By WAYNE D. KING, The View from Rattlesnake Ridge
Diners, restaurants, coffee shops, and meeting spots here in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge and the Waterville Range are abuzz with the discussion of Presidential impeachment.
Some folks are unsurprised, some are angry, some are upset, some are downright giddy with the prospect of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
There are those, particularly among the most partisan of Democrats, who take the position that it’s about time Nancy Pelosi got off the dime. But Speaker Pelosi has acted appropriately under the circumstances.
Impeachment is a serious matter. Only two presidents have previously been impeached in our entire history.
A quick review of the constitutional law will show that the process involves two important steps: first, the United States House of Representatives bringing articles of impeachment against the President of the United States for abuse of power or high crimes or misdemeanors; Followed by a trial in the Senate that results in either the removal of the president or his/her acquittal. Both, steps, passed by both bodies, by majority and super-majority respectively, are required in order to remove the President from office.
No American should be happy at the prospect of having impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States. It is a gut-wrenching and turbulent process, highly divisive and emotional.
Now, it’s no secret that I am not a fan of President Donald Trump. Since the beginning of his tenure he has aggressively sought to divide Americans against one another and he has ignored long-established norms of democracy in favor of his own brand of strongman politics. Isolating us from allies, removing us from international agreements, coddling dictators and lying more often than any politician in recent memory.
The Mueller report alone, buttressed by numerous well-documented investigative evidence of his blatant abuse of the emoluments prohibition, offered sufficient evidence of his obstruction of justice and self-dealing to warrant impeachment proceedings. Yet, Speaker Pelosi and other thoughtful members of Congress have taken a cautious approach to the question of impeachment.
I have previously stated and continue to believe that the best possible scenario for our country‘s future would be to defeat him soundly in the next election, thereby declaring, by a vote of the American people, to the world that this president was an anomaly brought on by systemic marginalization of hard-working Americans of every race, color and creed and – while he may represent the anger and frustration of all those years – Donald Trump does not represent who we are.
So just who are we?
Are we really as deeply divided as the pundits and politicians would have us believe? I don’t believe we are.
We are an imperfect amalgamation of human beings in search of a more perfect union…
Each of us can point to a time in which our specific ancestors were marginalized, mistreated, and maligned, whether it was my Iroquois and Abenaki ancestors or the generations of immigrants, indentured and enslaved people who have come to this land and found a song that had a verse for them, despite years and even generations of hardship and marginalization.
Over the years it could be witnessed in the pride of Native American veterans proudly bearing the American Flag into the arena at a gathering of nations PowWow; the flag flying on the porch of an African American home where portraits of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy were the only framed images on the spare walls inside.
It could be witnessed in the street names and statues along the concourses of Boston and New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta where immigrant giants are today honored where generations before were found signs that said “Irish need not apply” or “wops and dagos not welcome”.
Neighborhood by neighborhood, county by county, state by state, region by region, we struggle every day to find that space where we can care for our own, while at the same time, drawing the circle of America more broadly.
It is often a long and painful process. But the overwhelming majority of us believe in it… believe it is in our DNA as Americans.
Part of that genetic code is the sacred obligation we share to provide a better life for those who follow us; found in the ancient Lakota proverb that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children and grandchildren. This belief can be translated into every language and culture woven into the great American tapestry. It is the bedrock of the American song.
Over the years there have been those politicians and pariahs who have, like our current President, sought to use fear and divisiveness to drown out that song: Andrew Jackson, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, Father Coughlin, George Lincoln Rockwell, among others, but the American song has always prevailed.
It has prevailed because, despite the challenges and the difficulty, Americans have joined together at critical times, to sing louder than those forces of division.
It has not been easy . . . But when it mattered most – often when the darkness seemed nearly overwhelming – we have mustered the courage to confront even the most challenging crisis.
This is just such a moment.
If we fail to act against the President, especially in light of the latest revelations involving withholding, already appropriated military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure them to investigate a US political rival, we will have set a precedent for future generations. Allowing Presidents to completely ignore the laws and the norms of our democracy.
Will the Senate convict him? Probably not, but if the winds begin to blow hard enough the Senate may yield. However, removing President Trump from office is not the issue. The issue is standing up for the rule of law and the norms of democracy which have been violated time and time again with impunity by this President. In fact, I would argue that the best possible outcome would be to have the House impeach the President and then the people of the United States remove him in an election. In this way the House will have fulfilled its sacred duty but the people will have the final word.
Today we face the confluence of a set of challenges that threaten not only the American song but the very survival of the human race. We cannot afford to have a President who flaunts the law, meddles with American National security for his own personal interest and coddles leaders who represent the worst of human instincts while the planet burns and average citizens see their economic futures imperiled by savage income disparity.
The Climate Crisis is the most important existential challenge we have ever faced. If we don’t act, and act fast, none of the other issues will matter, no matter how important we find them. Yet the President continues to deny Climate Change and has withdrawn the United States from its leadership position in the fight to save one million species on the brink of extinction, including us.
The Congress has fulfilled its constitutional duty in opening up an impeachment inquiry. Now it’s going to be up to the rest of us to save our environment, ourselves, and our Democracy.
InDepthNH.org takes no position on political matters. The opinions expressed here belong to the writer.
About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor, , though he is now a registered Independent; he is also the former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now host of two Podcasts – The Radical Centrist (www.theradicalcentrist.us) and NH Secrets, Legends and Lore (www.nhsecrets.blogspot.com). His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel “Sacred Trust” a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline all available on Amazon.com. He now lives in Thornton, New Hampshire at the base of Welch Mountain where he proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing . You can help spread the word by following and supporting him at www.Patreon.com/TheRadicalCentrist .
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