As much as I love writing, talking, and reading about politics, I’ve had no desire to watch the impeachment hearings. When I’m bored, I can scroll through Twitter and find a small handful of sound bites and tweets that created some buzz on both the right and the left. Going into the process, I feel confident that I can predict what will happen. The Democratic House will impeach, and the Republican Senate will knock it down in a matter of minutes. Donald Trump will continue to be the President of the United States. Both sides will believe that they were right, and nobody will have their mind changed. The MAGA crowd will continue to believe that this was nothing more than a DNC/”Deep State” attempt to stage a coup, and the anti-Trumpers will continue to argue that Trump is a criminal and the GOP is stifling the democratic process. There are people who still believe Trump is a Russian asset if you needed further proof.
As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Dilbert creator Scott Adams. He has a very interesting perspective on our political scene, and Trump in particular, based on his background in the business world and in studying hypnosis (he is a trained hypnotist) and persuasion. Where the media sees a crazy, unhinged lunatic in the White House, Adams sees strategy and persuasion. He always likes to say that we as observers are watching two movies on one screen. Depending on which side we’re on, we interpret what we see and hear differently, even while seeing the same thing.
Knowing that I would be writing about this topic at some point, I made it a point to read the transcript as soon as it was made available to the public, and before I saw anyone else’s interpretation of it. After a short read, it was clear to me that there was no “arm twisting”. It just looked like two leaders doing business. Trump asked the Ukrainian President to look into corruption. As a matter of fact, it is Trump’s job to look into any potential foreign interference in our political process. If a foreign government is in the pocket of a leading candidate for president, the American people should know that.
Clearly, many other people see it differently. They see a scenario where the President told another leader that he was withholding aid contingent on having one of his biggest political opponents investigated. “He’s digging for dirt!” “Extortion!” “Bribery!”
From my perspective, you have to know (or think that you know) the President’s inner thoughts to make this leap. The facts don’t provide the information necessary to come to that conclusion.
For me, the point of this isn’t to persuade you one way or another, or to talk about why I believe my side is right (even though I am doing that here). You’ve already made up your mind about this. It’s just fascinating how smart people can read the transcript and see 2 totally different things. Assuming that the transcript contains every word in that phone call, are any witnesses or further investigation needed? I don’t think so. That is why many believe that this impeachment is a sham, including myself.
While I am biased toward thinking that this phone call is a big pile of nothing, I try to see why some people could see otherwise. The Trump presidency has been a study in confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance (Read Win Bigly by Scott Adams-it has greatly helped me understand the method to Trump’s madness). This phenomenon explains how some people, three years into Trump’s first term, think that Trump is the worst President of all time, is a blatant racist, and was placed into the Oval Office by a hostile foreign power, while others think that he is a transformative president that is cleaning up the mess left by our previous leaders and is saving our Republic from sure destruction. We all have access to the same information. I think this answers the question of why we are so divided. I have to continue to tell myself that the people who don’t think like me aren’t stupid or crazy. Without this knowledge, it would be damn near impossible. This is just human nature at work. Once we realize that, we can sit back and enjoy the show.