“I went home with the waitress the way I always do. How was I to know she was with the Russians too?” That was the opening of Warren Zevon’s 1978 rock classic, "Lawyers, Guns and Money," in which an American rich kid asks daddy for legal help, weapons, and cash to bail him out of international crises of his own making.
Zevon’s gonzo verse—written during the Cold War—sounds strangely prescient these days, when Russian spying is a daily news event in the US. But his lyrics are not as shocking as the weekly accounts of Washington corruption, which remind us that the political swamp has been restocked in the last 18 months with ever more primitive life forms. A treasure trove for evolutionary biologists.
If you don’t live in the States and don’t pay attention to the political news here—for which I can only congratulate you—you’re probably unaware that our President’s associates are embroiled in multiple felonies. (This includes his former Campaign Chairman who has been found guilty of bank fraud and tax fraud and his personal lawyer who has pleaded guilty to illegal campaign donations and tax evasion.) Many of the President's attorneys—mindful of Zevon's song—have had to retain their own legal counsel.
But the worst (or best) is yet to come, given the many and credible allegations that our Commander-in-Chief is implicated in witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and conspiring with a foreign power to tilt a US election in his direction. And the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization has just turned state’s evidence. This hasn’t been the SOL (Summer of Love) for the POTUS.
Also, Robert Woodward, one of the best investigative journalist in the business (who helped bring down President Nixon in the Watergate scandal 44 years ago) has released his bombshell book, Fear, that documents the serious doubts that the President’s inner circle in the White House repeatedly express to each other about his “fitness to serve” and, explicitly, his mental stability.
But is the Congressional Branch of the US Government concerned? Well, not to our knowledge. The Sound of Silence is mostly what we hear from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate. When put on the spot, they and other defenders of the Prez cleverly point out that nobody’s perfect—and that his captious nitpickers aren’t putting his apparent crimes in the proper perspective: the stock market’s rising and (except for workers’ wages) business is pretty good. I guess I'm just missing the big picture.
The lesson here? Those classic rock lyrics that have wormed their way into your limbic system over the years can occasionally provide useful advice.
For an earlier post on Warren Zevon check here.