I Think I Know Why I’m Depressed

By

Leonard Zwelling

It has been gnawing at me for almost two weeks now. As a former clinically depressed patient, why did I feel that awful black dog surround me again. It doesn’t really surround me as much as it seems to emanate from within. But why? Because my wife was ill? That was surely troubling, but she was and is getting better every day. Why am I still feeling low? The rain and cold were interfering with golf, but it is January after all and to be expected. That wasn’t it.

It came to me watching television. What I was watching was the clue. It was the presentation by Representative Adam Schiff of the House Managers’ case against President Trump in the impeachment trial in the Senate. No, I was not depressed by what he was describing of the president’s bad behavior. I have long since gotten over Donald Trump’s awful comportment. What was so troubling to me was that Schiff was making a brilliant, but ultimately fruitless case for why the president needed to be impeached and removed from office. In essence, President Trump used his office to extort the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation of one of Trump’s potential campaign opponents, Joe Biden. The extortion was the withholding of $391 million in military aid and an Oval Office meeting desperately need by Ukraine to fight the invading Russians. Apparently, John Bolton’s coming book will substantiate all of the charges against the president according to The New York Times.

What Mr. Schiff laid out was a thorough review of everything that this president has done to abuse his office and block Congress’ ability to investigate what he did. But Congress got far enough for Schiff to make the case anyway. Yet even this was not depressing.

What was depressing is knowing that people who I had worked with on Capitol Hill in 2009, Republican senators like Collins, Alexander, Burr and Murkowski—people I respected–might not vote to find out from the people who really know what happened and what transpired around the July 25, 2019 phone call and why the aid to Ukraine was really held up despite Congress having approved it in a bipartisan fashion. What’s depressing is that Trump is going to get away with what everyone knows he did without being held accountable in any meaningful way by the Senate. There is no order. There is no law. There is no government. For a graduate of Watergate Washington, this is depression and regression. When 75% of the American people want to hear from witnesses and the Senate feels free to ignore that, the country is on its way to hell. But then again, isn’t that why the Framers created the Senate the way they did—a non-representative body to act as a saucer to cool the hot tea in the tempest that is the House of Representatives? I guess so.

All the stories they told us in school about the perfection of the Constitution and the self-correcting nature of democracy that had been proven by Watergate are being tossed out the window simply because U. S. senators who had expressed their dismay of the Trump candidacy in 2016 (Romney, Graham, Rubio, Cruz) will not stand up to Trump now. Like I said last week—weasels.

It is a sickening reality that the Senate has fallen on such hard times with not even a vestige of real leadership that despite prodding from a masterful presentation by the House Managers and the will of the American people, the senators on the Republican side drink milk and occupy themselves with crossword puzzles.

Russia has gotten what it pursued all those years of the Cold War. They have undermined the integrity of the United States Constitution and the Article One statutes that are supposed to protect the people from the likes of Trump. We now have a president who is undeterred by law and unopposed in the upper legislative chamber. Chuck Schumer is useless and unable to make a compelling case. Mr. Schiff and colleagues are doing everything they can to prod the Senate to call witnesses and secure documents so that the truth can be unearthed. The only reason the president would oppose this is if he is guilty.

Throughout my time on Capitol Hill, despite all the nonsense going on around me, I always felt that in the end, Congress would get to the right place. I no longer believe that. This GOP-led Senate, with Mitch McConnell at the helm cannot get to the truth. It cannot honor a president’s legitimate nomination to the Supreme Court (Merrick Garland). The members sit there with their hands over their ears, eyes and mouths like three monkeys wanting to stay ignorant because they fear if the truth comes out, they would have no choice but to relieve the president of his job and that they all would lose theirs.

This is no trial. The politics and the power have determined the outcome. At least I thought the truth might get a hearing. It didn’t. I’m still depressed.

Leonard Zwelling