In less fraught political times, the Amber Guyger trial for the murder of Botham Jean would have probably been the top national news story instead of being one of those “In other news” stories to which it was relegated. After all, with a white female police officer killing a black man in his own living room being the story line, it was tailor made for sensationalism.
Still, it managed to be the big local story in Dallas. This being Texas, you know, there was a good chance she’d be acquitted or convicted of some lesser crime. So when the jury came back with a verdict of murder, I was somewhat surprised—a brief “wow” moment. Similarly, when Ms. Guyger was sentenced to ten years, I was less surprised—a brief “it figures” moment. And when Brandt Jean offered forgiveness and a hug to his brother’s convicted murderess, I was completely nonplussed (in its original, accurate meaning.) Sometimes things work out in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine.
When the news broke that Bernie Sanders was having to suspend his campaign to allow him to recover from a procedure to insert two stents in his heart, it was a stark reminder that continuing good health is an unpredictable factor in all our lives, even those running for president. Presumably, Sanders will return to the campaign trail before the next debate. But a health crisis isn’t the only thing that can rear its ugly head and immediately change the playing field. No one knows how the campaign is going to work out on the Democratic side, and the only real surprise would be that there are no surprises to come in the next several months.
Back in Washington, the Ukraine scandal seems to be expanding to include the Vice President and the Secretary of State, while Attorney General Barr has been doing some globetrotting of his own on a suspect mission. It’s no surprise that Rudy Giuliani is up in the middle of it, throwing Pompeo under the bus. Trump told reporters, “I think you should ask for Vice President Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple of conversations [with Ukraine] also.” To which Pence could have responded, “Thanks, boss, I’ll just try to crawl under Pompeo’s body before the next 18 wheeler comes down this highway.”
Seriously, things have reached a pretty pass when the four men arguably closest to the President are trying not to meet the fate of an armadillo on a stretch of bad Texas road.
The big surprise to me is that, for once, the Democrats seem to be talking a muscular game. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee and the point person on the impeachment investigation, strikes me as a man who may have spent his entire life waiting for the opportunity to prove he, too, can be a badass. Wouldn’t that be a surprise if he can?
And what about that badass in the Senate? Mitch McConnell, love him or hate him, is a total badass who plays politics as a blood sport. Unless I miss my guess, he’s got some surprises up his sleeve, too.
In this environment, the cable news networks need something more than “Breaking News” to get our attention. How about retiring that old meme in favor of a Gomer Pyle voiceover?