The 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. Any connection to current events?
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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)
Which is now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”
For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.
In the meantime:
I just got back from a month in Portugal, hiking the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago. Meanwhile, in the last few days since I got home, there’s been a lot of political hubbub in the news. As in Trump Impeachment Poll: Public Support Rises.
So before starting any posts on my recent adventure-pilgrimage, it might be good to review some posts I did in the past. About Donald Trump. Like the one predicting he’d “be impeached within two years.” (Which cited another past post, from before the election, asking if Trump might be the “new Maverick in town.” See April 2016’s “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?”)
We missed that deadline, from November 2016. On the other hand we are coming up on three years into his first term. (Putting aside – “tabling*” – the question whether he’ll have a second term.) And yet many people still support him. Why? One possible answer might have come in last April’s On Oscar Wilde and our “criminal heroes.” It came in turn from an article in the Jan/Feb 2019 National Geographic History Magazine, “Jesse James: Rise of an American outlaw.”
It seems that Wilde was in America in 1882 – in St. Joseph, Missouri – the week after Jesse James was killed. Thus he witnessed “firsthand the mad clamor for relics of the outlaw at an auction of Jesse’s household belongings.” That led Wilde to observe: “Americans are certainly great hero-worshipers, and always take their heroes from the criminal classes.”
Which – as I said – could explain the continuing support of Donald Trump from a large part of “the sovereign people.” Then too, Americans tend to admire “rebels” as well, as explored in the post-election (11/16) post, Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma? Which included this:
I have to admit I’ve been pretty much stymied since the election, last November 8. The best I could come up with since then was “Trump is like a box of chocolates.” [11/13/16…] It’s as if the Muses have abandoned me. On the one hand I want to be fair and not cranky. (Like so many other people my age.) But on the other hand I have this deep sense of foreboding…
Which sense of foreboding could be coming to fruition “even as we speak.”
And which brings up a common phrase in this blog, “past Trump-posts.” It could be related to another new word, Trumpgret. See New Word: Trumpgret! – debatepolitics.com. (A word “bandied about by many voters that now ‘regret’ having voted for Trump in 2016.”)
But getting back to Trump as a rebel. The Yuma post noted that I “Googled the words ‘Donald Trump rebel’ and got 46,300,00 results.” And that one such link was the article, How the Rebel Flag Rose Again – and Is Helping Trump. (“That title pretty much speaks for itself.”)
Which I suppose means that the current Democratic House of Representative’s moves to impeach Trump can be seen – by some Americans anyway – as the functional equivalent of “the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard,” as illustrated at right.* (If I’m being too subtle, Trump is portrayed as the “heroic Jesse James.”)
Then there was another post from the past, “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night.” It asked the musical question:
50 years from now [could] that dulcet-toned lass [Joan Baez] be singing that ode to Donald Trump to the tune of “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night[?]” Joan Baez sang the original song – about Joe Hill – most memorably at Woodstock, back in the summer of 1969.
That post noted that “in some strange way Donald Trump – educated at the New York Military Academy, then the Wharton School” and worth over three billion dollars* – “has somehow become a hero to the (white) American working man.” It also noted that comparing Trump to famed labor activist and union organizer Joe Hill might not be such a good thing.
That is, like Jesse James and other noted “rebels,” Joe Hill died young. (At 36.) In one line from from “Joe Hill,” Baez sang, “‘The Copper Bosses killed you Joe, They shot you Joe’ says I.” That is, in 1914 Utah officials charged Hill with murder, resulting in a trial that became a sensation:
The case turned into a major media event. President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller (the blind and deaf author and fellow-IWW member), the Swedish ambassador and the Swedish public all became involved in a bid for clemency. It generated international union attention, and critics charged that the trial and conviction were unfair. [One later organizer considered] Joe Hill to have been a political prisoner who was executed for his political agitation…
And again if I’m being too subtle, Joe Hill was executed by firing squad at Utah’s Sugar House Prison on November 19, 1915. (After a conviction arguably orchestrated by “the copper bosses.”)
Which could happen to Donald Trump, metaphorically anyway.
Even if impeached and convicted – and in all likelihood ever after he passes from the scene, possibly still in disgrace – he likely will still remain a hero to some members of “the American working man.” As the original “Joe Hill” song said, “Takes more than guns to kill a man… Says Joe ‘I didn’t die.’” In the same way it may take more than an impeachment-and-conviction to tarnish the Donald’s reputation with some Americans.
And so the final stanza of “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night” might go like this:
From San Diego up to Maine, In every mine and mill, Where working men defend their rights, It’s there you’ll find Don Trump, It’s there you’ll find Don Trump!
It could happen! Meanwhile, the question “How much of this will be ‘deja vu all over again?'”
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Will this be the scene if the House of Representatives impeaches Donald Trump?
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Re: “Tabling.” The term in the United States for a rule of parliamentary procedure under which a topic or motion is put aside, possibly indefinitely; “to ‘table’ usually means to postpone or suspend consideration of a pending motion.” The term has different meanings in different countries; “the American meaning is based on the idea of leaving the topic on the table indefinitely and thereby disposing of it, i.e. killing its discussion.” See Table (parliamentary procedure) – Wikipedia.
Re: “Dirty little coward.” The caption of the photo: “A woodcut shows Robert Ford famously shooting Jesse James in the back while he hangs a picture in his house. Ford’s brother Charles looks on.” James was living under the assumed name, “Mr. Howard,” and apparently “Tom Howard.” See Wikipedia on Jesse James and Question about Jesse James & h – Genealogy.com. Wikipedia further noted:
While his “heroic outlaw” image is commonly portrayed in films, [some late 20th century historians] have classified him as a self-aware vigilante and terrorist who used local tensions to create his own myth among the widespread insurgent guerrillas and vigilantes following the American Civil War… James remains a controversial symbol, one who can always be reinterpreted in various ways according to cultural tensions and needs. Some of the neo-Confederate movement regard him as a hero.
Which may well become the legacy of Donald Trump?
The lower image was courtesy of Hard Hat Riot: Tea Party of yesteryear – Daily Kos. (Which image has since been “removed.”) The caption refers to two prior posts from this blog: Is this “deja vu all over again,” and a reprise, Another “deja vu all over again?” See also Hard hat – Wikipedia, as to the literal meaning of the term, and the Collins Dictionary, as to its cultural implications; i.e., “characteristic of the presumed conservative attitudes and prejudices typified by construction workers.” (See also, Hard Hat Riots.)
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Past posts on Trump and his future include Some thoughts on “the Donald,” from two years ago, On Hard hats, Hell’s Angels – and Inauguration Day 2017, and Trump – The new Johnny Yuma?
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Re: The Israelite. Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Thus the “Carolina Israelite.” I on the other hand am a “classic 68–year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – living in north Georgia. Thus the “Georgia Wasp.” Anyway, in Charlotte Harry wrote and published the “Israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.” (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.” But what made him special was his positive outlook on life. He got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today. He still got a kick out of life. For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.