Fried Chicken, Pizza and Impeachment

We went out to the new Pizza Ranch on Saturday night to eat and discovered happily that 2/3 kids were actually free and that there's a new Chocolate Cactus Bread that's actually pretty damn tasty. About half way through the night when I was waiting to see if they were going to add more Cactus Bread to the line when it hit me: I was sitting in an all you can eat fried chicken and pizza buffet and they were playing Christian Rock. In short, it was about as Peak America as you can get. I mentioned this to the Missus and she got a chuckle out if it, but then as I grabbed a slice of the Peach Cactus Bread and another one of the Cherry Cactus Bread (both delicious- for real, apart from the chicken, the Cactus Bread is the best part of Pizza Ranch) it hit me again.

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but looking around the Pizza Ranch and you saw everyone: old people, young people, families, immigrants- hell, the local Sudanese community must really like Pizza Ranch because there were ladies in head scarves everywhere- and you know what? No one was talking about President Trump. No one was talking about immigration or the economy or critical race theory or racism or any of the other outrages that sweep the internet and poison our discourse on a daily basis.

They just wanted to eat some chicken and some pizza. That's it.

We'd all do a lot better, quite honestly, if we all put away our phones turned off the news and went out to eat some chicken and some pizza, in my opinion- but it's those in between moments, away from the screens and the hustle and bustle of modern life that the Real America jumps out at you. Away from the screens and the internet who knows what those people in the Pizza Ranch think about anything, anyway- especially impeachment.

I never actually thought I'd see another impeachment in my lifetime, but roughly twenty years later here we are again. There's a multiplicity of problems with impeachment: as a concept it's meant to a method to hold the President accountable for any high crimes or misdeameanors they may commit while they're in office- which is fine and arguably necessary, but unlike a simple criminal trial which at the very least has a pretextual foundation of being about facts and evidence and not opinions, impeachment involves facts and evidence but is really an inherently political act- and politics are driven by public opinion.

So, I don't really want to dwell on what the President may or may not have done. The media is going to scream bloody murder about it and somewhere in this process, we might get a fact or two that resembles something close to the truth. Do I know what's going to happen? Nope.

I'll give Nancy Pelosi credit though: the timing of this is both brilliant and dangerous. In an off year, it'd be a lot easier for members of Congress to ignore public opinion. They can make a decision and they have time to correct it if their constituents don't like it. Heading into a Presidential election year, however-- this is going to rise or fall solely based on public opinion. And it matters- this isn't a President halfway through his second term- he's coming to the end of his first term and the stakes are high here. No one can blow this off. No one fulminate against it, though undoubtedly some will. Really and truly, they're going to have to take this seriously both the process and what the poll numbers are telling them.

And that's the conundrum of it all. Can we really know what the people think? I mean I'm still pretty convinced that polls can give us some sort of an idea- but increasingly Americans live in separate spheres. There's Twitter. There's the Mainstream Media/Cable News/Coastal Papers. There's the capital E Establishment. There's College Towns. There's Uber Blue Progressive Cities.  Uber Red Conservative States. Everyone think they're entitled to their own reality these days- watch Fox News and you'd think you're living in one country, change the channel to MSNBC and you'll find yourself in an entirely different one.

Complicate it even more: there's probably statistically significant amount of people out there that genuinely don't give a shit about politics.

Given those factors- can polls on impeachment be accurate? If people are increasingly unwilling to look past their own internal biases and are convinced that their worldview is the correct one would that not skew the results of any poll at least somewhat? I think it would.

Which brings us back to that Pizza Ranch. If the act of observing a phenomenon changes it, you can't ask the people in that Pizza Ranch what they think about impeachment. That only drops everyone back into the crouch of their own internal biases. Yet, collectively- because they were a fairly diverse group, so I'm going to say that's a fairly decent slice of America- they hold all the answers to the impeachment question.

Do I think they're going to impeach President Trump? Yes, I do. Do I think the Senate Trial is going to be absolutely ba-fucking-nanas? Absolutely it is. Do I think the media has a gigantic collective boner just thinking about the amount of outrage and clicks it can generate from this? I absolutely do. They're gonna beat this horse until it's chunky salsa.

But the biggest question of all: do I think President Trump will be removed from office? That I don't know-- like I said, give Nancy Pelosi some credit- the timing is both brilliant and dangerous. Whether there's anything to this Biden angle or not is immaterial- the perception that the Democrats are impeaching a sitting President to obfuscate any shenanigans on the part of a prospective nominee of their own party is going to kill this deader than dead and pretty much ensure that the President is re-elected. However, if this Ukraine thing turns out to be the genuine article. If they get people with direct knowledge to testify in front of a camera where everyone can see them and if it's all that it is cracked up to be (three big, but not out of reach 'ifs') then at a certain point, the Republican Party is going to have to make a decision and I think if it reaches that tipping point, then we'll probably see President Pence.

Do I think it'll get to that point? Damned if I know- all I know is that Pizza Ranch makes good chicken.


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