Sunday, February 19, 2017

Do Not Impeach President Trump

Impeaching Donald Trump is going to be the Holy Grail of the political left in this country for the next four years. It is also, like the Holy Grail of legend, a complete fantasy. The Democrats in the Senate do not have the votes to achieve an impeachment. And also in what should be more a important detail: they don't have a crime. There is plenty of insinuation, and rumor, but no evidence of a law being broken. People have made phone calls, other parties were hacked, weird statements were made, Donald Trump has lied openly, and his positions have been contradictory. But it's all smoke, no fire.

Russia has returned to be a specter in politics for half a year now, at least as long as Donald Trump appeared to have a legitimate chance to beat Hilary Clinton. It seems that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to be president. (In the Cold War Khrushchev also bragged about "voting" for JFK, a vote he probably regretted by 1963.) As sexy as stories of Trump having wild piss parties with prostitutes on the bed that the Obamas slept on are, they're suspicious. These are exactly the kind of thing liberals were dreaming of. The story only could have gotten better if Trump had also used the N-word. National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn has been fired over what is, right now, a minor infraction. He's not going to jail for this, he isn't going to be tried for treason. He is not a Russian sleeper agent.

I've loved the idea of a giant "do-over" button too. One where Trump breaks the law somehow and he's stopped before he takes office or does real damage. But unproven conspiracy theories are not the answer, they're just a repeat of utter nonsense. We can toy with this idea that maybe this Trump thing can go away, that divine intervention will put Hilary Clinton into office (or if you prefer, Bernie Sanders or Michele Obama or Chef Boyardee). However, that intervention isn't coming, nor should it. President Trump is the, if not democratically elected, at least legally elected president. He will have his four years in office, barring actual proof.

The alternative is far worse.

You hear this talk every presidency. There were at least a dozen attempts to impeach Obama, which never went further than crazy wingnuts. George W. Bush suffered plenty of this too and maybe there was a better case back then. Bill Clinton actually was impeached over ultimately nothing. Partisanship in Washington is nothing new. Yet in 2017 over Trump the liberal voices are loud, they're angry, and they're not thinking this through.They are asking for what is actually impossible and sounding just like the unreasonable lunatics that Trump's base thinks they are.

It's easy enough to call Trump a hypocrite after the events of last week, and not just in his nonsensical position on Flynn. How exactly can Flynn be both unfairly tarnished by the media with "Fake News" and also somebody who had to be fired? He can't. Specifically though, Trump's positions on leaks seems to have done a complete 180 degree turn now that it's his people being targeted, not Hilary Clinton. That's not a surprise. But we're all theoretically better than Trump, who is as full of shit on this as he is with everything.

I'd like to direct your attention to just seven or eight years ago, when this "Birther" fantasy took hold in the minds of the right-wing, including a certain Mr. Donald J. Trump. (Who is, again, a hypocrite now that he's the victim of "fake news".) The claim was utter nonsense based on absolutely nothing other than subconscious racism. '"Barack Obama", that's far too Muslim a name for an American, must be actually from Kenya!' The fact was that nobody on their side cared where Obama was born and had no interest in the facts. They just wanted Obama gone, his election nullified. I'm not sure the left is all that much better in 2017.

I know false equivalencies are a plague in politics, but so are repeating dirty tactics. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy, after all, and the ends never justify the means.

First of all, I want to look into who is leaking this information. And these people are not your friends. The sources are the intelligence agencies, old spooky organizations like the NSA, CIA, and FBI. That's the big dark government violating Fourth Amendment rights, the very thing that we supposedly are against. Those constitutional protections include in this case the rights of Michael Flynn, who was at the time of his conversation with the Russians, a private citizen. The details of the investigation are not clear yet, but the legal justification of how or why Flynn's call was tapped is unclear. Yeah, it's an easy escape for the House Republicans to demand an investigation into the leaks, but they're also not wrong.

Let's also recall that many of the leakers in this case are the same sources that were leaking Hilary Clinton's information about her emails during the campaign. Why was that a gross violation of the political system then? Why isn't this now? Back last year the whole issue of Clinton's emails seemed built on a technicality with no actual malicious intent. This time Michael Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, which is law that predates the Louisiana Purchase, and which has never been prosecuted. It's also a law that nobody cared about as early as a month ago and by April will be forgotten again.

What this all might be indicating is a kind of shadow war between the intelligence agencies of this country and the presidency. And before you impulsively choose sides, try to think about it, please. One thing we absolutely do not want in this country for the NSA or the CIA or any of these other bureaucratic mazes to gain any more power than they actual do. This the military industrial complex, the old enemy of leftists for decades. I'm fine with the idea of elected representatives in Congress taking down a lawless president. I'm not fine with a Shadow Government emerging that could buy or sell our representatives at will. You don't want the NSA choosing your leaders.

The escape here is supposedly that it's Russia again. Okay, maybe this is such a severe hostile action that we need to bend the system to fix things. In the ultimate nightmare scenario, the United States government has now become a proxy battle in a new Cold War. Our president is a Commie puppet of Putin with vodka on his breath. Only this time, instead of overthrowing Guatemala, we have to overthrow ourselves. How exactly is this not an act of war by the Russian government if it is all true?

Well, this a terrifying universe to live in, actually one scarier than simply having a Republican president. And it's one I'd prefer not to live in without hard evidence. You know, innocent until proven guilty, and all, which is also part of the Rule of Law.

Months ago I recall Hilary Clinton was treasonous in the eyes of right-wing radio pundits because of a vast conspiracy involving her emails and the Clinton Foundation. (To say nothing of Benghazi and whatever was going on with that whole Pizzagate thing, which is a level of insanity that I am not equipped to even contemplate.) Republicans had open investigations into her dealings for years, at just the invented hint of sedition. The problem with this narrative was that Hilary had no motive in the end. Their narrative was always incomplete, because if Hilary was selling information to a foreign power, which one? Why? And what do you know, months after the election all this Hilary talk died down, turning into nothing.

This Trump-Russia story is more complete, at least. You have Trump with a motive (to become president), the crime (stealing Democratic emails and discrediting Clinton), and with Flynn's call, perhaps even payment (claiming to lower Russian sanctions). And yet, for all that, that's all it is in the end. A story. Or more specifically, it's a conspiracy theory.

Let's say this theory right now is enough to convince Congress to remove Trump from office tomorrow, with no evidence. Let's say all the liberal fantasies come true. What's next?

Well, the Russians may have hacked into emails and may have conspired to make Trump president, but they didn't hack into American minds. There is still a huge constituency to Donald Trump and Republican ideas - terrible as they are. Those ideas won the day last election. They've won the right to be pushed forward, debated, and made into law if they pass Congress and the Courts. Opposition to those ideas must come from a rational frame of mind. They are not going away simply by sweeping them under the rug, they only become more radical and crazy that way. We're going to have to entertain Donald Trump for four years, because he is a legitimate president. You have to give your political opposition a legitimate means to affect change. Because otherwise, they'll choose an illegitimate one.

Probably involving guns.

I know we all want to silence the worst parts of Donald Trump and ugliest parts of his supporters. The alt-right are unrepentantly awful in just about every way. I'm being controversial by saying that. But you can't shut them up and neither do you want to. This Trump thing is not something we have to like, it isn't even something we have to support. Oppose it, at every opportunity. Maybe try to think through your shitposts on twitter a bit more thoroughly and try to be more respectful, but this oppose it.

But Trump is going to exist. There is no 'Get Out of Trump Free Card'. That's fantasy. In the real world the only option is to fight it, rationally, reasonably, and with realistic goals, according to fair lawful practice. We have to share our country with these people after all, no matter how you hate them.

Supposedly this is the side of the better ideas. The side of thought, the side of wisdom, the side of facts. Well, impeaching Trump is a very bad idea, and it's origin isn't in wisdom or facts, it's in gut disgust. This isn't a solution, it's revenge.

1 comment:

  1. I want Trump gone, the thing is that Pence would take over and arguably he is worst as he is a Right Wing Extremist who actually is intelligent.
    That would be worse for all of us.

    My most realistic hope is in 2 years when the House votes ( I think its the house, not American) , the Democrats gets a majority so they can curtail any actions by Trump.
    Similar to what happened with Obama for most of his presidency.
    Turnabout is fair play.

    Also good to have you back, sorry you came back to talk about something so depressing.

    Sword Of Primus