Of the outcome of the most recent impeachment deliberations there was no doubt. Hence, perhaps, the sense of ennui among the general public. Absent was the sense of outrage in the days leading up to the decision. Don't mistake it for a sense of satisfaction with the way things are; fatalism is what it is.
Still, it would have been pleasant if the Esteemed Congressmen had shown a little more backbone and sprung a surprise. But it is what is.
What was surprising was the absence of money changing hands. Three possibilities spring to mind.
First, that our Esteemed Congressmen have finally learned virtue; and that, of course, is as laughable a story as it comes. On their deathbeds, perhaps; but not before.
Second, and more likely, is that the Palace and our Esteemed Congressmen have learned subtlety. It's a possibility that still raises eyebrows, but a possibility nonetheless. Perhaps they've learned to use checks, or even better, money transfers; these may not have the appeal of cash -- cold hard cash, crisp, neatly stacked in bundles of hundreds, wrapped tightly in a paper band, and heavy in a shopping bag -- but they certainly can't be filmed. Or perhaps they've simply learned not to hand those out when cameras are rolling.
And still there is a third possibility, akin to the first, that no cash needs change hands anymore because our Esteemed Congressmen have become too well trained. It's Pavlovian phenomenon on a national scale. Just as Dr. Pavlov trained his dogs to slaver at the sound of the dinner bell, so has the Palace trained the Esteemed Congressmen of the House to yip and wag and roll over at the mere rustle of impeachment papers. And why not? They've had ample opportunity for conditioning.
Who let the dogs out? No, no, instead one must ask: who let the dogs in?
Beyond our Esteemed Congressmen, what of the Esteemed Bishops? Wise men indeed when it comes to matters of morals; a little less wise and not a little naïve when it comes to the world. Too late to discover their voices, too soft and too refined in their bark. Not unlike the former Top Dog of the House, nicht var?, too late to bite the hand that once fed him.
And maybe, just maybe, beyond that, we've also become conditioned ourselves. Conditioned to slink back and growl inaudibly, content merely to lick our wounds and bruises, and to dig our noses into the Mistress's leftovers, for after all, isn't a poor meal better than no meal at all?
Hence the pervasive sense of fatalism. But lest we become too complacent that things will remain as they are, consider too that fatalism leads to despair and that despair leads to desperation and desperation leads to...well...best not dwell on that.
See you next year. Arf!