Political Thoughts by Richard Bleil
The news reports tell us that the House will deliver the articles of impeachment for the second impeachment of Donald Trump to the Senate this afternoon. This impeachment is basically claiming that the former President Trump is culpable for his role in the capitol riots that saw insurrectionists occupy the Capitol Building, attempt to disrupt the election certification, and successfully resulted in five deaths and at least postponing Congress from executing its constitutional duty.
There will be a lot of discord and debate over this impeachment, and I thought I might give my viewpoint. Full disclosure dictates that I tell you that I am not a political scientist, have no degree in it, but as a citizen of the United States and a reader of the news, I am at the very least entitled to my opinion, just as you are entitled to keep reading…or not. But I’ll try to be respectful, and while my opinion will become obvious quickly (if it is not already), my goal is simply to present the reasoning behind my logic.
Of course, there will be a lot of discussion regarding the fact that this impeachment trial regards a president who is no longer in office. The House impeached a sitting president, but Mitch McConnell refused to call the senate back into session to consider the issue before he left. But there are consequences at stake, even if Trump cannot be removed from an office he has already vacated. I’m sure most people know that he can be stripped of the benefits afforded to former presidents, including a guaranteed income for life. What’s more, the senate is considering barring Trump from ever running for or holding a political office again, something that is significant as he has already claimed he will run for office again in 2024.
But the purpose of this hearing is far more significant than a paycheck or candidacy, at least in my opinion. This isn’t about punishment so much as it is about accountability. Trump opened his campaign with disparaging remarks about Latin Americans, turned his ire on Muslims and Democrats, actively attempted to divide our nation (and clearly succeeded at doing so) and has empowered white supremacists, neo-Nazis and seditionists to the point of (in my opinion) directly contributing to the violence in the Capitol Building.
You’ll hear a lot of people, particularly Republicans, saying that this action will further divide our nation rather than helping it to heal. In a way, I think they’re right, but the division will be far more focused than the entire nation. They are not particularly concerned about fracturing in the nation so much as within their own party. Nixon set the Republican Party on a path during his rein as president of courting the angry, white vote. This path continued to be followed through and including the Trump campaign and presidency and has finally collided with human decency. The Democratic party has evolved to embrace the beauties in our differences as the Republican party look for reasons to suppress the rights of Americans that they feel would not vote their way. Today, thanks to not Trump himself but to the Trump Republicans, the Republican party is suffering a crisis of identity. There are reasonable Republicans who do believe in the US constitution and equality, supporting the party they believe would best serve the economy and industries of America. Many of these Republicans stand against the Trump segregationist philosophies, and the anger that led to the insurrection. Unfortunately, many Republicans do support Trump and the anger and hatred that he represents.
The senate, in its consideration of these articles of impeachment, put the Senate Republicans in a no-win situation. Every Republican Senator will have to vote to support the Trump hatred, or the evolved moderates. It’s no win because those who vote to impeach stand to lose the Trump supporting votes, while those who vote against impeachment could lose the moderate Republican votes. The division Republicans fear most is this very division within their own party, a fear in a possibility so real that both moderate and Trump republicans have both spoken of splitting off from the Republican Party and forming their own. But even though the Republican party still holds almost (but not quite) as many Americans as the Democrats (it’s not half as many of us, including me, are independents). If they split in any significant form, even losing say twenty support of their voters, then the Republican party won’t have much of a chance of taking any elections for quite some time.
To me, we cannot heal as a nation without some form of accountability. I myself am hoping every Republican who supported the riot loses their seats in the next election (or worse, are actually removed from office and perhaps held in legal jeopardy). Anybody who helped the insurrection (of which there is evidence that several congressional members have) should be held liable for each death that resulted. Anybody who supported the insurrection, whether they helped or not, I believe should be stripped of their seat in congress as required by law. And anybody still supporting Trump and his horde should lose future re-election efforts (in my opinion). Holding these people accountable would go far in restoring my shattered faith in the system. Until then, I’ll just wonder why they were allowed to undermine my US Constitution.