Once again, it’s that time of the week when I sit down in front of the keyboard with some hot coffee in one of my favorite mugs and try to connect the dots of what’s going on in the world. But this time, my thinking is pretty scattered, or at least more so than usual.
My mind seems to be filled up with so many random thoughts with none of them particularly related to each other. Kind of like the wicker basket in the kitchen, which has car keys, several letter openers (including a broken one), doggie prescriptions, and whatever else that lands in it. Nothing deplorable there, unlike some of the things swirling in my mind.
The shocking news of Kobe Bryant’s death with his daughter and seven others brought to light that we, as a society, still have a problem dealing with what’s been swept under the rug. Discussion of the sexual assault he was accused of back in 2003 started almost as soon as news of his death was made public. Even with the changes in our sensibilities in those intervening years, it’s clear we have a long way to go in dealing honestly and fairly with celebrities who offer, shall we say, a mixed legacy.
Ken Starr showed up front and center at the impeachment trial this week in defense of Trump. Ken Starr? Really? The same guy who defended Jeffrey Epstein against charges of statutory rape in 2007? The one who worked on that sweetheart deal for 13 months on work release with a stay in the private wing of the Palm Beach jail? Sure, even Epstein deserved legal defense, but Starr’s support of Christopher Kloman, a retired teacher and friend of the family, after his admission of molesting five female students is a bit beyond the pale. (Starr asked the court for leniency; Kloman got 43 years in prison.)
The icing on the cake came at Baylor University, when Starr as president and chancellor mishandled several sexual assault cases and was removed as president followed by his resignation as chancellor a few days later. But we all know Starr’s real claim to fame was his role as independent counsel during the Clinton administration. His defense of Trump included publicly contradicting himself from 20 years ago and bemoaning that we live in “the age of impeachment.” He wailed, “How did we get here?” Well, you may have been driving, Mr. Starr.
While one can use a broom to sweep Bryant’s and Starr’s past under the rug, it requires a bulldozer for John Bolton. To enumerate everything he has said and done over the course of his career that have made him anathema to Democrats would try our collective patience. So we’ll just stick with his super-hawkishness. He has advocated for regime change in Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Venezuela, and Yemen, and he doesn’t mean “Wouldn’t it nice if the people overthrew the government?” regime change. When Trump tweeted, “If I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now,” that’s probably true. Of course, even that contradicts what Trump had previously said about Bolton, but consistency is not one of Trump’s virtues.
Now that Bolton seems willing to provide testimony in the impeachment trial that could prove damaging to Trump, the old warmonger has found his way under the bus that keeps rolling over everyone who has, or even may, break ranks with the White House. But that’s okay.
Some Democrats seem eager to put their eggs in the Bolton basket (oh, that basket again). Even Adam “I’m no fan of John Bolton, but I like him a little more now than I used to” Schiff seems to be willing to—if not crawl into bed with—at least transact a little business with him. Oh, Adam, maybe you’re doing the right thing. But, to reframe and paraphrase something Bolton himself once said, you want a butterfly. Do you intend to put lipstick on a caterpillar and call it a success?
There’s some other disjointed dots seeking connection in my brain basket, kind of like the stray rubber bands and paper clips and pens that don’t work in the one on top of the microwave. Bernie, Iowa, coronavirus, a few others. But at least I know where to find my basket.