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Impeachment Vote: Political Tribalism Attacks Our Republic

December 13, 2019

What transpired today was historic, newsworthy, and mighty sad.

The House Judiciary Committee took the constitutional process of impeaching Donald Trump the next needed step but had to do so along party lines. The serious charges of Trump’s abuse of power and his obstruction of Congress did not receive a single vote from the Republican side of the aisle.

Americans have witnessed while watching the proceedings at home or listening to them on their car radio that the past two days have been as if the political parties are living in two separate worlds.   The dysfunction of our political system, the tribalism that has beset the land, the growing lack of honor, the rise of false narratives, the collapse of virtue among those who serve in high office all were exposed in hour-after-hour coverage.  It was at times almost painful to watch.

The uproar from Republicans that the final vote on the articles was taken in the light of day–shortly after 10 A.M. Friday–was way out of bounds.  The proper way for the committee to proceed–especially from folks who care about making sure the process is as open to as many as possible–meant that instead of voting in the late-night hours the task that the nation needed to watch occur when most were able to witness it.

In each article, the Republicans failed to offer a single vote.  Each article passed on a party-line vote, a margin of 23 to 17.    That lack of responsibility, seriousness, and placing the nation over partisanship from the Republicans was the most glaring example of how far adrift we are as a republic.

The facts presented to congressional committees clearly proved many month efforts where Trump used the power of his office to get political advantage from a foreign power, and then clearly undermined and obstructed Congress from investigating the deeds.

For weeks we have witnessed Trump and the key members of his Administration such as Barr, Pompeo, and Pence ignore the checks and balances that are supposed to be inherent in our Constitution.  Citizens have every reason to ask that if this abuse of power is allowed to stand what does that portend for how future presidents may act and seek to work outside of the law so to do what they desire?

What is being allowed to take place as a result of feckless Republicans is far more than a story about the next election where they fear being faced with a primary.  What is playing out in dramatic fashion now will have long-lasting consequences for the nation in generations to come.   Too few of the short-sighted and over-heated Republicans in this Congress grasp that fact.

When a  political party becomes nothing more than blind apologists for the worst president in history means that the republic is in serious trouble.  The GOP members were able to turn aside serious consideration of this fact as stated in the second article.

In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’

The Republican members of the committee could not even realize the undermining of the legislative branch of government–which they are elected to– was enough reason to stop their bending over to Trump.  They have lost all common sense and any attempt to present themselves as honorable or have us see them as credible in any degree.  It was stunningly embarrassing.

Those who look at the tea leaves and try to predict the political consequences of the events over the past weeks may try to claim that newly elected moderate Democrats who cast a vote for impeachment will suffer in the next cycle.  But that is the most shallow way to view where we are now in this country.  This can not and must not be looked at for how it will play in the coming elections.  Whether the need to impeach Trump hinders or helps at the election box is of no matter. First and foremost comes the needs of the republic and how law and order are preserved.  

I find it odd that some of my conservative friends seek more police to uphold laws and secure the peace on a local level, but when given a chance to make a statement about the need to curtail abuse of law in the Oval Office they remain silent.  This, too, is just another symptom of political tribalism attacking the republic.

Instead of my feeling relief that this country is turning a corner in trying to hold Trump accountable, I am left today feeling deep concern about our future.  I wish Republicans could ponder the same.

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