I have returned again and again in recent weeks not just to the Lyceum Address, but also to Albert Camus’ The Rebel—the philosopher’s attempt to grapple with what it means to live morally in an absurd world. For Camus, the foundational human experience is one of outrage: a “fruitless struggle with facts,” an “incoherent pronouncement” of pain and frustration with injustice.
Camus’ reasoning can apply to an almost endless range of situations, from frustration with a corrupt political regime to rage at the inevitability of death and the silence of God. Much is absurd about the Trump administration in a colloquial sense: Consider the spectacle of a tweeting commander in chief, the most powerful man in the world spending his time insisting on falsehoods and sniping over obvious insults. But his presidency is also absurd in the philosophical sense. What better to emphasize the gap between the desire for the Constitution to mean something and the reality of the document as some words on paper than the scene of Donald J. Trump swearing an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”?
The Constitution is what Camus would call a “closed universe”—a space of “coherence and unity” in an incoherent world, in which words carry weight and actions have consequences. Trump’s disrespect for the law is a reminder of how fragile that structure of meaning can be. For that reason, there is a real service in using impeachment proceedings to push back against the notion that, in the parlance of the internet, “lol nothing matters.”
Impeaching Trump Is a Refusal to Accept the Unacceptable – The Atlantic: