This is the United States of America and things were supposed to be different here. Perhaps in other countries, presidents lie and are overtly corrupt shameless populists who promise everything and believe in nothing. Here, in America, our leaders, though as imperfect as anywhere else, for the most part led from the front of the pack and challenged us to dream.
This impeachment trial has taught me something that perhaps I didn’t want to admit as a patriotic American.
The trial itself has some way to go and the dust won’t completely settle here with a verdict from the Senate. If Senate Leader Mitch McConnell gets his way, he and his caucus are banking on Donald J. Trump being sworn in for a second time next January. Otherwise, they have a serious problem. The next president, if it’s not the incumbent, the afternoon that he or she is sworn in will be able to order the release of all the contentious files that have come up during this impeachment trial and release things such as Trump’s tax returns, as they are evidence from the IRS in this case.
However, what I really learned is that America has currently, truly, lost its way. John Winthrop of Massachusetts claimed, before America was America, that this new land that he came over to from England would be, “a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”
Much like the time of the establishment of this daring republic, the eyes of the world are once again upon us. The United States has impeached its third president in its history. It is playing out, unfortunately, in a painfully partisan way. Republicans are shunning norms of court by denying witnesses and circumventing every known rule that they can think of because they have the votes to do so, and Democrats are trying to put on the best show they can because they deeply despise the president and they are looking to get their moment in the sun to raise money for reelection or exposure to pursue higher office.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here again: Nobody in their right mind should be rooting for the impeachment of a President of the United States –whatever the outcome of this trial, irreparable damage has been done, for a generation at least, to the perception of integrity in our elections, and sweeping dictator-like authority emanating from the executive branch will be a long-term threat to our democracy about which we must be vigilant.
But that die has been cast and the Senate Trial has begun.
The truth sets us free, however, and I am hoping that senators find their collective conscience and put party over country, and go wherever the evidence laid bare before them leads.