Good Monday morning. I do hope everyone had a good weekend. Yesterday I was able to get some writing done and then worked on the quilt I’m making for myself.
The centerpiece is a t-shirt from the town where one of my sister’s lives. The blue piece is from a shirt that my mother used to wear a lot. And the other piece is part of a towel that was a wedding present. My Uncle Henry came up the front walk of my father’s house carrying a large pile of bath towels, all different colors and patterns, and handed them over. It was the most unusual present my husband and I received, and somehow this one towel survived for over 50 years now. I decided it needed a place of honor.
IN THE NEWS
Since the impeachment investigation is starting now in Congress, I wanted to understand a little more about the process and what constitutes an impeachable offense.
According to the Constitution, the President and Vice President, as well as all civil servants of the government, can be removed from office following an impeachment for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Like many other Americans, I saw “misdemeanors” from a criminal justice viewpoint, but according to a report at CBN News, misdemeanors in the case of impeachment is different.
Here is just a bit from that report:
While treason and bribery seem relatively clear cut, the phrase “other high crimes and misdemeanors” is not.
That leads to serious questions about what constitutes an impeachable offense.
Thomas Jipping, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation explained it for CBN News. “It is a little bit of an odd phrase, and those words might mean something to people today – they might hear the word misdemeanor and think that it’s a minor, little offense. But it’s a phrase that’s been around in the law both here and in England for a few hundred years actually.
“It identifies a category, a very narrow category of serious misconduct by a public official. Not necessarily criminal, but in a sense it’s an offense against the public trust, it’s an offense against the political system, it’s kind of a betrayal of the people in such a way that that official ought to be removed now.”
(More about how the impeachment process works from The Heritage Foundation)
There’s been plenty of misconduct, offenses against the political system, and betrayal of the people in recent years, and sadly that hasn’t been a new thing with Trump in office. He’s just taken it to new highs. Or lows.
Political corruption and betrayal are part of the plot of a television series Designated Survivor that I’ve been watching on Netflix. Since I’m not able to watch more than one or two episodes of a show, I tend to follow one straight through all episodes and I’m well into season two.
As a lower-level cabinet member, Tom Kirkman, the Housing and Urban Development secretary is the Designated Survivor when the president and most of the Cabinet are killed in a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address. Kirkman is promoted to leader of the free world. Thrust into his new position of power, he struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos.
The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as Kirkman, a character of high principles and moral integrity. He is mild-mannered at first, due to the shock of suddenly being president of the United States; and he reminds me of Jefferson Smith in the Frank Capra movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Both characters try to rise above the normal political maneuverings and games on Capital Hill, and that appeals to the idealist in me. I truly wish there was a real Jefferson Smith or Tom Kirkland who could also rise above.
Is there hope for that? What do you think about the impending impeachment hearings?
I recently started reading a book that I just couldn’t get into. Not because of plot. There was a lot going on in the story, with a mystery looming. Not because of the lack of interesting characters. There were plenty. But I finally realized that the problem was the lack of motivation for actions. Things were happening, but they seemed to be happening more because the author wanted them to, rather than because the characters needed them to.
MOTIVE: a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.
“a motive for his murder”
Here’s what writer and blogger Kristen Lamb has to say on the topic:
Motive is a key ingredient that differentiates stories that sizzle versus stories that fizzle, namely because we all want to know ‘WHY?’.
Why does a character want this or that? What drives them? Who would do such a thing? How did a character become a certain way? Can a character change?
A character’s central motive is the key that unlocks our interest. It’s less about what a character is doing or not doing and more about WHY. If we (the audience) don’t understand or can’t relate to a character’s motivation?
We can’t care.
This is why ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ characters are so dull. Humans can’t authentically connect to ‘wholly noble’ or ‘wholly evil’ characters who are for good simply because it’s ‘right’ or or evil ‘just because.’
Regardless what any character wants to achieve—or conversely, wants to avoid at all cost—we (readers) must understand and be able to empathize the underlying motive driving their choices.
Fiction, at its most fundamental level is always cause and effect. We can’t have effects without causes and if we do? Readers will call FOUL.
Check out her full blog post for more about motive.
Have you read a book recently that has poor motivation, or good motivation? Do share.
That’s all for me for today, folks. I hope today is the start of a great week for all. Be safe. Be happy.