Cleaveland: A swan song of confluence of calamities

Dr. Cliff Cleaveland / Staff file photo

Editor's note: This is Clif Cleaveland's last column.

In a 1947 address to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill stated: "Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried, in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried."

In this, its 244th year, our democracy has been uniquely stressed by major, simultaneous calamities.

The year began with the U.S. Senate taking up two articles of impeachment against President Trump. The House of Representatives had approved the articles on a largely party-line vote (230 to 197, with one vote "present") on Dec. 18, 2019. The Senate trial, over which Chief Justice John Roberts presided, began on Jan.