We should impeach our Presidents more often than we do. Given the extent of Presidential powers, impeachment should be more common, not less. Impeachment should be “normalized.” It should not be harder to relieve a President of duty than a Starbuck’s barista. Presidents have led us into foolish wars, sabotaged peace talks to extricate us from foolish wars for political gain, and have drunkenly threatened Armageddon. Some of them, most emphatically, needed to go.

Yet, as the need to impeach becomes greater, political dysfunction has made it less possible, since the tool has been weaponized for our tribal partisan struggles. The aforementioned President was not relieved of duty for his many crimes against humanity, but for a political crime: illegal spying against his tribal enemies. Bill Clinton was impeached for conduct that was quaintly normal (to our political class, anyway). Our system, as it is now, lacks the functionality for this “normalizing impeachment” approach to turn out wisely.

The aftermath of the Mueller report, and partisan struggles over the plain English therein, reinforces the case of hopeless political dysfunction.

Let’s begin with the fact that a multi-million dollar, three-year investigation yielded no charges on the Special Prosecutor’s remit: the proof of “coordination” between members of the Trump campaign team, and the Russian intelligence apparatus. Not one single indictment. Granted, the net caught other slimy eels, as they pursued conduct which, again, seems quite “normal” for the political class. With America’s tradition of presumption of innocence, we must declare the President as innocent as can reasonably said about any innocence, by virtue of his exoneration in what must surely be the most thorough investigation in American history.

Now, the Democrats have moved on seamlessly to an accusation of obstruction of justice. Let’s risk bursting a brain vessel by imagining ourselves in Donald Trump’s place: he became Chief Executive of a system he seems unable to pass a High School civics class on. He immediately finds himself under assault by two of the most powerful institutions in the nation: the Democratic Party and the FBI (not that he didn’t deserve the FBI’s attentions). And, then, he is denounced for shifty panic? That would have seemed a good idea to me, in his place. I think I would probably say “I’m fucked!” if I faced a power-array like that. This is not the same as saying “I’m guilty.” People say the same when they get mugged. It’s newsworthy that he had to be rescued on a point of procedure by his lawyer, from an ignorant move to defend himself? A reason for contempt of lawyers our culture has had going back to William Shakespeare, maybe, but unusual? Or impeachable? Hardly.

This newsworthiness of panic in the face of evidence of bias among his investigators? In my field, a race-utterance brings instant termination, because it raises an issue of bias in patient care, and trust is much of my currency for success. So much more so a prosecutor. Is fear unusual in the face of unprecedented media hostility, with constant impeachment/jailing drum-beating? This is all coming at him after winning the Presidency partly on the promise of a swamp-drain. Now we know that the swamp-creatures attacked him for it, and he’s expected to cooperate? Isn’t this why the Founders wanted a Presidency free from normal approaches to criminality in the first place? Because they foresaw the tendency to weaponize crimes for political goals? I do hate it when President Trump is right, but right is right. I learned this the hard way when I lost a bet that CNN cheated on the debates and allowed candidate Hillary Clinton crib notes on the questions (a “tin foil hat conspiracy” I dismissed at the time). Cue Trump’s jeer: “FAAAKE NEWWZZZ!”

Much has been made of President Trumps’ motives in obstructing what we now know is a politically motivated investigation. Motives: just so. Since we know now what Trump knew then (that he was innocent), the removal of a political appointee, James Comey, was obstruction, and not politics? We have Mueller tut-tutting that Trump failed to make things easier on his nothing investigation (the collusion portion)? What about the motives of the Special Prosecutor? We now know there was zero actionable evidence, and it’s laughable to maintain that an investigation of this size and scope would have been brought against someone who was not a political figure. That makes the Special Prosecutor’s investigation a politically motivated one. Insisted upon by a political entity, the swamp dwellers (which is not to say that the process didn’t need to play out).

Does America really want to weaponize our politics further by using the legal system to disallow resistance to political attacks? Is this a weapon we want the tribes having? Remember, make the weapon for your tribe today, and it will be picked up by the other tomorrow. One of my first posts on this blog was on the Frankenstein’s monster Obama set in motion with his “pen and phone,” which is now being controlled by Donald Trump.

One day the Orange Id will be gone. One way or another. Democrats need to consider the irony of breaking the American system, the oldest and most successful on the planet, in trying to attack a system bender (perceived, and debatable). We have had a great many examples of our cures being worse than the diseases, from the war on terror to the war on drugs.

By my lights, obstruction of a political attack is called: politics. The remedy is the ballot box. This has worked for us for a long time.

Some other ironies for the few remaining non-partisans:

Illuminating, if not karma, that the Democrats accuse Trump of skirting the very edge of legality here, when for over twenty years Americans have had adjectives in our lexicon to describe the same thing: “Clintonesque,” and “Clintonian.” I can’t recall that the Democrats were much concerned about it for all of those years. They chose that word’s subject as their front runner.

Illuminating, if not karma, that Democrats press for Trump’s impeachment for sexual violations (in a John/Prostitute squabble), contrasts terribly with their defense of the sexual harassment/slut-shame/ruination of an intern naïf during the President Clinton affair.

Illuminating, if not karma, that the Democrats hang virtually their whole governing agenda (going on three-quarters of Trump’s administration now), to pursuing an intelligence accusation, when their leader committed national security breaches that lesser mortals have been jailed for.

Illuminating, if not karma, that our two instances of Special Prosecutors (the Trump collusion, and Clinton Whitewater affairs) both dredged up issues tangential to their narrow (though deep) remits. Which lead to knives-out political struggles that achieved nothing good. Shining a special spotlight on the political class is not necessarily a bad idea, given their special powers, special immunities, and seemingly specially common criminality. But the same light needs shining on Team Red and Team Blue for the process to retain its essential credibility. It’s time for an entity whose job it is to investigate political crimes objectively (as far as possible), and in context. Say, a branch of the FBI, with its own funding line.

Illuminating, if not karma, that our legal system, the largest machine for incarceration the world has ever known, cannot seem to touch the system’s makers and controllers. Applying the machinery to its makers would offer a promise of reform.

When the tribes fling accusations of treachery, calumny, lackadaisical intelligence practices and lawyered-up criminal parsing (“it depends on what the definition of IS, is”), at each other, the only thing a fair-minded person can say is: “yes..and?” Both sides are as right as they are wrong. The collective American political mind has reconciled this truth, with its widespread contempt for its political class for over a generation now (except the outrage seems only hurled at the “other” side). Which explains much of the Trump phenomenon in the first damn place. No behavior on display in this affair should change any American’s mind on any of that.

The Trump impeachment affair also offers us a perfect microcosm of what the American system has degraded into: outrageous behavior that cannot be addressed, snow-balling into more, which cannot be addressed, for fear of leaving an opening for the tribal enemy to do worse. Trump/Clinton seems flips of the same coin, as far as “integrity” goes (don’t laugh), to this non-partisan. Yet the tribes are in a death struggle over the narrow differences and hypocrisies between the two.

This resembles nothing as much as a narrow, almost religious, struggle to define and banish orthodoxies. With no way (or reason, even) for any but the Priestly class to understand the issues using basic morality (“do unto others”). For this, the tribes seem ready to create a Constitutional crisis.

All of this should be considered by voters the next time politicians ask the people for more power to do anything.

Eugene Darden Nicholas

About Eugene Darden Nicholas

Eugene Darden (Ed) Nicholas is from Flushing Queens, where he grew up sheltered from the hard world, learning the true things after graduating college and becoming a paramedic in Harlem. School continues to inform and entertain in all its true, Shakespearean glory. It's a lot of fun, really. In that career, dozens of people walk the earth now who would not be otherwise. (The number depends on how literally or figuratively you choose to add). He added a beloved wife to his little family, which is healthy. He is also well blessed in friends and colleagues.


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