The conspiracy theories are far more entertaining than the news coverage. The bad part is that you have to wade through so much awful stuff to get to the part you want. It’s like following the Cincinnati Bengals, another thing I have avoided for a while now.
As for me and many nonpolitical junkies, we have our minds made up, and it will take an event of epic proportions to sway us. Now it’s off to either my grandson, my kitchen or my gutters, whichever needs me most.