Joe Keeble: Patriot or partisan?
Based on recent sworn testimony, it is now clear that Donald Trump personally directed the attempt to extort the president of Ukraine for a political favor.
This has now been corroborated by multiple sources.
We, as a nation, are about to enter divisive political times not seen since the Nixon/Vietnam War era. Some pundits and historians say a constitutional crisis is in the making. On the one hand, Congress has the legal power to subpoena and investigate the executive branch as a check against the abuse of power.
Much like Nixon, the Trump White House is claiming executive privilege while defying congressional subpoenas.
If the White House continues its noncompliance, what happens next? Will the House have Trump’s staff locked up for contempt and the documents seized by force? The Supreme Court said in 1821 that Congress has “inherent authority” to arrest and detain recalcitrant witnesses. In 1927, the high court ruled the Senate acted lawfully in sending its deputy sergeant-at-arms to Ohio to arrest and detain the brother of the then-attorney general, who had refused to testify about a bribery scheme known as the Teapot Dome scandal. Given the current political climate, would an arrest attempt provoke an armed standoff of some kind or another?
Remember when Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings for Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland? The result was the seat on the highest court in the land was vacant for 422 days marking only the second time since the Civil War that a Supreme Court seat was open for more than a year. If the issue makes it to the Supreme Court, as White House lawyers would like, will the Republican appointed judicial majority vote along party lines as they usually do? If a trial comes to the Senate, will the Republican majority vote the party line regardless of the facts?
Is all this really just another deep state witch hunt to overturn the 2016 election or a search for the truth into presidential abuse of power?
It seems to depend on which political party you align with.
Recent polls show more than half of Americans support the impeachment inquiry as compared to 44% who oppose it. Along party lines only 11% of Republicans versus 82% of Democrats support the inquiry, as would be expected given the vast partisan divide. Independent voters are about evenly split. However, the issues at hand really have nothing to do with party politics and everything to do with the rule of law.
The American people have a right to know the truth, not paid political pundits’ interpretations, not partisan talking points, hearsay, and innuendo — and not Twitter storms of false denials, vile accusations, and outright lies.
We need to know what those documents contain and what those people have to say, in public, under oath, in prime time. Then, the American people can decide for themselves who to believe or not. The only way that is going to happen is by allowing Congress to uphold its sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution. Congress has the legal authority to lock up those who ignore subpoenas and they should exercise that power. “Lock ‘em up” until they are willing to follow the law and testify. The terms “cover-up” and “obstruction of justice” are being bandied about just like Watergate.
Unless there is something to hide, a reasonable person would assume the White House would actively seek to clear the air and cooperate with the investigation. That is not the case, and these are serious constitutional issues regarding if and how the balance of power concept actually works. There is a dark cloud of doubt that now hangs over the country.
The spirit of “We the People” on which this nation was founded is quickly sinking in the quicksand of partisan politics.
The Urban Dictionary says a “partisan” is “One who caters greatly to one side, with a fanatical zeal usually.” Merriam-Webster’s definition is a person who exhibits “a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person especially one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance.”
Merriam-Webster defines a patriot as “one who loves and supports his or her country.”
The Urban Dictionary says, “A real patriot is someone who loves their country enough to speak up when they see something that needs to be changed; not someone who blindly assumes that their government knows best and is always right no matter what.”
Which are you?
Joe Keeble lives in Nevada City.
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