Bill Stierle and Tom continue to feel disheartened as senators are clearly determined to acquit Donald Trump in the second impeachment trial at the expense of the greater good. It seems they are willing to sacrifice the truth and America’s constitution for their political survival. How can America regain its integrity when trust and respect are thrown out of the window? Who will hold value and accountability above selfish political ambitions? Join in the conversation as Bill and Tom discuss the need for integrity and empathy to keep this nation afloat.
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Sacrificing The Truth To Win At The Expense Of The Greater Good
I continue to be disheartened at what’s happening in and around the second impeachment trial. I shouldn’t be surprised that to an extent I’m not surprised, but to see these senators who have predetermined they’re going to acquit Donald Trump, it appears to me that they are quite simply putting their own political survival ahead of their oath to the constitution and ahead of the truth. That is so frustrating.
We feel helpless because we’re looking for the need for integrity. We’re looking for trust that they’re going to weigh the evidence. At the same time from an individual standpoint, if you think about it this way, when a kid steals a candy bar, you want the punishment not to be too big because then it’s like, “What are you doing there to the kid?” You also don’t want the punishment to be nothing because you caught the kid stealing the candy bar. What happens if the kid steals the candy bar, gets caught and says, “It doesn’t matter?” You look at them and say, “You’re probably right, it doesn’t matter.” You’re not in a place of ethics or value of the ownership of this candy bar and the integrity of maintaining value. America loses value and as a result, respect and trust, if you don’t hold value and accountability. If I’m a senator and I’m from a Red State, I look at the votes that took place during the election, and I’m looking at 73 million people who voted for Donald Trump, that possibly could be problematic if you think in a very monolithic way.
The monolithic way is, “If I vote against Donald Trump, they will not vote for me. I can be primary. They’re going to vote for someone else.” Even though that is a false assumption that many rational and analytical people think is true, it’s not true. What’s true is they have no other place to go. They’re not going to go all the way to the Democrat side. They’re going to look at you and go, “You voted for Donald Trump.” At the same time, “He has still been steadfast with these values that I value. I’m still going to vote for him. I’m going to give him a pass on the mistake or a pass on what his action was even though I didn’t like it.” What the Republicans still can’t get quite yet is that if they all do it, then no one will question their loyalty. They can build the consensus to go, “I’m voting.” There are 5 senators or 7 senators that have been the loyalists or the enablers, the way they’re calling them, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and the rest of the characters that were out in the front of this thing, then they’re left out. All the other folks can say, “They’re over there. I’m over here. They’re a part of the Republican party and they chose to put their loyalty with him, but I’m going to play the long run of the party. I’m not doing the short run.”
All it took for Donald Trump to do to pull in loyalty was threaten to starting a third party. He threatened to start a Patriot Party. All the Republicans got in line and thought, “He’s going to primary us. He’s going to take away.” At the same time, him wielding that amount of power by the threat of doing it is the thing that from a communications standpoint is outstanding, amazing. All they had to do is stand together against them, they would have been clean, and they would have been fine, but they all got picked off one at a time.
I think if enough people stood up to him, they would be free of him because he wouldn’t be able to try to run for office in 2024 again if he decides to. The other thing that’s hard to accept here, Bill, is that they need to be more accountable to the potential voter the next time they run, than they do to the Constitution. I understand the people vote for these representatives, and the people will decide who gets to win, who gets to represent them. The majority of the people will decide that every time. You can elect a president who has said, “Grab them by the p***y or whatever.” You can elect a president who did that before he was president. You have an oath to the Constitution as a senator to be an impartial juror, to be an arbiter of what is true, in this case an impeachment trial. They’re abdicating that responsibility saying, “No, I’m going to be more loyal to the voter, whatever they want me to be instead of the Constitution,” because that’s what’s happening here with this vote with a lot of them.
A lot of these senators aren’t even looking at the videos, they’re keeping their heads down. They’re not watching the presentation. Some that have a different ethical and moral compass are saying, “The Democrats made a great presentation. They’re putting on a good case. The Republican defense for Former President Donald Trump is not doing a good job.” Maybe a few more Republicans are going to vote to convict, but the majority of them, it doesn’t matter what is said by the House managers. Their minds are made up going in there. They would have us all believe nothing can move them so much to get them to vote, to convict because they don’t care about the truth. They don’t care about what this means.
They care about the truth as it relates to the belief of the voter. They’re caring about a version of the truth, a perspective of truth. You and I and others don’t necessarily like this, but the reality is if someone believes something and as Americans, they get to express what that belief is, it might not be true. You can take any racist comment, any trope, any feminist, macho and narcissist thing a person can say. The person is believing that it’s true, therefore it’s true for them. This is why everyone jumped down Kellyanne Conway’s, “This is the alternative fact,” what she meant to say was that, “This is the truth of this voting constituent.” Getting a country and 300 million people, to believe a common truth. When somebody is taking their belief, taking their bias, and politically moving their belief structure to create division through messaging, it’s unsettling. It’s not until the person either has somebody they admire greatly say, “I made a mistake.” They give that person a thing and then they’ll change their belief because that person made the mistake, then they’ll change their belief. If in a court case, Rudy Giuliani says, “I lied to everybody or I’m going to jail over this,” or the judge says to Rudy Giuliani, “Would you like not to go to jail?” “Yes, Your Honor.” “Say the following sentence, ‘The election was held fairly.’” That’s what it takes.
The closest model that we have towards this is in South Africa during the Peace and Reconciliation Trials, where the person that did the bad thing, what they needed to do is to tell the truth to get off. If you tell the truth, the country can heal and get into reconciliation. If you don’t tell the truth, then the country cannot get into truth and reconciliation. America has a very shoddy record of telling the truth regarding racism, regarding all kinds of wars, regarding all kinds of ways that the government and different people have hijacked people to get them to do things against their best interests for the party, for certain individuals. We’ve done a pretty crappy job of being honest and pretty crappy job of being fully accountable with our words and phrases. We’re not good at honesty. America’s honesty and America’s trust have taken a hit on this. For a good 40, 50 years, you used to be able to go to Europe, “You’re from America? Thank you so much for sending your people here to set us free from Nazi Germany.” That goodwill lasted a clean 40 years. It was good.You lose respect and trust if you don't hold value and accountability. Click To Tweet
Now, we’ve got the older generations who were saved and the ones that fought who are dwindling, if not, most of them are gone. That goodwill went with it.
It went with it and we have not done the things that we needed to do to keep it moving forward. We didn’t fight the good war. We didn’t establish something that was going to go better for us in Iraq, Iran and the Middle East. It’s very unsettling. We didn’t build the bridges that allow people, we’ve done things that have burned the bridges. Talk to any Northern Iraqi that was fighting alongside Americans, trusting, helping and supporting, and then Donald Trump pulls out the thing, the Kurds regrettably are hung out there, and Turkey did what it did. It’s very difficult because it’s truth and trust with our allies and the people that we’re fighting for and the things we would like.
For some reason, the integrity piece bothers me, Bill. We’re back to the example of Newt Gingrich that you and I have talked about before on a past episode, which is that Newt Gingrich said point-blank in an interview, “It’s not my job to tell the voters the truth. It’s my job to get them to elect me.” That is every Republican Senator who votes to acquit President Donald Trump and should have to wear a scarlet quote on their jacket that says, “The truth at the expense of,” I don’t know what it would be, something about putting something above the Constitution.
They’ll get scarlet D, Dishonored or the scarlet I, Integrity, scarlet L, Lack of Integrity or something.
The international red circle with the slash through integrity or something. That’s so frustrating. I understand the team sports analogy, but more and more Republicans keep leaving the party, keep coming out and saying, “This is not my Republican party. I’m not a part of this.” You mentioned that Donald Trump threatened in creating the Patriot Party, and that tightened everybody up and got everybody back in line. Look at what happened in the House, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Representative Kevin McCarthy, giving her a complete pass on things that she has said and done that are way out of bounds, certainly in the ethical side of things and moral side of things for a US Representative. Then look at Representative Steve King and what they did to him for making a racist statement. He was removed.
It’s interesting, I saw a piece that was comparing the Democrats to the Republicans, and the Republicans are all about winning at all costs. They keep putting the idea of winning ahead of integrity, ethics and morals that’s happened throughout the whole Donald Trump presidency. The Democrats are not playing by the same rules. The big example of that is how they forced out Al Franken from the Senate. The Democrats were saying, “We’re not going to put winning and closing ranks around our team ahead of integrity in certain ways.”
The public doesn’t understand that this is a public position. It’s a funny sentence. They treat life, and give the person a pass in their public life and their service life. This is a service position. This is something that they’re going to serve others. In the service position, your message has got to serve the best interest of the country. You’re not a private citizen. You’re a public citizen and win at all costs at the expense of. As soon as you do it that way, you’re in trouble at the expense of truth, at the expense of integrity, at the expense of respect, at the expense of trust. It gets bad.
At the expense of my oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s the principle we’re all supposed to be aspiring to uphold here as a citizen, as a representative. I’m not seeing that Donald Trump’s action is very much in alignment with protecting and defending the constitution. In fact, it was an assault on the peaceful transition of power that is explicitly a part of the constitution.
The metaphor that came to my mind was it’s burning the field in order to enrich the soil. It would be interesting to see how this is going to flame out, burn out over the next two election cycles. If you think about it, it’s like Joe Biden has got four years to do what he’s going to do. Those 73 million people that voted against him are going to sit there and go, “Not enough because you were not elected legitimately.” They’ll bring that out for a spin again and it doesn’t go anywhere, “It was rigged and you undid the guy I like.” They’re not even looking at the policy. It’s, “I like his authoritarian conviction, decisive leadership, no-nonsense. He made government simple for me. He didn’t frustrate me with government because he was decisive. I’m not even going to read his policy. I’m not even going to hold them accountable that says, “We’re going to give you a better healthcare system, much better than the rest.” It’s like there’s no plan, “Best rollout ever.” There are no rollout plans. He left it all up to the states and he threw his hands up and didn’t do any government piece to it.
The number is closer to 600,000 deaths. You, from a factual place, just the need for protection, not being met early, the need for safety, not being messaged early. Stop the spread of the virus. People stay home. How about that? How do we protect the economy? Contact tracing. What does contract tracing do? You’ve got to give up a little bit of your freedom for the economy. “I don’t know if I want to do that. I want my freedom and my economy.” It’s like, “I don’t think you’re going to get that one on this one because we’re fighting for the greater good.” Even that phrase ‘The greater good’ doesn’t have a meaning in the United States. If you want to see how weird this is, it’s that weird. It’s that the United States is a country that does not stand for the greater good. Does that even sound congruent?
It sounds like something foreign. It sounds like another country. It sounds like somewhere in the Middle East. It sounds like Afghanistan or Syria. We all appreciate the freedoms as Americans and those are some of our biggest ideals, but they get distorted. People say, “President Donald Trump was exercising his freedom of speech to talk at that rally that day.” The analogy that gets overused is you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. This wasn’t just yelling fire in a crowded theater. This was yelling fire whipping up a crowd into a frenzy and getting them to go set fire to the theater.The government agency is the foundation that has to fight for the greater good. Click To Tweet
Being the police chief and not doing anything about it while it was happening. I think that was the great metaphor that the prosecutor brought forward because just paying attention. Those kinds of marketing and sales language reinforce a person’s brain helps. We’ve got to recultivate America, the USA, stands for the greater good, not the individual success at the expense of the many. That is not what we do and we strive towards rugged individualism as it applies to entrepreneurial-ism. Take it off for a spin, work your butt off, spend 80 hours a week for 5, 7, 10, 15 years, and bring that innovation out, hire and create this great economy, but not inside the government agency that’s the foundation that has to fight for the greater good. That’s not the way to take it off for a spin. I think that might be the title of this show is that, “Are we going to stand for the greater good?” Which means collectively we have to agree upon stuff and not get stuck in the silo of a message from whether it’s an extreme left point of view or an extreme right of point of view. We’re not doing that. It’s not for the greater good. I’m going to say something that’s upsetting and it’s a great rabbit hole to leave a staring down as we close this show. Do we tell our children the entire truth the whole time when they’re growing up? You do not.
We do not tell them the truth because they’re developmentally not ready to hear that fuller truth. We protect them, and then we don’t say things. Are there times would it have been better to tell them the truth because they knew something was up? They asked us about the question for efficiency’s sake, we didn’t tell them because it benefited the need for peace, the need for loyalty or connection between us and our kids. That’s the situation our government is sitting in. It’s the parent, which is the elected official, who doesn’t want to tell the child, their voter, “I’ve got some bad news. We lost this time around. We need to do something different this next time around because it seems like 81 million Americans voted for Joe Biden, and only 73 million Americans voted for Donald Trump and the Republicans.”
The Republicans did pretty well vote-wise in various different districts, so on and so forth. At the same time, we need to tell the truth about it. It might sound like this, “The truth is that I get to be in this office because there are not as many blue voters in this district. We’re lucky to have this voice because if we were in a different state, I would not get elected in that difference.” Adults need to have that nuance going. There are ways the rules are set, which might be in our favor, and some of the rules might not be in our favor. You could call it illegal, but the rules are not in our favor. It didn’t go our way this time. You got called out sliding into second. You were there and you got called out or you didn’t get called out and we got a personal base.
That was great for four years, but it came back around on us. It didn’t go so well. That’s the healthy relationship with the truth. I talk a little bit more about this when we talk about emotional sobriety and how can we have an adult conversation with people. I think that’s something that we can pick up next time is how to have an honest, emotionally sober, empathetic conversation with somebody that’s speaking and thinking in an opposite way than we are. It can go better that way too.
I think that would be a good thing to explore. It might tie into some other video I’ve seen that I sent to you, Bill, regarding Qanon. Maybe those things can come together.
We need to have empathy for the people that are now in the languaging sphere with QAnon. I’m glad you brought that up because we need to have a healthy discussion about how do you take somebody that is so invested and taking it as a personal attack where the person is trying to have a discussion about a thing instead of about a self. It’s not you. It’s not about your belief. It’s about this thing that we can’t see eye-to-eye on. I love you, but the thing that your belief is a little tough for us to talk about. More to come with the QAnon discussion about how communication is used to get people invested in the various different mysteries. They always make it very mysterious, and that’s called the Uncertainty Principle. I’m going to create uncertainty so that, “What’s behind that rock?” A bug. That’s all that’s there. More to come, Tom.
Thanks, Bill. I appreciate it.
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