I Didn’t Support Impeachment Until the Democrats Made Me Feel Proud to Be an American
“I guess this is just another lost cause Mr. Paine. All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today of great hatred a man who knows that rule has a great trust. You know that rule Mr. Paine and I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes you’d even die for them. Like a man we both knew Mr. Paine. You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well I’m not licked. And I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.”
— Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
I had no faith left after the 2016 election. I had no faith in democrats. No faith in America. No faith in humanity. And no hope for the future.
I was not angry at Donald Trump, nor at the forces that led to his slimmest of Electoral College victories. Trump was the wolf. It was our job to guard the henhouse. We knew what was at stake: the Supreme Court. The environment. Equal justice under the law. Preventing a wave of “America First” fascist tendencies. We knew all of these things and still a good many on the left chose to demonize Hillary, the one person who could block Donald Trump from becoming President. It was easy to sabotage us after that. We’re so easy to ratf*ck because we ratf*ck ourselves, then and now.
I was angry at the faction of voters on our side who failed to do the only sane thing and unite. I was angry that enough of us did not, just as we didn’t in 2000, see the urgency of this election. Hatred for Hillary Clinton is what led to her loss, not by their side but by a few hundred thousand misguided liberals, far-left liberals who should have been on our side, but they betrayed us. My hatred for those voters lingers, even today — especially since the fit they threw came at the cost of two Supreme Court seats, has led to untold and probably irreparable ravages on the environment, and a country thrust even deeper into two opposing versions of tailor-made realities.
On our side there is this sense that we still have the luxury of reaching for Utopia now that the rug has been ripped out from under us. We’re still arguing about having “only white men” as candidates. We’re still chasing the crumbs Trump throws out on Twitter, still persecuting people like Ellen for sitting next to W. Bush, like that matters — like THAT matters. I don’t know what is happening on the left but we’re not offering safe harbor for anyone wanting to flee the America Trump has made, that’s for sure.
There is no excuse for the stupidity on our side. We’re loathsome, intolerant and intolerable. Those who screamed for impeachment way too early, including Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Octavio Cortez only made it harder for us to impeach Trump now. They dumped on Nancy Pelosi — and even if trolls instigated it, we all too easily joined in the bonfire. Trump put his presidency in jeopardy because he feared the only guy who could beat him, Joe Biden, but he needn’t have worried, democrats could never be smart enough collectively to get it together to support Joe Biden. He is, after all, a “old white guy.” Even now, even today prominent democrats are hemming and hawing about BIDEN. As though we have a CHOICE.
I saw the end even before Trump won. I predicted he would win because it is all so predictable. We had our 1968, now we’re barreling towards our 1972, where Trump will easily win with the Senate majority on impeachment, and very likely win re-election. And again, that’s not anything special he’s doing. It’s the STUPID THINGS WE’RE DOING. Let the people decide is what I believed. Don’t waste money on an impeachment hearing where we already know the outcome.
And Trump, convinced of his invincibility, would love watching the Democrats twist in the wind. And when he takes office in 2020, he will be emboldened, and untouchable. Then we will be brought to our knees. It’s what we deserve, I thought. It’s the only way we will wake up to reality and stop living in the fantasy world of our tailor-made utopian vision that has all but vanished.
I believed all of this up until I the final arguments in the House for Articles of Impeachment against Trump. I thought, when I tuned in to watch the Impeachment hearings, I would be disappointed that the Democrats couldn’t communicate such a complex a message in terms simple and clear enough for the general public to get it. After all, Trump’s side has no problem. They pick a few solid talking points and hammer them home, loud enough so the Trump supporters, or mainstream republicans they must be called now, can hear and in the language that they can hear it.
But I was wrong. As I watch them the past few days — an array of honorable citizens who look like the America I know — I found myself filled with renewed patriotism and pride. Here they are, standing up for nothing more or less than the absolute right thing to do. They aren’t doing it to win an election. They aren’t doing it to boost their own careers. They know that it might be career suicide to go up against such a power-crazed Goliath. But every one of their arguments is grounded in a search for truth and a quest for justice.
The Republican side is lying to the American people. They say there is no evidence. There is evidence. They are saying that it’s a thin charge to bring down a president with. They are saying that democrats are only doing this because they’re afraid of Trump winning in 2020. But here’s the astonishing part: They’re not doing it because they think it will remove Trump. They’re not doing it because they’re desperate. They KNOW this makes it easier for Trump to win. They’re not doing it because it’s EASY, but because it’s hard.
“Great principles don’t get lost when they come to light. They’re right here! You just have to see them again.”
The more the Republicans try to sell the bullshit party line on national TV, the more craven and desperate they look and sound. The more shrill they become in trying to paint Trump as the victim and to claim it’s the Democrats who obstruct Justice, the more pathetic their efforts to gaslight America appear.
It’s sheer nonsense that there is nothing to see here, nothing is wrong — and we’re witnessing how easily Republicans in service of their master can become just like him. What’s frightening is the fact that at least 40% of the electorate has fallen into the same trap of blind loyalty, and they’re at risk of becoming irretrievably just like him. What passes for honestly and integrity has been so twisted for so long now, truth has become a matter of opinion, according to Republicans. They clearly no longer care about the rule of law, or more importantly, that no president is above the law — especially as long as their own survival depends on his lawlessness..
20 years ago they acted like it was perfectly normal to have Linda Tripp wear a wire, cajole Monica Lewinsky into blabbing about her love affair with Bill Clinton, then put him in front of a Grand Jury to admit or deny his affair. That was their ploy, that was their actual perjury trap. They knew he would lie about it, as nearly any man would. He would do anything to protect the public shame it would bring to wife and young daughter. That infidelity was never a matter of national security, but instead best addressed between husband and wife. Oh sure, plenty of people in today’s era want to claim like it was a power thing and a #metoo thing. Nope. It was just a standard, boring, cliche, ill-advised fling. An extra-martial affair like a million others, except this one happened in an office that was oval.
And now Republicans have the nerve to accuse Democrats of impeaching Trump over a threat of international extortion that they say is not strictly a crime. It’s the democrats who are obstructing justice, they say. It’s Adam Schiff! We weren’t allowed to call one witness, they bleat. Right, and not a word about the witnesses Trump forbade to testify. Not a word about what Trump just did, how he threatened the safety of the United States and our precious, precarious democracy. Not one word from them. They are happy to kill this country as is, and happy to beat back the tide of so many people on the other side who don’t look like them. At one point, after many hours, one of them betrayed his true feelings by shrieking, “The America First movement is the most powerful in the history of this country!” America first? AMERICA? I’m not sure they even recognize what America is anymore.
But the other people on the other side of the aisle do. Each of them spoke emotionally about what this country means to them and why. Whether they immigrated here, or grew up in a poor neighborhood here — they understood very clearly what was at stake with this president, not just in his “I want you to do us a favor, though,” but in every single way he has carelessly strangled the principles we hold dear and tossed them aside on his way to making yet another phone call to Vladimir Putin to get instructions on what to do next. THAT is the leader the republicans are defending, one who has sold out American interests to an autocrat. The only thing Trump fears is losing the election. And not because he loves this country but because he can’t tolerate the stinging shame of loss.
I wasn’t proud of a lot of voices in the Democratic party because I knew how many let us down and left us open to this catastrophe. In fact, I’ve been as worried for the past 3 years as I was in the summer of 2016. I saw little reason to be proud or hopeful — until I saw these impeachment hearings. Now, listening to the best and brightest of our Democratic leaders, watching them make the case with such clarify and integrity — I now believe in them. I am proud be aligned with them, in the party that stands for the truth. I am proud to stand alongside them. I offer them my humble appreciation and deepest thanks.
They showed me with their many speeches what it means to be part of a government run for the people, by the people, and of the people. WE run this government, not dictators, not kings. I am proud to stand on the side of the people who still believe in fighting for lost causes. And here’s hoping we can wake up the rest of the country to join the fight in 2020.