HONOR AND CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS – Marilyn Armstrong

From the Washington Post, these are Cohen’s quotes, not something “made up” by the writer. I’m sure he had help with it because these words have the ring of a professionally written and carefully polished speech.

That being said, I think this sums up much of what many of us feel:

“Mr. Trump is an enigma,” Cohen said in his opening statement. “He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”

He went on to say:

“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great,” Cohen said. “He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.’”

America. The greatest infomercial in political history? Also, probably, the biggest dive from greatest to pettiness, racism, ignorance, cruelty, and rampant destruction of what have always been the beauties of our world.

From the Post:

Cohen has insisted that “blind loyalty” is what drove him to commit crimes on Trump’s behalf. Federal prosecutors have contended that Cohen “relished the role of ultimate fixer” and that he was “driven by a desire to further ingratiate himself with a potential future president — for whose political success Cohen himself claimed credit.”

“Taken together, these offenses reveal a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy,” prosecutors wrote in a memorandum to a federal judge before Cohen was sentenced. “His motivation to do so was not borne from naiveté, carelessness, misplaced loyalty or political ideology. Rather, these were knowing and calculated acts — acts Cohen executed in order to profit personally, build his own power, and enhance his level of influence.”

I can understand why many people would be hesitant to believe the words of a man who, in the name of ambition, would follow a man he knew to be bad in every way that counted.

On the other hand, these people are defending the exact same bad guy and I will bet that every one of them knows how evil Trump really is. They aren’t doing the right thing. They are doing the politically expedient “thing” which they know to be wrong.

Photo: NBC News

I find it hard to fathom anyone having that level of ambition, yet I see it everywhere. Even back in college, there was always one little wormy kid who would do anything to grab the job you were trying to get — and this was back when we weren’t even paid for the work. It was all a matter of personal honor.

Too many people have no honor. These days, it would seem that more than ever, people have no honor — just a personal agenda. Furthermore, they don’t comprehend the concept of honor. They think it’s about ambition and flags … but it isn’t and never was.

From left to right: The four sisters: my mother (Dorothy), Aunt Pearl, Aunt Kate, and Aunt Yetta

Time for a personal story. In my freshman year of college, I met a boy and we fell in love. I was 16. He was 17. He wasn’t a virgin — but he was barely not a virgin. I was a virgin — I was 16, after all — so we went to be together in a borrowed apartment and it was wonderful. It was. He eventually turned out to be more than a little psycho, so while we had an affair that lasted many years, we did not marry. Oddly, he shared Garry’s birthday. As did another boyfriend from that period.

I know we all don’t believe in “fate,” but that’s pretty fateful. I digress. Back to the story.

I actually told my mother about it. You have to understand that my mother was all in favor of modern sex and not being held to old-fashioned standards, so when she went completely bonkers, I was baffled, boggled, and bewildered. I said: “What about …”

And she said: ” Not MY daughter!”

That was when I realized that your beliefs and your BELIEFS didn’t have to be the same. Mom decided I needed to talk to the grand dame of her sisters — my Aunt Kate. My mother’s oldest sister.

Left to right: Aunt Pearl, my mother (Dorothy), Aunt Ethel (Uncle Herman’s wife) and Aunt Kate

She was born in “the old country” and was the only member of the household who still kept Kosher. She remained Jewish without ever casting aspersions on family members who had gone another way.

I adored my Aunt Kate. She was beautiful, a dead ringer for Katherine Hepburn as a young woman. Even older, she had cheekbones to die for. But beyond that, she was deeply and passionately kind. There was inherent goodness about her I have known rarely through the years.

I told her what had been going on. She listened. Quietly. Then she said: “But what about honor?”

Honor?

I had never considered honor as part of the love/sex/passion thing. Nobody had used the word, not even my mother. It was a concept that swept in from the past and put the issue into an entirely new perspective. And I never forgot that for some people, it’s about their version of religion or faith. For others, there are just “rules” you follow because “you’re supposed to follow the rules.” For Aunt Kate, it was about honor. And after that, I never forgot to consider whether or not what I was doing was honorable.

Shortly after that conversation, I pointed out (proudly) to Aunt Kate that I was still wearing the fake fur coat she’d give me when I was in Junior High School because I loved it. Horrified that I could still be wearing that old coat, in the middle of Manhattan, she pulled off her coat and gave it to me. I tried really hard to give it back, but it stuck. Until I moved to Israel when I got rid of most of my heavy winter clothing, it was my “good coat.” It was a fake beaver coat. No fur, just poly whatever, but it looked and felt like the real thing and had a wonderful swing to it.

We had lunch at a hotel dining room and I tucked my arm into the crook of her arm and we walked locked together down the avenues of Manhattan.

Honor.

That’s what is missing from today’s America. Our sense of honor is gone. We stand naked and shivering in the winds of ambition with no moral code. There’s no one worse than us, though there are a few probably at least as bad other places.

Our days of lecturing the rest of the world about right and wrong are, I think, over. Or at least over for the next 50 years while we try to repair our image. Maybe longer, depending on whether or not the chaotic Democratic Party can collect itself and think nationally and rationally.

Let us find honor for all rather than self-aggrandizement for a few.

Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

25 thoughts on “HONOR AND CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS – Marilyn Armstrong”

      1. I had to think of Mark Anthony’s speech at Ceaser’s funeral requested by Brutus and the other conspirators, calling the murderers all honourable men in such a way that it was clear that they were not honourable at all.

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        1. This issue is not exactly “new.” Shakespeare is full of it, too. Honor among thieves is an old, old one, too. What do you do when your whole country is being run by thieves who are honorable only to each other?

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  1. Canada was having its own testimony yesterday. Our Prime Minister and many other’s in the PMO and cabinet were bullying our Attorney General, and indigenous woman, to let a multinational off the hook from criminal charges.
    It was a bomb shell.

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    1. What happened to our world? We were doing so well and now? Trashed again. We’ve been watching “The West Wing” on Netflix and two candidates are debating for the presidency — and the issues are IDENTICAL to the ones we are still arguing about today. I had thought we’d made a little progress, but from what I’m seeing, we are in the same place we were 25 and 50 years ago. Exactly the same place.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If we were devoid of honor, no one would be objecting to anything that’s gone on with the current White House. But…honor as an ideal has always been a rarity, I think, looking at history. Cohen might have had a real crisis of conscience, he might not have, he might be trying to save his bacon as much as he can, I have no idea what his actual motives are. Saving his bacon seems plausible but so does a crisis of conscience. IMO Ambition is a nasty thing and when it’s hovered around me — even as far as being a novelist — it’s always made me feel icky which is partly why I’m where I am today. I have a book I think would sell. It has everything. Sex, homosexuality, drugs, everything, but I’m not selling it. Honor.

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    1. I know that feeling well. Being honorable is expensive.

      Mind you there are lots of individuals who ARE honorable — but they don’t seem to be in the government and if you suggest it to them, they run screaming in the other direction. I suppose I should have made a clearer distinction between personal and collective “national” honor. But this took more than half a day to write and at some point, I said “enough.” I’ll probably go back, work more on it and then rerun it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Couldn’t reply/comment earlier as I had no internet for the day…..
    That was what we spoke about over breakfast and lunch: Truth and Honour!!!! Two words of not much value any longer and also How can those people live with themselves and others with them?! And the hatred. And the badmouthing. And the bad press for an entire people, you Americans – when it’s always only some few and it spoils the reputation of a whole nation.
    BEST post ever – so true, so insightful, so beautiful too with your thoughts on honour in your family. A post worthy of being printed and framed – to be re-read and re-thought for future lessons. And a lot of wishful thinking!

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