Forum, Feb. 22: Bipartisan vote for impeachment was heartening

Published: 2/21/2021 10:00:17 PM
Modified: 2/21/2021 10:00:14 PM
Bipartisan vote for impeachment was heartening

I was sorry that the Senate fell 10 votes short of the 67 needed to convict the worst president in our history, but it was still heartening to see seven Republicans join 50 Democrats (the most bipartisan vote in an impeachment trial in history), and hear Sen. Mitch McConnell attribute the Capitol riot to Donald Trump. That said, if Sen. McConnell really believed in his words in the first part of his closing remarks about Trump being “practically and morally responsible” for the riot, he couldn’t have convinced himself to vote “not guilty” on his arcane procedural stance. The word “craven” comes to mind. McConnell is all about money and power. Dante had it right: The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis preserve their neutrality.

The House impeachment managers did a superb job making the case to convict Trump. Rep. Jamie Raskin was brilliant leading the effort (especially in the wake of a family tragedy involving the loss of his son Tommy). Too, I think Rep. Joe Neguse’s closing remarks should be carved in stone and placed outside courthouses everywhere: what poignant and profound patriotism from the son of immigrants. It’s good to know that the majority of House and the Senate agree that what Trump did was impeachable and worthy of conviction. And that grinding sound you may hear comes from historians sharpening their knives.


South Woodstock

Ephialtes lives in 43 GOP senators

The 43 senators who either ignored or did not understand the full scope of the penalties of impeachment, hid behind a poorly reasoned and unprecedented technicality that had been refuted by a vote of the Senate, or did not have the political courage to acknowledge the direct line of evidence between Donald Trump’s campaign of incitement and the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol, brought to mind the story of Ephialtes of Trachis, who betrayed King Leonidas and his Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

The Persian invasion of Greece, and their ultimate defeat, was a touchstone moment for the ascendance of Western civilization. The Spartan stand against overwhelming odds was a key to the ultimate Greek victory. The treasonous Ephialtes showed King Xerxes and his Persians a way around the Spartan army, which led to the destruction of the Spartan force. Before he died, Leonidas is said to tell Ephialtes that he should live forever, which was a Spartan insult meaning Ephialtes would never die with honor in battle. After his act of treason, the name of Ephialtes became a lasting stigma, symbolizing the archetypal traitor in Greek culture.

With that in mind, and in that spirit, I say to the 43 senators who voted against impeachment (John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Mike Braun, Shelley Moore Capito, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Kevin Cramer, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley, John Hoeven, Cindy Hyde-Smith, James Inhofe, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Mitch McConnell, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, James Risch, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Richard Shelby, Dan Sullivan, John Thune, Thom Tillis, Tommy Tuberville, Roger Wicker and Todd Young): May you be remembered for a thousand years.



Justice for Trump would foster unity

Cops beg for help over radio. There’s video of Donald Trump’s bellicose “cavalry” storming the Capitol. We hear chants of “Hang Mike Pence” and “Destroy the GOP.” Although it seems over the last four years we’ve seen or heard accounts that the inciter in chief’s a monster, his followers certainly went beyond the pale when they attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, Insurrection Day. Given all the evidence that led up to that infamous event (and beyond), it’s surprising that most GOP senators continue to stand by said “monster.” Particularly when the barbarians were at the door, literally.

It’s natural that persecution riles a people, and The Big Lie has convinced an already polarized constituency into believing they must fight and regain their freedom. In this case of Trump and his followers, I imagine the representatives of Trumpist voters would feel the pressure to sanction the rioters’ actions — causing discontent for non-Trumpists.

Had we embraced ranked-choice voting before the 2016 election, our nation might’ve avoided this situation. Similarly, we could disband the Electoral College and use the national popular vote in the next election. Either would have at least denied his gambit to substitute the electors with right-leaning proxies. Nevertheless, the dumped president failed. More recently, his second impeachment trial failed to convict him, with 43 GOP naysayers voting for acquittal. Remember this: A high crime is when a government official participates in insurrection, while a citizen’s insurrection is a civil crime.

Now back to the story: The Senate’s majority and minority leaders stayed behind after the trial. Chuck Schumer said (among other things), “The failure to convict Donald Trump will live as a vote of infamy in the history of the United States Senate.” The minority leader more or less agreed, saying that while former officials were “not eligible for impeachment or conviction,” they were “still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice.” Maybe party leaders will collaborate to attain that justice. What a significant way to foster unity! There may yet be hope.


White River Junction

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