Regardless of your party affiliation, views on Trump, or even your total apathy towards the whole thing, the impeachment of a president must be recognized as the moment that it is: a crossroads in history that will determine the future of political discourse and the political climate of the United States, both domestically and abroad. It is time for an acid-test of our sense of justice, and will be a clear indication of whether the people whom we have elected to power are really addressing the concerns of the everyday, American citizen.
Once again, the first stage of impeachment was driven by party warfare. The Democrats held the majority in the House, and, therefore, dictated the terms and the result of the impeachment hearings, specifically in regard to the Articles of Impeachment. The outcome was predictable: there was nary a politician who was willing to break ranks, with a few minor exceptions. Nevertheless, the point is this: at some point, the impeachment hearings were no longer concerned with the actions of President Trump, but with the perceived repercussions for the respective parties, should it be successful. Democrats sought a victory for their party, and more notably, vindication for the years of progress that have been reversed under the Trump administration. Republicans fought to preserve the strength of their party, if not their dignity.
Many seem to believe that Trump is not guilty of the charges that the House has leveled against them. Naturally, no one believes in the innocence of the President more than the President himself. His relentless attacks on individuals, the Democratic Party, and the opposition in its entirety have once again thrown the nation into chaos. For someone who insists that there is no culpability in his actions, Trump does not paint the picture of an innocent man. In fact, the consistent theme of the Trump presidency has been his role as the victim. This view has led to baseless and dangerous theories, like the idea that Hillary Clinton lost the election for the sole purpose of having Trump impeached. This is in addition to claims that, despite the overwhelming evidence, Ukraine was responsible for the hacking of the 2016 election. As President Trump becomes more and more entrenched in the pitfalls of impeachment, he similarly becomes more and more dangerous and erratic.
In recent weeks, Trump’s attacks have ranged from the belittlement of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg to the reprehensible remark that he made following the death of well-respected Congressman Dingell. His poorly conceived decision to remove US troops supporting our allies, the Kurds, has now led to an unforeseen development: Russia has now begun recruiting Kurds to join their military efforts in the region, on the very soil that had been, until recently, occupied by the United States. Moreover, Trump was charged with the misappropriation of funds designated for a charitable organization, and has been under continued scrutiny for diverting campaign funds to his private business operations. On the eve of impeachment, he released a bombshell in the form of an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which was riddled with false claims and personal crusades against his opponents. He feels insecure, and everyone knows that when Trump is in a corner, he doesn’t always fight fair.
Now, the burden of determining the fate of President Trump lies with the Senate. Republicans, like Lyndsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, have made it clear that they will make every effort to impede and end the trial as quickly as possible. Speaker Pelosi has made it clear that the trial must be conducted fairly. Whether this will happen is anyone’s best guess. However, this much is clear: Trump is the third president to be impeached, and this moment will live on as a demonstration of the powerful, political tool of impeachment, and how the Democratic Party wielded it in the face of a President who believed he was above the law.
Michael Jan Schiumo