The Breaking Point

The phrase “something has to give” is a warning that applies to a variety of situations.

In the world of sports, a rift has opened up between the PGA (Professional Golf Association) and the new Saudi-backed golf league.  Players are having to choose between loyalty to the PGA and a boatload of money by joining the Saudi-tour.  Something has to give in the golfing world, and may already be beyond the breaking point, as golfers tempted away by the Saudi-backed tour are being excluded from PGA tournaments.  

A more serious example of “something has to give” relates to the situation in Ukraine.  Various sources point to the tenuous hold that the Ukrainian government has on key cities.  Other sources cite evidence that Russia is close to exhaustion militarily.   Still, other experts warn that European support for Ukraine is waning under the pressure of inflation and higher energy costs. Without a doubt, something has to give with the war in Ukraine.

The phrase “something has to give” came back to me most recently when I was watching the latest January 6 hearing.  There will likely be further hearings in September, but the most recent hearing summarized the case for holding Donald Trump responsible for the assault on our nation’s capitol.  The committee wanted to make it crystal-clear that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy and should never be allowed to hold public office again. 

The committee can make such a statement, but it will be up to the American people to decide.  Many Americans want Trump back in the White House, and it seems that he has decided to run again.  In this fall’s off-year elections and in the 2024 presidential campaign, the battle will be centered on the January 6 insurrection.  On one side will be Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen and the rioters were patriots, and on the other side, will be the evidence that Trump committed crimes against the Constitution and our democracy.

Some side will have to give in this battle between one man’s ego and our nation’s rule of law.  I find it shocking that this battle will be a close one.  In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, Mitch McConnell and Mike McCarthy, the leaders of the Republican Party, nailed Trump to the wall as the inciter of the riot.  There was nothing ambiguous in their comments.  Trump was responsible for an assault on our democracy.  Period.  

But politics is a tricky game, as I found out recently when I pleaded with Indiana’s two senators to watch the hearings and stop supporting the “big lie.”  Of course, I received a thank you from both, but one of the senators added this comment: because so many Americans distrust the results of the 2020 election, more must be done in the future to ensure fair elections. 

I could read between the lines.  Since so many Indiana voters have bought into the “big lie,’ this senator has to pretend that Trump has a legitimate beef.  I don’t think I’m wrong, however, in believing that nearly every Republican senator and representative knows that Trump lost in a fair election, was responsible for the riot, and should never hold office again.

But, in the end, “something will have to give.”  In 2024, democracy will either break Trump’s ego once and for all, or our nation’s rule of law will be broken by one man’s delusion.