[dc]“H[/dc]ere…Right…Matters,” House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff echoed those prophetic words Thursday evening as the Impeachment trial closed out its second day in the chamber of the United States Senate with 100 Senators seated at their desks in only the third such trial in the nation’s history. Of course he borrowed those words from Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman’s testimony before the House Impeachment inquiry last November, when the decorated officer whose family immigrated to the United States from Ukraine explained how it was safe to tell the truth in this country, because after all “this is America.”
Schiff’s eloquent ‘cri de coeur’ capped the second day of opening statements by the House prosecutors in which those who deeply care about the state of our democracy were left to dab their eyes while their chests expanded ever so mightily. At least that is the perspective from which this author can attest. The only real question now is will it be enough?
Purely and simply we are quickly reaching a point where Republican Senators will be forced to cast a vote on whether or not to subpoena documentary evidence and witnesses to counter the hefty weight of accusations and evidence presented by the House management team.That vote is still several days off but the pressure is surely building on the joint efforts of the White House and Senate leadership to dispose of the trial.
The pulse of the American public is surging northwards of 70 percent in favor of allowing witnesses, including 69 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats.
The pulse of the American public is surging northwards of 70 percent in favor of allowing witnesses, including 69 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats. And while a defection of four Republican Senators would seal the fate of a quick disposition of the case, so far the Republican leadership is holding the votes at a purely partisan 53-47, or in one case 52-48, clip.
It is more and more likely that the major question will not be whether or not Trump committed either a criminal act or is guilty of a high crime or misdemeanor but rather whether his actions rise to the level of justifying impeachment and removal from office. The stakes for the character of our unique form of American democracy could be enormous, with a vote that essentially exonerates the President creating a precedent that would unalterably restructure the basic foundations of checks and balances and separation of powers so assiduously crafted by the framers of the Constitution.
It is neither hyperbolic, overstated, or alarmist to offer such suggestions but rather a realistic assessment of the degree to which our nation is split ideologically, regionally, and demographically. Additionally, it is the byproduct of decades of voter suppression, gerrymandering, pervasive expansion of dark money into the electoral processes at all levels, growing inequality of opportunity, income and wealth, and a general loss of confidence in governmental institutions and leaders. And complicating those issues is the degree to which election interference from cyberattacks abroad either has and/or will wreak havoc upon our ability to restore that lost confidence.
Trump, regardless of your opinion of him personally or his policies, thrives upon division and disunity. The transactional nature of his stylistic approach to problem-solving and decision-making promotes his interests and benefits his bottom line, which quite simply is profit and greed. There is no room in his singular calculations, and lest their be any doubt all calculations derive from him and for him, for any conception of the national interest. Hence, continued allegiance to his authoritarian bent will seriously diminish further a world where our commitment to human dignity, freedom and opportunity as a nation is both recognized and admired.
We are quickly coming to a crossroad where unless we take the right turn we both subject ourselves to the dangers of unchecked authority for at a minimum another year and ominously longer. In a very perverse way we must cast our hopes upon people like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Corey Gardner, Lisa Murkowski, perhaps Lamar Alexander and a wild card or two who come out of nowhere to at least offer a chance of further investigation and education on what is or is not acceptable to us as a democratic beacon to the world.
And if you think I am overly pessimistic or exaggerating, remember this is just to give us a chance to hear from Republican appointed witnesses who we have no idea whatsoever what they will testify to. To say that we are in Hail Mary territory is no exaggeration. But we do have to offer our everlasting gratitude to the House managers, led by Adam Schiff, for moving the ball as far down the field as we have to this point. Here…Right…Matters! Let’s hope so.