Pat Patterson: Impeachment in age of rage
As Mark Twain observed, “History does not repeat itself, but it does often rhyme.”
After years of Russian collusion and little evidence, the House and Senate partisans went home empty-handed, having wasted political time, America’s time and a lot of money accomplishing little other than political opposition.
For a second time, legal speculators have spent weeks debating whether President Trump can be impeached after leaving office. Every one of the arguments was heavy on rhetoric and light on precedent.
Politicians spent time bickering about the use of terminology that every campaign uses to rally their base, claiming the use of such words as “fight like hell” provoked insurrection.
“Fight like hell” are words used by every politician every four years.
It was conveniently omitted that the former president said very clearly that people should move toward the Capitol in a “peaceful and patriotic manner.”
This was noted by the defense team, but conveniently left out by the prosecutors. When you’re trying to make a case for convicting someone by picking and choosing your own facts, and leaving out the truth, it always falls short. Is this the best they’ve got?
I’m not making a case for President Trump. I’m making a case for responsibility, accountability and honor. Frankly, in my world, the people who actually performed the violence and disruption at the Capitol were the guilty party. They are the ones who should be held accountable. Wouldn’t it have been prudent to investigate that a little further?
We hear a lot about truth these days. We hear a lot about science. We hear a lot about the Constitution and democracy. But the question is whose truth? Whose science? Whose Constitution? Whose democracy?
There’s a very good reason for that.
Impeaching elected officials can be political theater or serve a legitimate purpose. Impeaching former officials is never anything except political theater.
What’s next? Already the Republicans are raising “impeachment for Kamala Harris” when they regain power because she tweeted in support of raising bail money for alleged looters and violent protesters during the summer of destruction last year. Where does it end? Is it any wonder people are fed up with politicians and their biased relativism as to what’s right and wrong in their own personal vision of the truth.
So … what is the ultimate goal?
If the politicians believe that President Trump was actually guilty of committing the crimes for which the Constitution says that he could be impeached, for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,“ then why not bring them into a court of law — especially when it was certain that they’d lose their latest impeachment again in the Senate?
Instead, the politicians claim they had evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but clearly don’t expect these “high crimes and misdemeanors” to be actionable in an actual court. Oh yes, and the judge and jury in the Senate are made up completely of partisans. Even Chief Justice Roberts, no friend of the Trump administration, had refused to preside over this trial.
Courts try people for actual crimes. Impeachments are political proceedings.
Every single presidential impeachment in our history was a political proceeding. The proliferation of impeachments and attempted impeachments in recent American history is a symptom of partisan abuse of legislative powers, not of higher ethical standards.
For the record, I was very much opposed to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, even though he was severely compromised and made a grievous error in judgment. I was concerned then, as I am now, that this political gamesmanship will lead us down a very slippery slope. Can our politicians really be this shortsighted and partisan?
I’m afraid the answer is yes.
Marco Rubio recently stated, “Voting to convict the former president would create a new precedent that a former official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate” in a written question that was read to the impeachment attorneys and managers.
“Therefore, is it not true that under this new precedent a future House facing partisan pressure to ‘lock her up’ could impeach a former secretary of state and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify them from any future office?” he said.
The framers of the Constitution wanted impeachment to be taken seriously.
Impeachment was meant to keep the government clean. Instead the government is hopelessly dirty, and impeachment has become a tool for making it even dirtier and keeping it dirty.
The politicians are turning America into Venezuela, endlessly borrowing and spending money that doesn’t exist, while keeping the streets full of soldiers, and using security powers against political opponents, while their Big Tech oligarchy suppresses opposition political speech.
Should the people fear the government, or should the government fear the people?
Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Frederick Douglass said, “It’s better to die free than live as a slave.” We all know this. These are not new thoughts. They are deep in the hearts of all humankind.
Washington, D.C., is full of razor wire and military checkpoints because the politicians are afraid. Impeachment was doomed from the start, but it provides another justification for extending a manufactured state of emergency. And if any further violence does take place, it will extend the D.C. occupation.
When you’ve got troops in the streets and control over the government, the law is what you make it. Those are high crimes and misdemeanors. Maybe the impeachers should be impeached.
Pat Patterson lives in Lake Wildwood.
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