A Second Impeachment is the Best Path Forward
Our nation’s capitol came under attack this week.
The invading group had weapons, used force to break in, and stole objects from our capitol. Since the attack happened while Congress was in session, they also threatened the representatives of our nation, as well as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th in line of command for our country.
This group had bombs, and zip tie like restraints as well as a gallows. From most accounts, this was never intended to be a peaceful protest.
Peaceful protesters don’t come with these objects.
No one argues the fact that these invaders should have consequences for their actions, and some have already been arrested, with others being investigated.
But what about their leader?
When our ships at Pearl Harbor were shot, unprovoked, we didn’t just blame the pilots of the attacking planes. When extremist ISIS members invaded our country’s planes and used them to crash into buildings, we didn’t just blame the hijackers.
We rightly placed blame at the feet of their leader who sent them.
Both times, when our nation was under attack, we knew we had to move with urgency and consequences against not just the individual Japanese and ISIS members who committed the acts of violence against our nation, but also against their leaders.
Who authorized these attacks on January 6th? Who planned these attacks? Who gave the order to send armed and dangerous people against us?
On December 7th, 1941, the actions of the Japanese brought us into the war against Japan. On September 11th, 2001 it sparked our War on Terrorism.
On January 6th, 2021, who was the leader of this movement that attacked our very nation’s capitol, while in session to certify our election and our next president?
It isn’t hard to see him as the leader of this movement.
He warned about “fraud” for months before a single vote was cast. When a peaceful, fair election took place that didn’t have him as the winner, he told his supporters for months that it was “stolen” and launched dozens of court cases to try to litigate his way to a win.
They all failed, not just for lack of standing, but lack of merit as well.
When that failed, his supporters tried to jump to the Supreme Court to have them give Trump the win. That was also unsuccessful.
He even called election officials and had others visit him in the White House to convince them to either disqualify large amounts of votes or “find” more votes for him.
Then he started pushing for his loyalists in government to object to the certifications, even though those were already settled on a state by state basis, and the members of Congress didn’t really have the right to do so.
He called for his loyalists, from around the country, to come to Washington D.C. on January 6th, and they came.
At the end of a long, rambling speech full of disproven lies about the election, Trump ended with:
…I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.
Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country, and I say this despite all that has happened, the best is yet to come.
So we are going to — we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote but we are going to try — give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
This is a direct quote from his speech. There are no breaks in those paragraphs, no context that makes it less serious how close his connection is to the group that broke into the capitol.
He sent them there.
He told them to fight like hell. He told them where to go. He even gave a mission statement to them- “take back our country.”
He knew he lost the election, every court case, every appeal, every other method to try to magic up a win, so he called for his supporters to do it for him. To take back the country- from what?
From the voters.
From the majority that voted against him. From those who took to the streets to celebrate Biden’s rightful win. Because millions more voted for Biden.
Besides Trump and his schemes, there were very few real, legitimate cases of fraud.
So, in every case in the past, when our country is under attack, we have to make sure that the leader who put our country in danger has consequences.
If it was a leader from another country, outside the United States, who gave that speech, and then the same events at the Capitol happened by citizens of that country… it would be war.
That isn’t in question.
The nation would rise up against the other nation, we would deploy an army against the country whose leader instigated such a vile attack on our soil, in our government building, during election proceedings, no less.
But shockingly (and yet not with this leader) it was our very own President, who still, months later, will not accept that he lost his bid for reelection.
If it was a more stable leader, we might say that he had gone mad. Clinically lost his sanity and ability to rule. The 25th Amendment would be called for, because clearly this was not spoken by a sane, calm, logical ruler.
Instead, as this sadly isn’t completely out of character, his Vice President won’t use the Amendment that was written for when the leader is no longer able to rule.
While I agree it would be easiest to use this, I actually agree with Vice President Pence on this point. Trump is no less sane than he has been for the past four years. This is not a case where we have to remove him from power because of his becoming incapacitated.
This is a crime.
There are clear directions in our Constitution about what to do if an elected official acts in a treasonous manner, and it is to remove them by impeachment.
While there was debate over the last impeachment, this one should be more clear cut.
A private phone call that had little actual effect on the country was improper, but not sedition or insurrection like this one.
Our nation’s capitol was attacked! People died as a result of these acts, including a police officer who was trying to defend it. Plus, some of the stolen objects are a risk to our nation’s security, as they might contain classified information that can now be sold to our enemies.
As if that wasn’t enough, as our Congress cowered in the chambers, and the police barricaded the doors, Trump did not tell his supporters to stop. He did not call the National Guard.
That wasn’t accidental. That was purposeful.
It is not a big leap to assume that he loved that Biden’s certification was delayed. He loved that his supporters were so willing to fight for him. Probably was a highlight of his presidency.
Trump played a huge role in this attack, and has completely earned the ignominious title of impeached twice, if Congress has the guts to go through it.
Why is this impeachment crucial to America’s future?
First, our country is founded on the idea of democracy, not a monarchy. The strongest force is not the one that gets to rule, but the President is decided by the results of an election.
Our electoral college is a mess of an election system, but Biden won it this year. The popular vote (which is what should really count) shows a clear Biden win as well.
Whichever system you support, Biden won. If you can ignore the lies of a fallen monarch, Biden is the rightful, legitimate leader of this democratic nation.
Trump had a right to challenge the results in court, and he did. But every challenge failed. The lawyers did not have enough evidence to convince the courts, so the results stood. To step beyond legal challenges meant that he no longer cared about our democracy.
Future leaders need to know that we, as a nation, do not approve of force as a way to change an election’s result.
If he is able to run for reelection in 2024, that says that he can go this far to overturn an election… and still possibly lead the country for four years.
Second, his followers believe that he will be President again.
Due, in large part, to his lies and often repeated conspiracy theories, that group that stormed the capitol believed that their side won.
There are quotes of people saying that God told them that Trump would be president for 8 years. This is a group that loves memes of him being president for more than 8 years.
As long as there is a chance he could regain power as the rightful leader of the United States, I think they will still attempt anything to make it happen. They are already talking about disrupting the inauguration, and if that fails (as it hopefully will), I would not at all be surprised that they will continue to hold out hope that Trump will be president again.
He will use that hope to continue to have a military force around him, have them donate to him, keep a hold over other Republican leaders and do everything he can to make them believe that he might just be leader again.
If we, as a nation, said “Oh well, he is almost gone anyways, why bother,” then there are 74 million people who will continue to hope for his return to power, and maybe even take steps to make it happen.
But if our leaders, especially in the Senate, rightly impeach him and remove him from office, he will not be allowed to run again.
Short of a real Civil War II and break down of everything the so called Patriots stand for, once impeached, he will not be President again.
Third, our posterity demands it.
When history books record this attack on the capitol, after the previous ones by the British, students and scholars will ask what happened next with Trump.
“He finished his term, was not impeached and was reelected in 2024,” sounds like a terrible result of his actions to future Americans.
If we can’t impeach for Trump’s actions, what possible future reason could we ever impeach another terrible president? They could always point to their behavior as less than what he did on 1/6/21 and say that if Trump wasn’t impeached, then they shouldn’t be either.
Every future leader of our nation needs to know that we take these actions seriously. That these are not actions we allow our presidents to make and stay in power.
A better message to send to all future leaders is that this behavior is so heinous, so out of bounds for American leaders, that even though his term is almost over, we will still move to impeach.
To any Republican leaders against impeachment- think of the future.
This might not be the only time a president tries to force a reelection. It might not be the only time they call up supporters to support them over the country. Support dear leader over laws that they disagree with. Call out an armed group against Congress when they are about to overturn a veto.
If Trump isn’t impeached, instead of a warning against these behaviors, the lack of impeachment will affirm that these behaviors are allowed.
Will not be punished.
That includes for a future Democrat leader as well as for another future Republican leader.
The Senate’s votes- for or against- will send a message to all future presidents about what behavior is considered acceptable for a leader.
No matter your personal opinions over Trump or his leadership, he acted improperly to the results of the election. He did so with purpose, and with flagrant disregard for the laws of the nation. When that failed, he called for a militia, which came at his call, and attacked after he told them to fight.
A vote to acquit says that you do not consider the above actions to be wrong. The person committing them is not relevant, you vote to condemn or accept the actions as permittable for any and all future presidents.
A nation that claims to be a democracy can not let these actions go unpunished.
Trump supporters love to bring up the 74 million people that voted for Trump.
The key word here is voted.
Most Americans don’t want to have to fight a war to get their political party in office. Most other countries don’t want to see us turn to bombs and guns and attacks as we change leadership.
The nations that are run these ways have a bad reputation, it hurts their economies, and makes civilized nations reluctant to do business with them.
The only alternative to impeaching is to condone Trump’s behavior. Condone it for our future leaders and condone it for other nations as well.
It tells our allies and our enemies that these are actions we approve of here.
Even if Biden was inaugurated tomorrow, we would still need to impeach, just to remain a respected civilized nation.
The future of our nation is at stake.
I know that many Trump supporters believe that Biden will ruin the country. That is their right to believe, and so, they had the ability to vote against him.
More of the country believed that Biden will be an improvement. That was also their right, and so they had the ability to vote for him.
When the votes were counted, more people thought Biden would be a better president. Those votes were certified, and those certifications were counted by Congress.
Biden will be the president soon, based on the results of an election in a country where leadership is based on elections.
The sooner that Trump supporters realize that, the better it will be for the nation, and no matter how this second impeachment makes them feel, it is, without a doubt, the right thing for Congress to do in 2021.