The Farce of Impeachment

I don’t think there is anyone who believes that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will end in anything other than an acquittal along partisan lines. From even the limited evidence revealed so far there is no question that Trump withheld aid to the Ukraine authorized by Congress as in the national interest, in an attempt to extort Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Biden’s that would be in Trump’s personal interest in the 2020 election. The bigger game afoot is the 2020 elections. Republicans believe that their steadfast support of the president will aid them in gaining the votes of Trump supporters in their bids for re-election. Democrats believe that laying the case out that Trump is a self centered s.o.b. who puts his own interests ahead of the country’s, will lead to a backlash against him or at least a fatigue with him and this whole mess that will lead to his ouster. They hope that by painting the Republican defense of him as a cover-up they will gain enough opposition to them to sway the electorate in their favor. Adam Schiff as the lead Democratic presenter has been effective in making this case.

Some analysis I’ve read has argued that it is not Trump who is on trial here, but the Senate. Will senators, particularly Republican ones, but also Democratic ones, put country over self interest, morality over corruption, democracy over partisanship, and the Constitution over politics. I disagree. The Senate has already failed these tests based on their actions to date, their words, and their plans. They are counting on the American electorate to reward them rather than to punish them for being the low life scum they are. They are counting on the electorate to allow corruption because of indifference or eagerness to get certain policies passed. They are counting on the short term memory loss that would allow people them to forget in November what happened in January. They are counting on gerrymandering and voter suppression to make nonvoters of those opposed to them. They are counting on receiving corporate money to run misleading ads that portray these enemies of democracy as its defenders.

This means the trial is not of Trump or the Senate. It is a trial of us the electorate. Are we going to let them get away with it? Are we so inurred to, accepting of, and fatalistic about the corruption of those in high office that we will sigh and continue to live our little lives. Or will we “take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?” (little shout out to Hamlet there.) In a real sense it is just as the founders feared, a test of the American experiment in democracy. Have we become so shallow that we allow demagogues to rule the country with impunity? Will we allow their words rather than the facts, the reality around us, to condition how we act?  Are we witnessing the failure of democracy?

I believe not. I still have hope that enough members of the electorate see through what Trump and the Republicans are doing to end the farce they are performing. I take solace in the polls that show a plurality or even a majority believe in Trump’s removal even though it probably won’t happen by impeachment. I remember that in 2016 a majority of the popular vote rejected him and his victory came by relatively few votes in some key places. Could he win again? Sure, if we are not vigilant. If the Democrats nominate a candidate who does not excite the electorate or convince them that they will govern in the interests of of the majority of people, Trump will win. We need to learn from the mistakes of last time, unite behind the Democratic candidate, not be misled by arrogance or overconfidence, offer a candidate who offers hope not division, and get out the vote especially in those key areas that Trump needs to win.  If we understand that it is democracy itself that is on the line, we will be able to have a government of the people, for the people and by the people. It is not a time for despair, it is a time for action. Do what you can to end this farce.

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