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Reflections On Historic Day Of Presidential Impeachment

December 18, 2019

Though I have consumed a lot of coffee today as the televised impeachment proceedings were aired I feel emotionally drained.  It a sad day for the nation, one that we should never have had to endure.  There are no good headlines from what happened, no glee to be had, no cheering from any part of the land.  Being forced by the Constitution to take the step of impeachment today is a stain on not only a president but also an indictment on that part of the electorate who allowed for a severely character-flawed person to be elected.  That last part is also an issue when discussing a dysfunctional political environment.

In addition to the actions by Donald Trump, I am also deeply saddened by the lack of principles from members of his own party.  For the first time in our history, the impeachment of a president featured no votes from the minority party.  While the GOP finds that as a badge to wear proudly it is something that undermines the integrity of our government.  When facts are shoved aside, and literally unprecedented partisanship is unveiled, there can be no other way to view it than with deep unease.

From the start of Donald Trump’s term in office, we have ample evidence that he was willing to do anything he wanted so to win at all costs.  It did not matter what the laws stated, what custom and norms dictated.  Trump was going to step outside the law and institutional norms whenever the mood suited him, and the nation could be damned.  Trump even went to far to claim that Article II of the Constitution gave him the right to do “whatever I want as President.”

That absurd lack of understanding of law, civics, history, and logic led our nation to the terrible moment that we had to witness today.  As the Republican House members stood, one after the other, to offer their support of Trump, it was stunningly obvious to note that no one could give a defense of facts to what had happened regarding the Ukraine mess. Not one was able to speak to the correctness of Trump’s actions or a level of high ethical conduct.  Since they had no facts to support their case they battled with the process, also without making any impact.

The laws of the nation, and procedures which are used by anyone in the Oval Office, have weight and meaning.  They are not to be abused.  This is why Trump is so peeved at not getting his way with the strong-arming of a foreign power.   The six-page letter sent to House Speaker Pelosi yesterday by a petulant president underscores how angry he is at not getting his way.

After the House vote today the first paragraph of the obituary concerning Donald Trump will contain the word impeachment.  The stain of his deeds will never be washed away.  And as the Constitution states, not able to be pardoned.   Nothing can remove what Trump did to himself by not following the law, and not acting within the limits of the office he held.  Trump failed to honor the office he held so that in the light of day his actions would not bring shame.

Trump can call all that has happened a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”.  He will even convince a segment of the nation who have already proven their fealty to a bombastic personality that he was ‘wronged.’  But the weight of the Constitution and the requirement of law and order, along with the congressional duty of checks and balances will prevail for the history books.   Trump can be insulting and demeaning about the laws of the nation, but citizens know that we always must work for the larger needs of the republic.

That is why the process that resulted in President Donald Trump being impeached was absolutely required.

What happens going forward does give me pause.  Trump has a proven track record of mean and vindictive behavior and now that history has him labeled forever with the impeachment label he will doubtless strike out at who he sees as his enemies.  After the Senate Republican apologists acquit him I fear what will follow.   He has demonstrated unstable qualities in the past, and with the strain of today’s developments, we need to be mindful of his actions.

I am proud that history will record this moment in our nation when the House stood up to the very dangers the Founding Fathers feared and used the constitutional tool of impeachment they designed, so to keep faith with our governing ideals.  

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