The Powerful Impotence of Merrick Garland

Sam McKenzie Jr.
3 min readJul 20, 2022


I’d like to think that Merrick Garland is getting ready to indict Trump. I dream of Trump in handcuffs with the same sad crying face as Jim Bakker. For all the upheaval he brings, I need to see Trump disheveled. And then there’s reality, also known as history.

History tells me that Garland probably won’t indict Trump. And I’m sure Garland probably has some reason about neutrality and appearances that appears neutral and rational. That sort of neutrality and rationality feels a lot like “not racist.” The end result is that once again whiteness gets away with violence.

Garland is part of the long history of powerful whites refusing to hold other powerful whites accountable. In Garland, we have another northern white allowing southern whites to do whatever the hell they want for the sake of the white union. Preserving the order of the white union remains most important here.

For those of us who want to see Trump get screwed, Garland is the great cock-block. The great cock-block is also known as “the great stumbling block.” Among history’s characters, Jeff Sessions is “the Ku Klux Klanner,” William Barr is “the White Citizen’s Council-er,” and Garland is “ the white moderate.”

And you know what that means. That means we have another Joe Manchin in charge. Or maybe he’s worse than Manchin. I think Manchin at least voted against Trump during the impeachment trials.

Part of what makes this impotence powerful is that Garland is a powerful person. He’s well-endowed with the powers to do what needs to be done. And yet, he hasn’t. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t. But in this moment, Garland is willfully impotent. We got a lot of people in power who are willfully ignorant, but I think the willfully impotent ones are worse.

James Baldwin may disagree because he said, “ignorance aligned with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

Although I cuss people out online, I don’t want to call Garland ignorant. But he is at least ignoring some parts of history. And to the extent that ignorance is related to ignoring history, Baldwin’s quote applies. I wish I could ask Baldwin about the impotent.

Maybe impotence aligned with power is the most disgusting enemy justice can have. For certain, there’s nothing ferocious about Garland. Milquetoast is the word. Garland’s refusal to rise reads like Trump and Putin in Helsinki. It’s disgraceful and predictable at the same time.

But I can’t say Garland is doing nothing at all because nothing is something. His inaction is an action. With his inaction-action, Garland leads Trump’s coronation. And if we think about Biden’s term, it all makes sense.

The entire Biden administration is powerfully impotent. Lameness abounds. None of them are doing enough to deal with the country’s challenges. And while we could point to Congress as Biden’s cock-block, Garland is his own Congress. He’s holding himself and the country back. Garland is his own Krysten Sinema.

I should say that I really have no idea what Garland is thinking. But I imagine he’d like to run the clock out on indicting Trump. He’s probably having similar thoughts as Nancy Pelosi. I want to leave open the possibility that maybe Garland really wants to do it.

Impotence is not always related to desire. But to do nothing in the face of all Trump’s done, is a strong case of impotence. I hate to say it, but I need the people who claim to be in the justice department to be more like Mitch McConnell. Take the damn shot when you have it.

But here we go again. We’ve always had one side of whiteness that doesn’t want what it claims to want as much as the other side of whiteness. We’ve always had one side of whiteness that wants what it wants more than the other side of whiteness.

I hope Garland stands up and takes on Trump. And if not, history has already warned us about white moderates like him who are mighty in their weakness.