Many years ago I had a friend who described the time in the late evening when the squalling children were put to bed as the “Grown-Up Time” of the day. No longer did every daily action and reaction need to be dictated by the needs of those too immature to understand that the world did not revolve around their needs, whims, and moods. Adult thought could finally be allowed to flourish, and hopefully this would result in a better life for all.
I cannot help but feel a similar sense of relief—and hope—now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his final report regarding allegations that Donald Trump or members of his team colluded (a word at once devoid of specificity yet strangely ominous) with the Russian government and its agents to subvert the 2016 Presidential election, which Mr. Mueller found to have no basis in fact. Given the sketchy provenance of the accusations, which lead right back to efforts by Democrats to stop Donald Trump in 2016, it seemed likely all along that the whole affair would add up to a pile of mouse droppings—and this is exactly what has now happened. Democrats and other enemies of President Trump will now, of course, devote themselves to parsing the full text of the report—scrutinizing every comma, noun, and adjective in hopes of the whiff of a crime—but the end result will certainly be the same.
Now we can hopefully have some Grown-Up Time.
I cannot help but believe that the swirl of concocted scandal surrounding this whole episode weakened President Trump’s negotiating position with foreign friends and adversaries, ate up enormous amounts of time that an incredible range of government officials should have been devoting to substantive problems, and further corroded faith in our democratic processes. There is healing needed, and I can only hope that both President Trump and his opponents will now act with appropriate restraint concerning this unfortunate business. This is a time for neither gloating nor glowering. We must now move forward toward discussing and finalizing critical military, trade, healthcare, immigration, budget, educational, administrative, and technology laws and policies that have been smothered by the onerous weight of Russia-gate and its companion imbroglios.
It is, of course, an open question whether those accustomed to infantile screeching can actually embrace Grown-Up Time. Just as it is sometimes difficult to leave a bad marriage because you have grown strangely accustomed to the daily dysfunction and no longer recognize how destructive it is, so will it be difficult for many journalists and politicians to reorient to a reality that does not feature endless jabbering about crackpot theories, unsubstantiated rumors, and overblown innuendo. Nonetheless, we must find a way to dial down the irrational tone of so much of what has passed for actual news over the past couple of years so that we can refocus our attention on matters more worthy of our attention.