Watching the rhetoric in Washington D.C. in recent days I am reminded of the Broadway musical entitled, “1776.” In the midst of that play the northern delegates to Congress were giving John C. Calhoun, the delegate from South Carolina, a hard time about slavery. He responded with a song that pointed out it was “Yankee” boats that brought the slaves. The song finished with the lines:
“Mr. Adams, I give you a toast.
Hail Boston, Hail Charleston!
Who stinketh the most?”
I feel that way reading the words of both Democrats and Republicans as they prepare to begin the Impeachment Trial against President Donald Trump.
The words of two congressmen from South Carolina, Joe Wilson and Jeff Duncan, are good examples. Wilson says, “This continues the deception by Democrats to mislead the American public.” Duncan said, “The campaign to impeach President Trump began just 19 minutes after President Trump took the oath of office.”
Does anyone remember the comments by Republican Senate leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina just after President Barack Obama was elected in 2008? McConnell said, “We have to work to see that he is a one term president. Graham added, “Our job is to fight him tooth and toenail.” Those comments turned out to be self-fulfilling prophesies.
If both the Democrats and Republicans are so committed to the failure of the leadership of the other party, how can we ever hope to have a fully functioning Legislative Branch of government, much less a president who can lead our country toward its future? Don’t they realize that if the president fails at this job, we all fail? If Congress is non-functional, as it has been for most of the past four years, how can the rule of law be protected? So, in the words of “1776”, I ask you, “Who stinketh the most?”
I don’t usually take such a firm position on actions of our Congress. I generally think they know more about what is necessary than do I. But, in this case I will make an exception. The impeachment of President Donald Trump is an exercise in futility. It is going nowhere. It is a waste of time, money and the mental energy of a Congress we elected to do the country’s business. The Democrats may be right and our president may have violated his oath of office and committed an unpardonable sin. The Republicans may be right and our president did nothing that rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Whichever is right, a trial in a Senate dominated by Republicans has no hope of reaching the two-thirds vote necessary to convict President Trump of any violations what-so-ever. One interested attorney asked the question, “If the House decides not to send the Articles of Impeachment has the president been impeached?” The answer to that question is an emphatic, “No.” The House of Representatives has had their inquiry and brought charges. It isn’t impeachment until the Senate begins its process.
Those of us who study history know that our first president, George Washington, in his farewell address to the country warned us about the evils of political parties. He was not speaking from ignorance. He had the benefit of watching both England and France with their multiple political parties wrangle against each other to the detriment of their countries. He implored Congress not to let the same thing happen to us. His words to us on Sept. 17, 1766, should speak volumes to us today.
“Political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government,” Washington said.
Over and over, predictions from our genius founders have proven to be true. This appears to be one of those times.
You can reach Dr. Mark L. Hopkins at email@example.com. Books by Hopkins, “Journey to Gettysburg, The Wounds of War, The World as it was When Jesus Came,” and “Facts & Opinions on the Issues of our Time,” can be acquired at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and through the email above.