The despisers of mankind—apart from the mere fools and mimics—are of two sorts. Those who believe their merit neglected and unappreciated, make up one class; those who receive adulation and flattery, knowing their own worthlessness, compose the other. Be sure that the coldest-hearted misanthropes are ever of this last order.– Charles Dickens: Barnaby Rudge
Thank the heavens for Stephen Colbert. He remains the voice of sanity mixing humor with serious in-depth understanding of what’s going on, a clear moral compass and the good sense to invite conversations with others who can shed new light on a variety of important (and sometimes frivolous- still a place for that) subjects. One of his recent guests on the “important” side was former FBI Director James Comey.
I was at first surprised and then intrigued to hear Comey say that T**** shouldn’t be prosecuted in Washington, not because he doesn’t deserve it, but because it’s what he wants—to stay in the public spotlight and keep steering the ship of our everyday discourse. Comey noted that T****'s pathological need for constant adulation, attention and flattery is the oxygen he breathes and suggests his worse punishment would be to deprive him of that air. He’s already gasping with the loss of his Twitter account. To just leave him alone to be a sorry old man “yelling at cars in Mar a Lago” would be the ultimate punishment.
An interesting perspective! I’d still prefer him to be shouting out the barred windows of his solitary confinement in prison as a message to any future imposters that there will be consequences and alongside the 64 judges who turned down Rudy Guiliani’s fantasy that the votes were illegitimate, a sign that the Justice System, while still terribly broken (white cop murderers given a mere slap on the hand), it hasn’t completely collapsed.
At many times during T****’s Reign of Horror and the cliff-edge danger of democracy’s collapse, I said there were three things that distinguished us from Nazi Germany, North Korea, China, Turkey, etc.
1) Free Speech: Colbert, Trevor Noah and even me in this blogposts could have been jailed, disappeared, murdered, without it, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post.
2) The Legal System: As above, the court’s refusal (including the Supreme Court) to declare the election invalid.
3) Term Limits and the Right to Vote: No matter how horrible a President may be, we only have to endure it for 4 to 8 years and have the possibility of a peaceful transfer of power with the simply act of filling out a ballot.
And that we did and while we take to the pandemic streets in a cavalcade of cars to celebrate the upcoming inauguration (with FBI on the alert, please), we can finally ignore that sad, sad man yelling at us from the sidelines, left to the solitary prison of his own worthlessness.
Three more days.