I have been watching a major American political party collapse over the course of the past year.

We’ve seen the culmination of several ongoing scandals, involving money at the core, in just the last week.

We have a juvenile understanding of politics in America, on a par with how we follow sports teams and athletes. We are basically fans, giving only secondary consideration to how our team and standard bearers will exercise power once they attain it.

The major parties, Democratic and Republican are more analogous to sports conferences, The National Conference and The American Conference if you will. Within the party/conference are factions analogous to teams, e.g. The Clinton Faction or The Bush Faction. A party faction in power would dole out the largesse, such as cabinet positions, ambassidorships, a ride on the space shuttle, an unmerited burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

The House of Cards began its collapse in 2016 when an outsider ran for President and won. All of a sudden how the parties did business came under scrutiny. Within the administrative state, career civil servants wielded power, unelected power, though many did have a party affiliation. A young civil servant may begin their career 25-30 years ago when one Party gains power, then rise to high levels of authority as the party to which they are affiliated gains or regains power. They are ideaologically sympatico with one party or the other, and will exercise their partisanship on their federal government job, rather than merely at the ballot box.

Were the partisanship just limited to protecting, say, the snail darter or Common Core, the prejudice would be annoying but not overbearing or too detrimental. But what happens when the political faction leaders are corrupt, e.g. they enrich themselves and their families / cronies? The party loyalty of the career bureaucrat enables the corruption of the faction leader to flourish.

Civil servants in the Department of Justice tried to “throw” the 2016 election. They failed in their mission and were caught.

Now corrupt figures in the previous administration (Obama/ Biden) have been discovered. Family members of administration leaders are alleged to have taken millions, perhaps billions, of dollars from potential adversaries of the United States of America.

Discovering corruption is no longer a “gotcha” moment. The question of leadership and service by loyal elected officials has now been raised. There no longer exists any perverse sense of smug satisfaction.

This is a tragedy beyond calculation. The nation has been damaged, on a par with not merely the 9/11 attacks or the Watergate cover-up, but Pearl Harbor. Actually the damage done is more like Fort Sumter, because we’ve done this to ourselves.