Patriotic Pins in the Potomac

(Graphic: Brian Covert / Photo: New York Tiimes)

The official investigation by the United States Congress into the possible impeaching of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the U.S., for illegal and unethical acts has wrapped up its initial fact-finding phase and now moves on to formulating the actual legal articles that will lead to almost certain impeachment of Trump in the House of Representatives.

Over the course of five days earlier this month, a dozen witnesses publicly testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a series of hearings in Washington DC that was watched by millions of people around the world. The witnesses, who worked diligently in various branches of the U.S. government, including in its overseas diplomatic corps, spoke under oath about what they knew or experienced concerning the Ukraine scandal that has rocked the Trump administration to the core. Trump’s personal involvement in the scandal was exposed for all to see. The evidence against Trump and those in government who worked closest to him was nothing less than damning.

All this, despite the efforts of one group of people in particular who did their utmost during the public hearings to twist the facts, badger the witnesses, point the investigation in unrelated directions and otherwise sabotage the whole proceedings at every turn. Those people were none other than the congressional members of the right-wing Republican Party who sat on the committee, led by extreme-rightist “Devious” Devin Nunes of California. It was an unforgettably shameful performance by the Republicans — an all-time low in the history of the party.

You almost couldn’t recognize the party from its past incarnations. Was this actually the same Republican Party that has long claimed to be mercilessly tough on crime and criminals? Was this the same Republican Party that has espoused wholesome Christian values and morals? Was this the same Republican Party that has wrapped itself in the American flag and carried out the duties of being the Patriotism Police of the American nation? Is this the same party?

If so, then why were the Republicans trying so hard during the recent impeachment hearings to defend Trump and even cover up his apparent commission of crimes — a man who has sexually abused women in the past and had relationships with porn stars outside of his marriage? So much for the Republicans’ moral Christian values and tough-on-crime image. When Trump appears to break laws and tramples on the flag and literally spits on the processes of democratic government that he was elected to carry out, what did the Republicans do during the impeachment inquiry hearings? They stood ready to defend Trump to the death, serving as congressional cheerleaders for his misdeeds.

Republicans like Trump (as in the picture above) love to arrogantly walk around with their chests puffed out and a shiny little American flag ornament pinned to the lapel of their expensive tailored suits. But after the Republicans’ shameful performance in the impeachment hearings, they may as well remove those miniature American flags from their suits, now that they have utterly violated the real spirit of patriotism — that is, protecting the U.S. constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic — that the flag pin represents. I have one suggestion for all the Republicans in the White House and in Congress on what they can do with their precious little flag pins now: Do what the late boxer Muhammad Ali once did with his own patriotic medal.

Throw them into the river.

Ali once related the famous story of his own Olympic medal this way, about the time when he was 18 years old and returning to his hometown in the USA as a gold-medal boxing champion and hero in the 1960 Rome Olympics: “I came back to Louisville [Kentucky] after the Olympics with my shiny gold medal. Went into a luncheonette where black folks couldn’t eat. Thought I’d put them on the spot. I sat down and asked for a meal. The Olympic champion wearing his gold medal. They said, “We don’t serve niggers here.” I said, “That’s okay, I don’t eat ’em.” But they put me out in the street. So I went down to the river, the Ohio River, and threw my gold medal in it.”

That’s right, Republicans — now it’s your turn. Just take those little gold-plated metallic flag pins off of your three-piece suits, cock your arms back, and chuck those pins with all your might into the 30-meter (100-feet) -deep Potomac River. Your patriotism and service to God and the nation mean next to nothing now. Those shiny little flag-pin accessories on your suits would be more useful at the bottom of the Potomac than on your chest.

And I offer this suggestion about those flag pins before the worst that is yet to come. The Republicans will have their chance to get “revenge” in the U.S. Senate sometime early next year and vindicate Trump of all of the ethical and legal impeachment charges, as the Republicans seem poised to do. At that point, the Republican Party will have lost its soul (if it ever had one in the first place) and abandoned any pretense of patriotism and public service. And the world will see these right-wing members of the U.S. Congress for the shallow, dishonest and hateful hypocrites they really are.

So, go on, Republicans on Capitol Hill and inside the great white palace on Pennsylvania Avenue: Get rid of those shiny little flag pins that you so love to show off and give them a new home at the slimy bottom of the Potomac River as it flows through the nation’s capital. It’s the least you could do for your country now. To paraphrase the late U.S. president John F. Kennedy: Ask not what those patriotic flag pins can do for you, but what those rusting, molding flag pins can do for posterity buried deep in the mud and muck of this thing called America.

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