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Show Trial

  • November 29, -0001
The term, "show trial," came into the vernacular during the Soviet period. In a show trial an innocent is dragged before the court for a hearing and sentencing that usually led to years in the gulag. The accused was doomed before the opening arguments. The judge already knew what he had to decide. The charges, arguments, and whatever adjudication may have ensued was all for show. The State would get its way, no matter who had to suffer.

Watching the President's health care summit I had some of that same feeling. The President and his Democratic colleagues weren't there to talk about reaching some compromise on health care. They knew what they wanted and what they were going to endorse. The arguments put forward by Republicans were all for show. In the end, none of them was welcomed as contributing to the Administration's thinking.

The health care summit was a show trial, and Mr. Obama admitted as much when, right at the end, he announced that they would give it maybe, oh, six weeks - to see if the Republicans would come around, that is - and then they'd do whatever they had to do to get this deal done as they want it done. That is a show trial. And what it shows me is that this Administration is so full of its own sense of absolute rightness, that it wouldn't be open to a fresh idea on health care or anything else if it came on a bolt of lightning from on high.

Pride, we know, comes before the fall. Tyranny comes with show trials. Mr. Obama is not a tyrant, but he definitely strikes me as one who has convinced himself he's got it all figured out and if he just holds the line, people will either finally see it his way or he'll do whatever it takes to get his way anyway. This is governing by attrition.

Happily, as the President reminded us in his closing remarks, elections will be held this year. And he seems to think he can beat those, too. Well, we'll see. But no Christian watching the health care summit can come away thinking that was anything but a staged event, designed to wow the electorate - bi-partisan, in front of the cameras, lots of discussion - and to cow the Republicans. I see no evidence that anything remotely approaching the will of God was in the President's mind or on his agenda. And yet, didn't he take an oath to God?

T. M. Moore

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