Robert Koehler: Trump, you might say, is the logical consequence of a passive, spectator citizenry: a “leader” who tweets the unconscious impulses — the fears and hatreds — of his supporters and delivers one comforting scapegoat after another for the public to revile.
Robert Koehler: Both victim and defendant must choose to be a part of this process, which involves, in lieu of traditional court proceedings, the convening of a peace circle in which all those impacted by the crime are given the chance to talk about how the incident affected them.
Robert Koehler: Only beyond the context of war are there any options at all. Only beyond the context of war does humanity have any hope of avoiding suicide.
Robert Koehler: The Marshall Islands, which had gained independence in 1986, filed a lawsuit, both in in the International Court of Justice and U.S. federal court, against the nine nations that possess nuclear weapons.
Robert Koehler: Whether or not he’s impeached, or removed from office via the 25th Amendment, his effect on the country won’t go away. Trump can’t be undone, any more than an act of terror — or war — can be undone.
Robert Koehler: Apparently protecting national security also means forgetting the Korean War, or never facing the reality of what we did to North Korea from 1950 to 1953.
Robert Koehler: Ever since 9/11, I’ve been driven by an urgency to understand why we as a nation accepted Bush’s war of revenge so enthusiastically and felt so little empathy toward the innocent, sitting-duck populations we were about to carpet bomb.
Robert Koehler: Despite the horror and violence and hatred, this moment, too, is part of our world — and reaches beyond itself, reaches into the heart of every occupant of Planet Earth. I don’t know what it changes, but I know it opens a door.
To my ongoing perplexity and despair, what is never part of the story is the concept of karma: what goes around comes around.
Suddenly I’m thinking, yet again, about George McGovern, who said as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president in 1972: “I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan.”
Robert Koehler: Suddenly the U.S. president is Julius Caesar (or maybe Caligula) with orange hair, hugging fellow tyrants, ramping up the military budget, decapitating social spending, bombing Fourth World civilians without restriction and making America great in the only way he can imagine: “fighting to win.”
So maybe war — with its unquestioned, trillion-dollar annual drain from the U.S. budget — remains “a kind of religion,” but only if the public at large can be kept at a distance from its stench and realness.
Robert Koehler: Could there be a bigger contrast — in attitude, style, comportment, philosophy? What irony that the two names are now linked in history: Donald Trump forever the successor to Barack Obama, forever the orange-haired blot on his legacy, forever the surrealistic next chapter of the American narrative.