As a public school teacher, I am rightly required to maintain the semblance of political neutrality. But as the creator of YouTube mistersato411 videos, and on my privately-owned website, I believe I am free to express my views. I try to exercise restraint when using my Twitter account since people of different political stripes use my videos and I am grateful to all of them. But Dirty Don’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” stink to high heaven and require comment.
First, it irritates me that the GOP trivialized impeachment by impeaching Bill Clinton. The corruption of Dirty Don is of historical proportions. THAT’s what impeachment is supposed to be for. It doesn’t belong in the same class as Bill Clinton’s admittedly shameful but private transgression.
Second, I understand the political wisdom of focusing on the Ukraine extortion, and yes, that’s a disgraceful and absolutely impeachable abuse of power, but I really hope the articles of impeachment include the many examples of obstruction of justice. I’m not hearing anything about that.
The ways Dirty Don tried to intimidate anyone who might talk to the FBI or to Mueller and is still trying to block anyone from talking to Congress is like something from The Sopranos. Demanding personal loyalty to him rather than the Constitution is appalling, undemocratic, and very Nixon-esque. Roger Stone, one of his flunkies (who actually has a drawing of Nixon tattooed on his back), on multiple occasions even encouraged a witness to “do a Frank Pantangeli,” a character from The Godfather II who reverses his testimony against a Mafia Don. (Ahem.)
Dirty Don fired Comey for saying his loyalty was to the country, not the president, and then Sessions for not interfering in Mueller’s investigation to protect him. He fired Flynn in an effort to make him the patsy, then said “now that Flynn is gone, this whole Russian thing is over.” He said the same thing to Russians after firing Comey. I could go on (and on) about the President’s abuses of power, but his obstructions of justice are what most offend me. (See this CBS article.)
Because it is unlikely the complicit Republican majority in the Senate will actually remove him from office, this impeachment is essentially an official censure on steroids. The Democrats in Congress are going on the record for historians, saying they knew what was going on and that they publicly opposed the continuation of his presidency. The impeachment will be a black mark on Dirty Don’s presidency that will require explanation anytime he is referenced in future historical texts. It will forever be a bit of toilet paper stuck to his shoe like Watergate is stuck to Nixon’s.
And, coming full circle, that’s why it ticks me off that the Republicans in 1998 used impeachment in a purely political way. Dirty Don’s supporters will say (and are saying) that this is a purely political move, not a serious attempt to check an abuse of the executive branch’s power. They are saying that this is a partisan maneuver to overturn the 2016 election just like the Republicans tried to do to Clinton 20 years ago.
As an educator of young Americans, I like to think that the electorate is smart enough to know a thoroughly corrupt criminal and his many accomplices, including Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, when it sees them. It wasn’t in 2016. Over the next year, we’ll see if it has learned anything.
If it hasn’t, I guess we’ll have to play the long game. The Don can still be prosecuted after he returns to civilian life. In the 2016 election, I was horrified to see his supporters chanting “lock her up” about his political rival. Jailing political opponents is something that tinpot dictators do. But if he is not removed from office in these impeachment proceedings, then prosecuting Don after he leaves office would be fair and justified.
So, in the end, impeachment proceedings are an imperfect and politically compromised tool, but it’s the only tool we have at hand. Let’s keep our eyes on how our actions will be viewed by our posterity, and that includes shining the spotlight on all of Don’s corrupt acts, not just the ones we think the electorate can easily grasp. As Speaker Pelosi says, this is a sad and somber duty. Let’s get it right.
All opinions are my own.
November 2, 2019.