The Emotional Truth of Corruption in Washington By Spocko
I watched the Cohen hearings with the Academy Awards still fresh in my mind. No awards will be given for the GOP congress people who expressed how disgusting it is that they had to listen to a (shutter) Liar.
Hearings are performances designed to tell a story. Cohen is acting as Trump's John Dean, cast by Lanny Davis.
Of course John Dean the person is very different from John Dean the President's lawyer testifying against his boss. I don't know Dean, but I can't imagine him making "at least 500" threats against people on behalf of the President. That sounds more like a job for creepy G. Gordon Liddy.
The Democrats are working this story with facts, which is good. Trump is a corrupt bully, who has put his need for money, fame and power first. Acting this way before running for office makes him a standard corrupt rich guy. But acting this way as President is a bigger offense, one that hurts our entire country.
Cohen is telling the story of a selfish person who loves money. But we need more to get to the emotional truth of just how horrible Trump is for America in his position right now.
Who is Trump hurting with his actions?
I can say, "The American People" but that's a bit too broad. If I want to start with specifics I point to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who have been threatened by Trump via Cohen,
But I also think of all the small businesses and contractors that Trump screwed over using threats before he became President. Some of those people might have entered into contracts with him with their eyes open, knowing of his reputation, but were Americans really aware of just how horrible he was?
During the campaign Trump said he would use his knowledge of negotiation to get the best deals for America, some people liked that and thought, "Well he may be a crook, but now he'll be OUR crook!" But Trump hasn't been putting the American people first. His attitude is, 'What's good for Trump's Businesses is Good For America."
Trump's corruption while in office matters. It turns out that the founders KNEW human nature and they understood there have always been rich people who want to use the power of government to obtain profit for themselves.
"Corruption is when people in public office use that public office for private or selfish ends." ---Zephyr Teachout on Why Is This Happening podcast with Chris Hayes, August 21, 2018
Hamilton in "The Federalist Papers," describes the Constitutional Convention saying, we did everything we could to erect every practicable obstacle to corruption. Because that's the threat, we're not gonna have self-government if we don't protect against corruption. Or as somebody else said, if we don't protect against corruption we will soon be at an end.
"So the job of building structures, building a constitutional structure, is not just to punish those who behave badly but actually to protect people from their own temptations. "
America has always struggled with corruption, some periods have been worse than others. I just watched two old movies, Born Yesterday (1950), and Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) that show how Hollywood talked about corruption in an earlier era.
Born Yesterday shows a millionaire junk dealer/business man who goes to Washington and bribes a congressman to get a law passed that will make money for him.
Solid Gold Cadillac shows a board of directors expecting to profit off of defense contracts when their founder goes to Washington to work in government.
In both cases, the men were foiled because they underestimated the competence of the women in the movie.
The men also underestimated people's need for justice, their desire for fairness under the law, and the work they are willing to do prevent further injustice or harm to others.
Here are two clips from the end of the movie demonstrating the understanding of the writer
Garson Kanin, (a friend of Paddy Chayefsky) how corrupt thugs work and what it takes to control them.
In both of these movies there were self-awareness people who knew they had been comprised and used. Some felt bad about it and changed. Others accepted their fate. How they reacted as the various schemes fell down around them depended on how the person was written.
They both stream on Amazon Prime. I highly recommend Born Yesterday. Judy Holliday won the Oscar for Best Actress for portraying the dumb blond Billie Dawn. In real life Holliday had a 172 IQ. There are so many parallels with Trump's story it's spooky. I think every American should watch it. Also read about how Judy Holliday's dumb blond act outsmarted the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (Dubbed the Senate's answer to the HUAC) when she testified before them.
A Corrupt Person Says What?
When some people are caught with their hands in the cookie jar they lie and deny. "I didn't do it! If I did, where's your proof?!"
Others, after they get caught, say. "Yah got me, but it's not a big deal."
Still others attack the people who arrested them and the "disloyal" people who exposed their lawbreaking.
Some people, when they know they are busted, start cooperating to reduce their sentence. (I suspect some of them also want to stick it to the people that brought them into the scheme.)
When I watched the end of these movies I thought about the Mueller investigation. After the investigation is over, I want appropriate punishments for those who have been found guilty of their various crimes. And, I want things to change to prevent further injustice and harm to our country.
When normal people see the smaller fish getting caught and people paying the price with jail time, they think, "I better not do that!" This is what we want. It's the reasoning prosecutors use when they say, "We want to send a message to the people, 'Don't break the law.'"
Some people--those involved in similar corrupt schemes--think, "How can I not get caught?"
They plan to get trickier when they break the law in the future. They scorn people who get caught, they don't care about the principles behind the law, just the tricks to avoid technically breaking it. Dick Cheney learned a lot during Tricky Dick's Presidency, e.g. how not to get caught during the Bush years.
Then there is a group of people who think, "How can we change the law so an action we want to take is no longer illegal?" This is the group of people who have been ascendant since the 1980's. These people work to change laws, reduce or remove regulations and write model laws just to help themselves. (See the work of ALEC in multiple areas as an example)
Additionally there is a group of people who work to change attitudes about the actions that the laws were created to address.
When you look deeper into these people you can see their emotional truth. These are selfish. They hurt individuals. They plan to use the power of government for their own selfish ends. They are hurting our country. It's our patriotic act to stop them.