Three short books speak to me as we watch impeachment and contemplate the allure of the white supremacist authoritarian Proud Boy “Camp Auschwitz” Big Lie future that has gripped so many of our fellow citizens:
> The Order of the Day. (“Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt, this behind-the-scenes account of the manipulation, hubris, and greed that together led to Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria . . . offers a dire warning for our current political crisis.”)
> Donbas: The True Story of an Escape from the Soviet Union. (“The almost unbelievable, but true story of a teen-age boy’s survival and triumph over hardship in a Russian slave labor camp — ending in a breathtaking escape.”) That he ultimately owned a club in Greenwich Village is beyond crazy — or is it? At our best, America welcomes people yearning to breathe free. As rough as many Americans have it these days, Donbas reminds us how much spectacularly worse it could be.
> Man’s Search for Meaning. (“Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy . . . the most significant psychological movement of our day.”)
How great to live in a country (these books remind us) where no man or woman is above the law . . . where every man or woman has the right to vote . . . where free and fair elections result in the peaceful transfer of power (“the core of democracy’) . . . and where, for the most part, outstanding people of competence, integrity and good will are attracted to public service.
A majority of Republicans in Congress have lately been voting on the side of the Proud Boys Big Lie crowd.
But now that even Trump’s own impeachment lawyer concedes Trump lost the election — that Trump misled millions of good Americans into believing it was stolen and that if they loved their freedom they had to fight like hell to overturn the election — will those Republican senators say, “enough!” and do themselves proud?
COVID-appropriate speech modification. Two minutes. Try hard not to laugh.
** I took those odds.