Headlines swirl around us at a dizzying pace. I confess – it is hard to keep up with the daily drama of our country. Two headlines which stand out because they remain constant are, “There’s an elephant in the room” and “The Emperor has new clothes.” There’s no denying a connection between the two. However, we are told to pointedly ignore the first headline while simultaneously profusely praising the second one.
What must the rest of the world be thinking as they watch the theater of events parading before us all? Currently, our lawmakers, (that would be the men and women we chose through election and whose salaries we pay – they work for us – we hired them to do a job for us) are preparing to hold a trial in the Senate. The sole purpose of this trial is to determine if a sitting president of our country should be removed from office or not, depending on whether he is convicted or acquitted. By definition, that’s what an impeachment trial is. It has one purpose and one purpose only, according to our constitution – to remove a sitting president from office.
So now, you may be puzzled. Joe Biden has been in office barely more than a week. And they want to remove him already? That does seem a bit hasty by anyone’s standards. Then you realize the purpose of this trial is not to remove Joe, but to remove a president who is no longer in office. Questions may come to mind at this point such as, why am I paying people to remove someone from office who is already gone? Could my money be better spent? Could my lawmakers’ time be better spent on other, more pressing concerns? Could it be no one has informed the Senate members that the defendant in their trial is no longer in office? That must be the explanation. They simply do not know he is gone from office, because if they did know – how foolish they would look to the watching world.
The other possibility is equally embarrassing. They have not read and therefore do not know what our country’s Constitution says about such matters. Or far worse and actually quite alarming, they do know what the Constitution says and they simply don’t care. Our Constitution is what separates and sets apart this country from the rest of the nations in the world. These Senators took an oath to uphold and protect it – how ironic – how grievously sad for our country and for us, that these are the people we entrusted with our liberties and our laws.
Why is no one pointing out the obvious? The person who is the target of this trial is no longer in office, thus the need for and the reason for the impeachment trial no longer exists. This is the elephant in the room which no one is talking about. He is gone! But we are not supposed to acknowledge the presence of the elephant in our room, no matter how big or how obvious the elephant becomes and no matter what we have to do in order to tiptoe around the elephant rather than admit it exists.
If truth be told, (which is rare these days) there is another elephant in our room – the constitution. This is one elephant that has been ignored for far too long at great peril and price to our beloved country. This is another elephant we are not to acknowledge or discuss. If we did read the constitution and follow its dictates, it would become glaringly apparent immediately that there is no need for a trial. Impeachment and the subsequent impeachment trial are matters of constitutional law. Their sole function is to remove a sitting president if the need should arise. There is no other purpose for these actions.
One does not need a law degree or a degree of any kind for that matter, in order to recognize the elephants that fill the room at present. We don’t have to be constitutional scholars to question why a trial is being held for an issue that does not exist. However, no one even raises the question, let alone outright objects to these proceedings moving forward in the Senate. Why will no one state the obvious? One doesn’t hold an impeachment trial for a person no longer in office. It just doesn’t make sense. Also, that’s the law.
Which is yet another elephant in the room – the law – the law which isn’t observed or followed or enforced or referenced in any way, except when it is twisted beyond recognition to achieve the desired outcome of the law twisters. So many elephants. Such a small room. We are running out of room in which to tiptoe quietly around these elephants. Soon we will be tripping and falling all over them. Yet we dare not call attention to their presence for fear of being removed from the room ourselves and permanently exiled, thereby permanently silenced. Seems to me we are silenced already. We spend our days silently tiptoeing around the ever growing elephant population in our room.
While our silence is demanded where the elephants are concerned, our voices are simultaneously solicited to speak up and pour out our praise of the Emperor’s new clothes. And they are quite beautiful and extraordinary, these clothes, we are told daily. I have to confess – I don’t see them myself, but I dare not admit this to anyone, lest my lack of perfect, clear vision be exposed and I am ridiculed, then outcast because I am unable to participate in the collective vision of the Emperor’s new clothes.
It is a hard lesson to learn. There is one vision, one viewpoint, one perspective and if I can’t see the Emperor’s new clothes (which I am told are absolutely fabulous) there is something wrong with me and I must be reprogrammed. Or is it deprogrammed? Either way, I am told to ignore the elephants, admire the new clothes and so get with the program. I wish I could. It would be so much easier. It is always easier to go with the flow than to swim upstream. It is easier to stay silent and hope someone else has the courage to admit that they can’t see the Emperor’s gorgeous new clothes either, but they can see the ever multiplying elephants that are filling up the room.
Who has the courage not to see the Emperor’s new clothes? Who has the courage to see the elephants and call them out? – out of the room and back to their rightful places. A place in time when the law was to be followed and the Constitution of our country was to be upheld and protected at all costs in order to preserve its protections for future generations. I confess – (I seem to have a lot to confess today) the song playing in my head at this point is “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone” and I further confess that I am as guilty as anyone of taking this wonderful country and all the freedoms and opportunities she has afforded me, for granted. I have been privileged to enjoy these gifts freedom bestows my entire life and only now when they are disappearing while our attention is diverted elsewhere, do I realize how precious they are and at what cost they were purchased and passed down to us today.
There is a reason we remember the statement, “Give me liberty or give me death.” There were those in our history who valued liberty more than their individual lives. Now we value not just our life, but our own personal comfort over almost everything it seems. There is nothing worth dying for. The concept of sacrifice for something bigger than our own concerns is as unfamiliar to us today as is the concept of personal struggle and hardship being an inevitable part of achievement, growth and character development.
No wonder we refer to the WWII generation as the last great generation. They knew something about sacrifice and courage. What is more surprising is that, in large part, their sacrifices were on behalf of other nations and other people around the globe, as much as to preserve our own freedoms. We (the U.S.) could have just stayed home and defended our own shores. We didn’t have to free anyone else. But we did. Many Americans got death so that others could have liberty. When the last of these patriots are no longer living, will we completely forget this part of our history? Will it be erased?
Which is another elephant in the room we are to ignore – our history. Well actually, this elephant, like the other elephants, is getting new clothes along with the Emperor. We have permission to admire the new clothes, but must continue to ignore the elephants at all times. The tailors and the seamstresses for the Emperor and the elephants have been hard at work as you can imagine. Elephants, by virtue of their size, require a herculean effort to clothe properly. But the costume creators, aka, the media, work round the clock to continuously provide cover – did I say cover? – I mean to provide the new clothes which the elephants and the Emperor so desperately need and regularly require.
This is definitely a full time job, being an elephant dresser and an emperor maker. (must be why they say, the clothes make the man – must be why the Emperor needed new clothes) It takes a lot of fabric to cover an elephant or to dress an Emperor properly – to make the unpalatable, palatable – the unconscionable, conscionable – the absurd, sane or reasonable – well, you get the idea, it’a a big job.
What must the world be thinking as they watch the re-imagining of America into something unrecognizable? Or maybe it is something easily recognizable to Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea, China and many more because it is their own existence they see mirrored in the events of our nation at present. They remember all too well the path we currently follow which will lead us to where they already are. I only know I can’t see the Emperor’s new clothes at present but I can clearly see the many elephants that nobody is talking about, but which continue to crowd the room, nevertheless . I am tired of tiptoeing and desperately desiring a return of truth to rescue us before it is too late. I understand how David felt when he said,
“Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for Your law is not obeyed.” (Psalm 119:136)
It is painful to watch what Isaiah talked about taking place before my eyes,
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. . . . who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.” (Isaiah 5:20-23)
Even as I despair for my country, my hope is in the Living God and in His words which remain throughout all generations.
“Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. . . . The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.” (Psalm 37:16-17 & 32-33)
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10)
today, I will be brave. I will acknowledge the existence of the elephants and I will admit I cannot see these fabulous new clothes of the Emperor that everyone is talking about. There is something else I can do as well – I will attempt to live out these words in Romans 12:9-19,
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,”
that is a long list, I had better get busy putting those words into practice in my daily life – it will not be easy but nothing worthwhile is ever easy . . . truth, sacrifice, freedom – the more valuable they are, the greater the cost . . . a cost that not many are willing to pay at this time in our history . . . easier to let a country and a people perish . . .
sincerely, Grace Day