Current partisan politics frequently returns to questions and debates about the supreme law of the land — The Constitution — as it should, because two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump passed on Dec. 18, 2019. This affirmed an ugly truth about Trump’s illegitimate use of the office of the White House. Trump will go down in history for his transgressions.
Forget the bizarre Republicans like Barry Loudermilk who defended the crimes by comparing Trump with Jesus. The greater offense is the near instantaneous promises from Republican gargoyles like Mitch McConnell, who has publicly declared that he will work as a member of Trump’s defense team and forgo his oath as a juror to perform an impartial Senate trial based upon evidence and facts.
Lines from Trump loyalists that keep being repeated ad nauseam assert that the goal of impeachment is to annul the votes of 63 million Americans because the left hates the right. However, the key principles of the Constitution could not be more clear.
Impeachment is not an effort to annul a vote, because it is clearly written as the means to respond to presidential unconstitutional offenses. Allowing Trump to cheat in elections is blatantly in violation of our Constitution.
But if there were even a shred of honesty in the fake claim of a desire to protect the right to vote then Republicans would stop taking steps to discourage, limit and restrict access to voting. They would stop justifying disenfranchisement on fraudulent claims on abuses happening domestically and they would take strong action to limit the well documented and systematic efforts of foreign states to interfere with our democratic processes. They would stop calling me a “hater” for insisting that we safeguard our institutions and honor our esteemed principle that we are all equal under the law.
Current events are frustrating absurdity. Removing Trump from office is a process clearly defined and instituted for responding to high crimes and misdemeanors; abusing the office of the White House and obstructing Congress qualify. These crimes are treated seriously because the power of people — through their vote — is of paramount importance to the function of a democratic republic. I have a deep concern for the continued dereliction of the oaths sworn by elected officials who refuse to serve the American public, honor the Constitution, or serve in the impartial and fair roles assigned to them to prevent any president from acting outside the law, to prevent Trump from being above the law.
‘Insure domestic tranquility’
Trump’s puppets assert that the 63 million people who voted for him have a right for their voices to be heard, but what about the people who voted for the candidate who won the popular vote? Where has the recognition of the mandate of the almost 66 million people who present different values, needs and desires been reflected? Trump is bound to serve all Americans, but he only serves himself by rewarding those who are loyal to him and punishing opposition — even if it means bullying children. A deeper look presents an ugly betrayal of American elections and the right to vote. But even before he was impeached — the entirety of his tenure in office — has all been an effort to divide the country one bigoted lie after another.
‘Provide for the common defense’
Trump never matured into the role of serving all Americans, and he never tried to. His xenophobic rants and juvenile bullying have inspired increases in hate crimes and threatened the security of all Americans. Trump treatment has no moral bottom, his condemnation is nonpartisan, he has insults for everyone: POWs, Gold Star families, those with physical and mental disabilities. His defenders ignore their obligation to put the country first; the only defense is the one provided to the master they fear. He does not understand common good; he only sees personal gain. He can betray any ally for the right price, no matter how grotesque, and each time he gets away with it he sinks to a new low and brings us along. Compromise and collaboration are absent from his toolbox, but these are the very skills required to hold civilized society together.
‘Promote the general welfare’
Republicans continue to block measure after measure to protect the integrity of elections. They do nothing to rebuke the ongoing requests Trump makes that foreign states should interfere in U.S. elections. It is not just the core of the articles of impeachment, it is the single most important protection of American democracy as whole — it is clear winning is what they are concerned with — national security does not even register as an afterthought to such a hypocrisy. Meanwhile national and international epidemics are only getting worse. Global climate change is only a joke to a man who does not understand much beyond fiscal quarter profiteering at any cost, but the consequences are real and indisputable to those with any knowledge of science.
‘Secure the blessings of liberty’
It is not hate to affirm that the president is not above the law. It is a love for my country that causes me to continue to demand action in the Russian campaign to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election — and the impeachable intention to do so again in 2020. It is moral courage that compels me to continue to join with millions of fellow Americans in protesting the urgent needs of the day, like public safety, national security, human rights, etc., which are being categorically ignored by an increasingly fascist leader and his spineless sycophants. Do not obfuscate, opposition to Trump is not the cause of the push to remove him from office; his crimes are the cause, and there has been no challenge to the evidence or facts. The only recourse at this point is removing everyone who fails to put the country — the Constitution — ahead of party from office.
The tools available to the public are clear. Trump’s defenders must be voted out. Trump, however, has stated that he is not sure he’ll voluntarily give up the power he wields. All citizens must be united in the common goal of holding Donald Trump accountable to the law. We can resist his efforts to divide us; we can be civilized though he refuses to. We can take care of those impacted most significantly by his bigoted and failing policies. We can take heed of the wisdom of our heroes like Martin Luther King Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Our institutions are weakened now by Trump and his coterie, but we must stay strong, our democracy depends on us.
Wim Laven, Ph.D., syndicated by PeaceVoice, teaches courses in political science and conflict resolution.
this opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.