This is a word of advice from an old bull to Young Turks. I sense from some of the comments an impatience with the attention I paid to the Cohen appearance before Elijah Cummings' House committee. How important can it be when a mob lawyer turns on his mob boss? Not very important in the world historical scheme of things. It may be an appropriate subject for a movie, but is it fitting that someone puffing himself up as a Serious Thinker should pay the event any heed?
Let me answer, not as The Philosopher but as an eighty-five year old man who has been fighting the good fight, or at least has been trying to, for sixty-five years. It is hard, really hard, not to give up over all that time, especially when every victory is followed by a string of defeats. What is more, it wears on you to be angry for six decades. It is not good for the digestion.
So it is simply self-defense to relish the confusion of one's enemies, the little momentary triumphs of one's friends. Is the electoral victory of a few self-declared socialists the first light of a New Dawn? No. Will cruel things be done and exploitation pursued by rich and powerful people even so? Yes. How then can I make much of the appearance of Michael Cohen before a House Committee?
Because it is fun. It feels good.
But won't my pleasure in the spectacle weaken my resolve, make me settle, lead me to abandon The Cause? Well, it didn't when I sat in the lounge of William James Hall at Harvard during my first graduate year and watched Joseph Welch say to Joseph McCarthy, "At long last, have you no sense of decency?" It dd not when I read of the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. It did not when I sat in my third floor study, watching the spot announcements of Spiro Agnew's resignation. It did not when I saw Bill Clinton humiliated by a stained dress. And it will not now that I have had the momentary frisson of seeing Michael Cohen put up an enlarged photo of a hush money check signed by Donald J. Trump.
Gather ye rosebuds where ye may.