Once one was able to get over one's perfectly natural feelings of horror, rage, disgust, contempt, disdain, grief, despair, frustration, heartbroken disbelief, bitter disillusion and stupefied abhorrence there was something fascinating about the Republicans' utter support of their Republican president during his Senate impeachment ''trial''.
One's inner-anthropologist was excited by this show of pure tribalism. She (for my inner anthropologist is a professorial woman) asked probing questions about tribalism and our species famous susceptibility to it.
She wondered if the harmless forms of tribalism so many of us show, perhaps in our sports-fandom tribalism (she pointed to how I have a whole wardrobe of clothes, even socks, in my footy teams colours, and even have my footy team's official merchandise garden gnome in my rockery) is a chip off the same evolved block as the mad, savage tribalism we see in politics.
Evolutionary psychologists diagnose that we have evolved to have powerful tribal instincts because once upon a time when the world was utterly savage, unattached individuals had no chance of survival. Banding and bonding together, fanatically, (and being capable of unquestioning belief in the truism that other tribes wanted to kill and eat us) was a matter of life and death. It is disappointing, though, that the under-evolved Republicans, in their fear and loathing of the Democrats tribe, are still so Cro-Magnonesque about things.
Pessimistic analysts of the human condition think that our evolved tribalism dooms us to be always a species that goes to war with other tribe-nations. Those of us who have evolved to have scarcely a tribal bone left in our bodies look on in despair at the under-evolved, knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnon members of our species like the USA's Republicans, important movers and shakers of their already notoriously belligerent, invasion-mad tribe-nation.
Republican senators voted en bloc (save for one eccentric chip off that bloc) that their Trump was not guilty of either of the two sins he was accused of. And this kind of tribalism is so ingrained among party political Americans that when just one Republican senator, ultra-Christian and conscience-tortured Mitt Romney, did find Trump guilty of abuse of power, he, Romney, became the first senator in US history to vote to remove from office a president from that senator's same party.
How powerful the tribal ethos! How quickly loyal tribe members toss aside their everyday moral compasses when the tribe's jungle drums stoke a primitive suite of Cro-Magnon instincts! It is when those loyalties to the tribe require smashing and throwing away one's moral compasses (so for example enabling our Coalition tribe to imagine that its Angus Taylors and Bridget McKenzies are noble beings) that tribalism becomes unnerving.
The Republican Party's tribal support of Trump, whatever he does, is almost impossible to satirise. But the US journal The Onion (America's finest news source) has satirically nailed Republicans' shameful Trump-tribalism with the news story ''GOP Leaders Move Goalposts On Opposing Trump To Him Being Filmed Masturbating On U.S. Flag In Arlington Cemetery''.
The piece satirises the Republicans' tribal readiness to forgive Trump for anything (including, in the real world, such things as his ''grab em by the pussy'' misogyny and his Ukraine skulduggery) because he is the tribe's chief. And so it comes to pass in the piece in The Onion (which you must read for yourselves since it contains material I cannot repeat in a family column) that even in the event of Trump being proven to have done something so unseemly with the American flag, there would be circumstances (such as the President, bless him, saying he had only meant it as a harmless joke) in which the GOP would overlook it.
Although I belong quasi-fanatically to one or two sports-fan tribes and to a tribe of Shakespeare enthusiasts, I believe that political tribes are somehow something else. I could never belong to one. Whenever as a reporter I have attended (my flesh creeping) a Liberal Party event, I have felt myself among a tribe of capitalist Daleks.
The Young Liberals seem, usually, a tribe of Young Daleks, but they do give us a few laughs - of which we should be ashamed, for it is always wicked to laugh at the afflicted.
And so I was ashamed when I gave an involuntary guffaw on reading in the press that Liberal Party scandal-tinted apparatchik Josh Manuatu has so awe-inspired local Young Liberals that he is honoured this very month with the gong of Life Membership of the ACT Young Liberals.
I am sceptical of all gongs and honours (few of the listed Australia Day recipients seem to me to be deserving) but can there be, anywhere on Earth, an honour more inconsequential than this one bestowed on Manuatu?
And as well as its inconsequence there is a tragic surreality about it since once cannot be (unless one is Peter Pan) Young for Life. When Mr Manuatu is old and wizened he will be, still a designated Young thing, a living (Liberal) visual oxymoron, as paradoxical as a black snowflake, a unicorn with two horns, a mermaid with legs.