It took a long time to get to impeachment. In theory, it could have been initiated on the day of inauguration; there is nothing that says impeachable offenses must take place while in office, and in fact there have been public officials impeached for actions taken prior to their election. We had, in Trump, a man who while running was on trial for fraud. The House could have had charges ready, if they’d wanted, on election day; one set for Trump, another set for Hillary. A Republican House and Trump’s win virtually guaranteed that would not happen.
Two years later, the House shifted to Democrat. Largely due to the many offenses Trump had committed while in office, Nancy Pelosi regained the Speaker position. Many expected an immediate impeachment. It didn’t happen.
Then the Mueller Report came out. Even as the President and his supporters screamed there was no obstruction and no collusion, anyone bothering to read it could see the truth: there was blatant obstruction. The only reason there was no collusion was because the Trump election machine had given the Russians all desired materials with the expectation of return favors, and the Russians had then possibly stiffed the Trumps on getting information in return. I say “possibly” because the report also recognized that some evidence had been destroyed and some provided testimony had been proven false.
At best team Trump were a bunch of patsies who couldn’t negotiate a basic political deal, at worst they were corrupt and working with a foreign enemy to conduct a psychological operation against the American people. People who read the report expected immediate impeachment charges. When they didn’t happen, we thought the charges would drop following Mueller’s testimony. Instead, nothing happened.
Each time Pelosi passed on opening up an official impeachment investigation, the reason was obvious: politics. The majority of the country did not favor impeachment. Pelosi did not want to endanger an almost certain 2020 victory by handing the Republicans something around which to rally (such as the Kavanaugh hearings and subsequent appointment, the success of which had likely diminished the “blue wave” of House victories from around 80 probable wins to the eventual 41.)
It is natural to have assumed that once an impeachment investigation was officially started, we’d see another slow walk, with revelations delayed for months and a final vote to send charges to the Senate likely never happening due to the 2020 election. Instead, after less than two weeks, there have been daily releases of explosive, damning information.
This does not mean that the impeachment vote will happen over the next few months, but it does dramatically increase the likelihood. The President himself has made it probable by doubling down on his offenses – his favorite tactic, which has worked when being “non-p.c.” but is unlikely to be received so well when being felonious.
This is the time to ask where we are, philosophically. We don’t have to answer yet, just as there is absolutely no rush to declare for a 2020 political candidate if we don’t actually like them. But it’s an important question, and it’s the sort of thing which deserves serious cogitation, not a reflexive answer.
How much do you forgive?
It remains likely that Trump is on the ticket in 2020; in that case, the obvious answer is “not at all”. But if, say, Trump is ousted and Pence is in charge? We know that the Republican leadership are a bunch of corrupt sheep… they have proven that, if not to a man then very closely to it. They have also allowed themselves to be tied firmly to white supremacists and foreign enemies. Pence would be likely to shift his policy toward traditional conservatism, but every one of us would know it’s a lie, something he’s doing purely for political gain.
If Weld or Sanford or Walsh is running at the top of the ticket, do things change? All of these people have fought against Trumpism. In the case of Weld, he never bent; he even shifted to Libertarian temporarily purely to keep Trump from getting the reins of the Republican party. Again, we have three years of evidence that the Republican leadership are a bunch of spineless liars with no principles, and they will follow the President. In this instance, the President would be a person of character… possibly flawed character, in the case of Sanford or Walsh, both of whom spent time as Trumpers, but with at least some measure of independence… and handing the Presidency to someone who believed in lower spending and greater personal freedoms would, on paper, be better than electing someone who believed in greater spending and restriction of liberties.
We’re at a crossroads, then. Forgiveness is powerful, as was seen this week during the Amber Guyger sentencing. Guyger was demonstrating remorse, though, and had been since the day of the shooting. The Republican leadership has not only remained in lockstep with Trump through myriad offenses, they have worked tirelessly to convince their constituents that every sleazy, corrupt and depraved action was something moral and true.
They have not earned forgiveness, they have earned contempt and dismissal. True forgiveness, for me, is not an option… but electoral forgiveness?
My goal remains the same as it did in 2016, 2010, 2000, 1980. To take a country which has had problems and move it forward in a positive way. Until such time as a new party arises, the stated principles of the Republicans prior to 2015 are still more in alignment with my own than any others.
For this, those goals must be pursued. This brings me to the question of what course of action will best lead us to them.
I don’t know. Maybe I actively encourage the party to die so that there are ashes from which to rebuild, recognizing that allowing socialists to take control of a situation like the one we’re in may trigger changes from which we could not possibly recover, such as a new Constitution. This action would also reward Pelosi for failing to bring charges over the last year.
Maybe I encourage the party to be taken over and reformed, while personally voting for third parties in an effort to produce a change.
Maybe I shift over to Democrat and try to push them away from socialism.
I know I’m not going to select (3), but I recognize that it’s a viable option. That’s the problem, and that’s where we are now. This is a time to start considering not just what we’re going to be doing, on a person by person basis, but why. Only then will we stop reacting to the events of the day and take them instead with a degree of preparedness.