I am moved by the passionate and thorough arguments presented by the House managers on the Senate floor in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. As I watch the votes, two of them thus far, I am also moved by watching in real time, the death knell of the American experiment in self-governance. This is in no way hyperbole, as what is at stake is nothing less than the ability of the President, this one and every future President, of placing themselves above the Constitution, above the law, and above the oversight of Congress. This creates tyranny; a dictatorship, rather than a government of three co-equal branches of power. If the Congress cannot investigate the conduct of a President, if a President can claim absolute immunity from indictment, from investigation and from impeachment, the Executive Branch is no longer one of three equal branches of government as created in our founding documents. It is now the sole seat of power, accountable and answerable to no one.
I never held high hopes that the Senate would remove this tyrant from office. I always expected an acquittal. But I did hold out a thimble of hope for support of the Constitution. But as the trial moves along on its very first day, the Republican Senators have voted not to allow documents to be subpoenaed, not to allow witnesses to be called, but instead to have opening and closing arguments, and only then decide if documents or witnesses are required. It appears now a foregone conclusion that what the House of Representatives, the people’s House, was able to do while the Executive Branch opposed them at every turn, will be the only thing the Congress will do. I applaud the House for their work, and particularly those brave individuals who ignored the Executive’s directive to disobey the House and provide documentary evidence and testimony. I applaud the members of the House who voted for the two articles of impeachment which are so obviously supported by the facts.
The hope for the future now rests entirely with the American people who are willing to show up on election day and vote. We are the only ones who can remove this would be dictator from office, assuming he would go if defeated. We can only hope that the next President would have enough integrity, honesty and humility to not take advantage of the dangerous precedent the Republican Senate will create when they acquit Donald Trump. We can only hope they would abide by the Constitution, would respect the separation of powers and honor Congress’s role as a co-equal branch of government. It has been said that power corrupts, so the temptation would certainly be there for future Presidents to conduct themselves in a manner that benefits them personally, as this President has done. And the Senate Republicans will have given future Presidents cover for wrongdoing and corruption with their willingness to allow Donald Trump to run roughshod over the Constitution. How this beauty pageant-owning, former game show host, this racist, Nazi sympathizing, admitted sexual predator, this serial liar, tax cheat and ignoramus has become the man for whom the Republican Party has decided to cast away the American system of governance that has survived all manner of tests to its foundation, is and will always be beyond me to understand.
The impeachment trial is certainly not over, but the damage has already been done and it would take a miracle to reverse course now. And there are no miracles.