What's Tony Thinking

Why Americans Aren’t Paying Attention . . . Because It’s a Kangaroo Court


The House — not, as it is often put, “the Democrats” — has finished presenting its case against former President Trump in his second impeachment trial.

Tomorrow, his legal team will take their turn. But they’ve indicated they expect to wrap up in about three hours, not the sixteen allotted to them.

Why so brief? Maybe because they don’t have much of a defense to make. Or possibly because they believe that whatever they say doesn’t matter much to the outcome of the case. The verdict was sealed long ago. There won’t be seventeen Republicans who stand up to Trump and his legions.

Which points to the reason that Americans as a whole aren’t paying a lot of attention to the impeachment trial — at least that was the report on the news tonight. It isn’t, as the conventional wisdom has it, that we’re just tired of Trump and want to move on — although that is surely true.

No, it’s that we know the trial — though it may be important for the historical record — is not really a fair trial. It’s a kind of kangaroo court which will “come to a predetermined conclusion” (see below). In case you are not familiar with that arcane term, here’s the Wikipedia definition.

“A kangaroo court is a court that ignores recognized standards of law or justice and often carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides. A kangaroo court may ignore due process and come to a predetermined conclusion. The term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority which intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.”

Not sure why the poor kangaroos are getting tagged here . . . maybe it’s their pouch and the idea that the verdict was already safely tucked into it before the trial began.

But think about it. The U. S. Senate as a kangaroo court. A court that ignores, “recognized standards of law or justice . . .” A court which, “intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.”

In these respects, it’s not unlike so many courts in the Jim Crow south, where a black man was on trial before a jury of 12 white men. Except there it was the “guilty” verdict that was pre-determined.

If Americans have sighed, rolled their eyes, and turned off the television or computer feed, the reason may be that the majority of Republican senators have made it a mock trial by their decision to do what they’ve been doing throughout the Trump presidency . . . nothing. Nothing, that is, but enable a bad man.

Why be interested in a trial when the outcome is baked in before the opening gavel? I hope, I pray, I am wrong. I hope that some mighty, and mighty unexpected, wind may stir in the Senate chamber and in the hearts of senators who are possessed by a sudden and unlikely courage and determination to see justice done. But I wouldn’t bet on that happening.



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