As we move into the final stages of the Trump impeachment hearings it’s worth remembering this: it’s about much more than removing him from office. Not because he doesn’t deserve being kicked to the curb; he does. But that was never really a possible outcome, given how he has taken over and redirected the GOP. I’d probably rush out and buy lottery tickets if it happens on the theory that if one impossible thing can happen why not two?
So why did we go through the effort of impeaching him and incurring the associated political cost?
I can think of three basic reasons, one of which is far more important than the other two:
- He really does appear to have engaged in an effort to use the powers of his office to damage a political rival (and withhold information about the unlawful effort from Congress). We can’t afford to let the most powerful office in the world get away with misusing the awesome powers we have, as a nation, delegated to it. If nothing else what happens when that power chances to turn on us?
- It’s the duty of the House of Representatives to stand up on behalf of the nation against any form of tyranny, however inept it may be. Our Constitution starts with “We the People” because every single bit of governmental power comes from the individuals who comprise the nation. None of it is or should be permanent. It’s only and always a temporary grant of power, conditioned on serving the nation and following our laws. We can’t afford to let temporary stewards of that power corrupt the system for their own ends.
- It’s critical for setting the stage for the November 2020 elections. Not just to replace Trump. But to remove the GOP from power at the Federal level. Whether that will happen or not is up to the voters. But for them to exercise their mandate they need information about just what the GOP, as currently constituted, is willing to do to maintain its influence.
That last goal is playing out behind the scenes with the impeachment process. But it’s the big one. Removing Trump from office or holding him accountable for what he’s done through impeachment isn’t as significant. His term is almost up and removal from office is, in personal terms, a very light punishment. More of a shot to the ego than anything else. Given how large his ego is I don’t think it’d matter all that much to him. He’d just go back to ripping off contractors and investors to feather his own nest.
Taking back the Federal government is what’s at stake. So we can begin to correct the mess created in the last few years. And get back to building a more perfect union that benefits everyone, not just the self-entitled few.
So when the Senate inevitably rejects the articles of impeachment, remember: this whole effort is about the future, not the past.