John Colson: Impeachment of Trump? I think we’d survive it
Hit & Run
I’ve just got to ask, one more time, whether we should go ahead and impeach the president of the United States.
I simply want to be sure that here in our little corner of paradise, we are well aware that our president is trying to destroy our government and may be just a few steps away from declaring himself President For Life (he has publicly discussed it, as attentive readers will recall).
The question of impeachment has become a persistent public debate on street corners, in bars, among students at various levels of educational achievement, and just about everywhere.
Of course, there isn’t a lot of agreement on the point, as our troubled nation is about evenly split on a broad range of issues aside from all the talk of impeaching President Donald Trump — abortion, education, environmental protections versus resource exploitation for profit, the list is too long to even begin to roll out here.
And if ignoring congressional subpoenas, seeking testimony about whether and how Trump tried to shut down a formal government investigation into his actions as president, among other troubles, is not sufficient grounds for impeachment, what in the name of governmental integrity might be?
I think it is important that we keep focused on the impeachment question, because it overshadows everything else being done in government these days and, if it is to be pursued, it should happen quickly.
That’s because there are a lot of questions that must be answered before we can understand the full extent of corruption in Trump world, and we need to understand these things before we go to the polls in 2020. Lacking that information, there is a good possibility that Trump could be rammed down our throats for another four years, and I’m not sure our nation could withstand the trauma.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, was on the right track when she recently declared that Trump is “crying out” for impeachment, as a strategy to distract voter attention from the many scandals and controversies bedeviling his administration.
Political columnist Maureen Dowd, in last weekend’s New York Times, wondered whether Trump is nothing but an idiotic “blowhard” simply swinging away in all directions to see what he can hit, of if he is “a sinister genius” determined to invite impeachment as a way to set the Democrats up for what he predicts will be a thrashing from the feral right wing of the country’s political spectrum.
And that, in some potential future time line, could easily be the core of a constitutional crisis that might spawn a rise of nationalistic, authoritarian and possibly fascist rule in this country. The ingredients already are there, according to some, and the blueprint for such a future could be the Nazi party’s rise to power in Germany after the end of World War I.
In a magazine called The Sun, political journalist David Barsamian, who has appeared in Carbondale at events held by KDNK radio, interviewed Benjamin Carter Hett, noted historian and author of books detailing the early days of the Nazi movement in Germany. The title of the article says it all: “What we learn from Hitler’s rise to power,” citing Hett’s most recent book, “The Death of Democracy.”
Barsamian and Hett, as have others, point out that there are “striking parallels” between the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and the “political ascent of Donald Trump” in this country.
Hett points out that the Nazi zeitgeist began as an anti-globalist movement that built upon rising rural anger over urbanization, immigration, economic stagnation and propaganda that accused the leftist Social Democrats community of betraying the country at the end of World War I by signing the armistice and preventing Germany from rebounding and winning the war.
The Nazis took this vague sense of discontent and inflamed it, just as Trump has used the immigration issue to inflame those in the U.S. who blame their economic woes on Mexicans and blacks, rather than on the true architects of our economic woes — the capitalist class, the billionaires, and their apologists in government who have permitted our nation’s conversion into a plutocracy.
How much of a leap is it to think that the people who elected Trump, who overlook his lies and his venality in their belief that he will return us to a mythical past where white people are on top, people of color know, and keep to, their “place” on the lower tiers of society, and everything is as rosy as an episode of that old TV show, “Leave It To Beaver.”
Do you think for a moment that the people of Germany were consciously united behind Hitler’s fantasies about racial purity and the guilt of the Jews for the problems facing that country.
But I do believe that too many Germans stood by and were silent while atrocities were committed and a nation became a death camp for a certain segment of the population.
And I do believe we have the makings of a similar phenomenon right here in the good ol’ U.S.A.
And I believe Trump is perfectly willing to stoke that furnace of hate and ignorance, and that is why he should face an impeachment inquiry — to give us a clear and formal look at the nature of his presidency.
We nearly impeached an earlier president (Richard Nixon) for similar acts, though somewhat less damaging, compared to what Trump has done to damage our democracy; and we impeached another president (Bill Clinton) but did not remove him from office for simply having an affair with an intern, though the real cause of the impeachment was political gamesmanship.
We survived those, and I think we would survive this time.
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