Donald Trump does the right thing: Let's return to those opening lines from Robert Frost's last great poem:
Back out of all this now too much for us,Plainly, we're currently living in a time which is "now too much for us"—a time which isn't "simple" at all.
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you'll let a guide direct you
Who only has at heart your getting lost...
Our three million local, state and federal laws are bewilderingly complex. So are our society's three million "checks and balances."
The most basic facts—about health care spending, let's say—are, by system-wide agreement, never reported or discussed. There are a wide array of players, foreign and domestic, in the various Trump/Rudy undertakings.
Then too, we have our cable nets, which offer a wide array of contradictory accounts of the day's leading events.
Consider something we the people were told last night on Fox. The report concerned the amended testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
On liberal cable, the amended testimony was treated as "explosive." Beyond that, the amended testimony is described in this morning's featured front-page reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post.
In those precincts, the testimony was extremely significant. But people who were watching Fox received a vastly different impression at roughly 8:15 last night.
Tucker Carlson was on the air. The full report went like this:
CARLSON (11/5/19): Well, House Democrats released transcripts of the testimonies of two key figures in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.That was the full report. On MSNBC, the new transcripts were explosive. But for people watching Fox, there were "a lot of crickets over here on Capitol Hill."
Now, we're not going to spend the next hour talking about this, because it's not that interesting. We want to bring you up to date on what has happened. And so to do that, we're joined tonight by Fox's Gillian Turner. Gillian!
TURNER: Hey, Tucker. So these two transcripts released by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff today are really the first we're seeing of, you know, what people who have firsthand direct knowledge of how President Trump has been conducting foreign policy towards Ukraine. And they're pretty telling, Tucker.
E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, asked about a meeting in the Oval Office with Secretary Perry and Kurt Volker, says President Trump repeatedly directed him to talk to Rudy Giuliani, saying, "He wasn't even specific about what he wanted us to talk to Giuliani about. He just kept saying: Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy."
But he also says he called President Trump back in September and asked him point blank, What do you want from Ukraine? To which President Trump answered, "I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do the right thing."
Now, another key exchange from Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker's testimony highlights these major policy disagreements between President Trump and the diplomatic corps over U.S. military involvement in foreign countries.
Volker was asked about moves to beef up Ukraine's military defenses against Russia while he was serving as Special Envoy. The question goes, "How do you reconcile that with the decision to freeze military assistance to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine? Why did that not strike you as highly problematic to U.S. national security or to our national security interest?"
To which Volker answers, "It did strike me as problematic and therefore I acted immediately to argue that this has to be reversed and we have to keep the assistance going."
Tucker, the next big ticket item everybody here on Capitol Hill is now waiting for is testimony from John Bolton that's slated for Thursday. So far, his attorney has not said he is going to be a no show, so there is a little bit of hope that he is going to appear here today.
But if the track record so far this week is anything to go by, we're getting a lot of crickets over here on Capitol Hill.
Sundland said Trump had done the right thing. Volker said that he himself had behaved the same way. That was the full report.
It's impossible to run a modern society when news and information are dispensed in such ways. The most remarkable fact of all may be this:
As a general matter, big news orgs like the New York Times don't report, or critique, the various things which get said at orgs like Fox. When millions of people are given reports like the one we've posted above, that isn't regarded as news.
Early in this century, we repeatedly said that crazy claims by Rush and Sean should be reported as news. When millions of people are misinformed in significant ways, that needs to be treated as news.
According to the Atlantic's Jezelle Lanie, Frost's poem depicts an enormous grief about the way "humans’ carefully built structures of order and meaning must give way to the indifferent natural laws of death, erosion, and decay."
The walls of our failing society have been crashing into the sea for decades now. A modern society simply can't function in the face of such stressors as these.