Impeachment will only add to polarization
If the divisiveness in our nation is to end, we must find ways to move beyond this tumultuous final stretch of Donald Trump’s presidency.
A new battle on Capitol Hill over whether to impeach Trump in the final days before his term expires does not appear to be the logical way to address this.
Just days before President-elect Joe Biden will take office on Jan. 20, elected leaders in Washington are taking up a single charge against Trump, this time alleging, “incitement of insurrection,” hoping once again to impeach the president.
The House could begin debating the latest impeachment resolution as early as Wednesday — exactly one week before Trump’s presidency officially will end.
Not only is this a ridiculous way to spend precious time, energy and effort when so many other issues must be taken up, but it also will serve only to further divide our nation.
Even Biden appears to be treading carefully, with full knowledge of how these moves could impact the start of his presidency, as well as the outlook for this increasingly polarized nation.
That’s why we call on our congressman, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, to speak boldly, not in partisanship walking the Democratic line with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but rather to use his promises of bipartisanship to do what is right for the nation’s unity and end this effort that will serve only to further divide our nation.
We urge Ryan to call on his fellow Democrats to take pause and realize that any misstep could not only intensify the division, but backfire by slowing Biden’s ability to win quick congressional approval of his Cabinet picks and other priorities, including COVID-19 response.
“What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide,” Biden told reporters last week. “But I’m going to have to and they’re going to have to be ready to hit the ground running, because when Kamala (Harris) and I are sworn in, we’re going to be introducing, immediately, significant pieces of legislation that will deal with the virus, deal with the economy and deal with economic growth.”
Apparently concerned over the timing of an impeachment trial, Biden suggested splitting lawmakers’ time, perhaps “go a half day on dealing with impeachment, a half day on getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package” for more COVID relief.
It’s a lot to consider, and frankly, we believe our elected officials should be spending their time working to help Biden’s presidency get off on the right foot.
A House resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove Trump from office was blocked by Republicans. However, the full House is set to hold a roll call vote on that resolution today, and it is expected to pass.
After that, Pelosi said Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Next, the House would proceed to impeachment. A vote could come Wednesday.
Since it’s unlikely any removal attempt will be resolved with a Senate impeachment trial before Jan. 20, it seems Democrats have a larger purpose: to disqualify Trump from ever again holding public office.
Trump “warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States,” reads the new article of impeachment that House Democrats drafted against Trump for his involvement in inciting insurrection by encouraging rioters who last week attacked the U.S. Capitol Building.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate could prevent Trump, if convicted, from ever holding public office again. However, the Constitution doesn’t specify whether that requires a two-thirds majority vote.
According to published reports, the Supreme Court never has ruled on whether a supermajority vote of two-thirds is required for disqualification. If the Senate were to vote to disqualify a president from future office with a simple majority, it would be unprecedented, likely setting off a lengthy legal battle, further dividing the nation.
Is this really the way to resolve our nation’s polarization?
In the end, we should be fighting for unity, not vindictiveness.
Calming words of logic from Ryan, our congressman with growing Washington clout and seniority, could gain the attention of his colleagues. We urge him to raise the question boldly: Is this the right direction to go? And what really will come of this impeachment attempt?