Rivaling the most ribald scenes from French farce, Republican senators at the 2020 impeachment trial of Donald Trump performed with enough buffo to have earned them laughs. Too bad they were unaware the play was a tragedy.
Never mind, let us begin with their farce of jurist impartiality. Not only did chief jurist, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, admit he coordinated his arrangements for the trial with the defendant, but, prior to the hearings, he and several of his cohorts also revealed they had no plans to be objective.
One could argue their candor was refreshing. Why pretend they had open minds? They’d already accepted largess from the defendant’s legal team and Donald Trump. Once they’d been paid for their votes, they could hardly feign objectivity. That would be hypocritical, and no one wants to be accused of that.
A lead actor in the impeachment farce was Rob Portman, Senator from Ohio. He couldn’t have been better chosen for his role. Not only did he announce his verdict before the trial and had accepted money from the cast of characters named above, but he had had a prior part in the crime for which the President stood accused. A person can only marvel that Portman could assume the role of perpetrator and jurist with a straight face. Bravo, Senator.
Surprisingly, Democrats read their lines as if they’d been handed a different script, speaking with gravity as if the occasion were momentous and the facts worthy of reflection. No one with eyes could miss how their foreheads crinkled at the sight of one Republican or another’s buffoonery. But, I do not object to these antics. Even the great bard, William Shakespeare, recognized the importance of chiaroscuro: that without the presence of the absurd, one is unable to grasp the true depth of despair.
Now that the curtain is lowered to mark the end of the performance, all that remains is to learn how Main Street viewed the play. Was the Republican diversion a hit or a miss? We shall get the full review in November.