Without casting aspersions on anyone's asparagus, I would like to ask whether anyone in Congress really takes this whole impeachment thing seriously. If they did, there is no way, I think, that we would be reading that "canceling a holiday recess for one of the most extraordinary events in the Senate's history is not popular in any corner of the chamber."

Maybe I just have been paying too much attention to the actual text of the articles of impeachment against President Trump introduced on Tuesday morning. Trump is said to have "ignored and injured the interests of the Nation." Not only that: He "will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office."

Imagine believing that a single word of this is true, or indeed that words have meanings at all, and saying to yourself: "Well, threats to national security and the Constitution are pretty serious and all, but let's be reasonable, folks. We have scheduled time off here! Let's travel somewhere warm and ask Sally's oldest what his major is again and remember the gift receipt for the laptop bag we know he is going to take back the next morning before we trouble ourselves about the impending doom of the republic." Even the most earnestly religious members of Congress know that satisfying one's Christmas obligation only takes an hour or so of time. Otherwise, if you think that Trump is an existential threat to these United States, your obligations to the Santa-and-cookies cult can be put on hold for a little while until order is restored and the national honor cleansed of this foul stain. There will be plenty of time for drinking egg-based beverages and arranging colored electric lights after our most solemn responsibilities as citizen-statesmen have been fulfilled.

As far as I can tell there are two schools of thought here, both amounting to the same thing. One says that Trump should be impeached, tried in the Senate, and, no doubt, acquitted, all before the holiday recess. This is the preferred option of the Democratic senators who are campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination and welcome the chance for a reprieve, however brief. Then there are those like Rand Paul and Diane Feinstein who say that regardless of when Trump is impeached, the Senate trial should be put on hold until January. In either case, the argument is basically that being a member of Congress is a job like any other one that entitles its members to regularly scheduled vacations (albeit ones that are longer than those that most of us enjoy). How convenient.

This is admittedly more of a rhetorical issue for Democrats who have committed to themselves to the untenable position that this literally unprecedented crisis in the affairs of this great nation is slightly less important their annual ugly sweater parties than for GOPers who dismiss impeachment as empty partisan brinksmanship. But even there you have to wonder about their commitment to defending the president if they are not willing to force their opponents to eat their words here. If they really believe Trump has committed offenses so heinous that his remaining in office puts the lives of 300 million Americans at risk, nothing should be further from their minds here than the inconvenience of maybe having to spend a few extra weeks in Washington. They should welcome such a sacrifice with the stolidness befitting servants of the republic. If on the other hand Ukraine-gate is just the latest in a long line of tedious partisan scandal-mongering efforts to undermine Trump's presidency, of course they'll be willing to put it on ice till after New Year's.

Duty or cynicism: Which is it? Republicans should force Democrats to decide by trying to keep Congress in session until lights and reindeer sets are 90 percent off.