Donald Trump is inept, to understate. But we’ve dealt with Republican idiots in the past, presumably the same Republican idiots that conservatives put in office just so that they could commit war crimes, all in the name of God and country. No, this is different—Trump is a threat to our national security, as is becoming more apparent as more information comes out. Disastrous and daunting though this Idiocracy may be, we are not simply threatened by just an openly theocratic Attorney General or a treasonous president.
The problem is not merely that federal law and the Republican Party have become antithetical. The problem is also that the House of Representatives has become toothless and is repeatedly failing to punish lawbreakers and maintain law and order.
First and foremost, Trump should have been removed from office the moment he unsuccessfully tried to fire Robert Mueller, and subsequently ordered his staff to create a false record that such an attempt had not happened. This was confirmed during Mueller’s July testimony following the full release of the Mueller Report, another point at which impeachment proceedings probably should have begun immediately and without scruple. Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waited until September to informally announce such a measure—and it may very well be too late. Not only are we closing in on Trump’s hopeful last year in office, but any formal measures will now have to play second fiddle to winter holidays and a drumline of congressional recesses. Despite the House already having the amount of votes necessary to impeach Trump and pass the process to the Senate, it’s taken the House this long just to vote to make the proceedings official (CNN, “Democrats moving toward next phase of impeachment inquiry with key vote,” 10.28.2019).
The only reason that I even waste ink on the ugly beauty of bureaucracy is because impeachment is by far the best legal approach to attack the president. Outside the lines of a constitutional takedown, POTUS is largely untouchable while in office.
However, Trump et al. have escalated their rhetoric to include suggesting the arrest of certain political opponents, not to mention openly encouraging mass violence and insurrection. This goes on even while the career congresspersons too spineless to achieve political progress bother with the language of votes and investigation. Beyond the gates of government, this rhetoric is best exemplified in the El Paso shooting, the suspect of which authored a manifesto decrying a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” something which has been described as “[R]hetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from what Trump has said on Twitter and during campaign rallies.” (Vanity Fair, “’The President of the United States Says it’s Okay’: The Rise of the Trump Defense,” 09.08.2019).
In the context of general unease and discontent rising in society, philosopher and social theorist Slavoj Žižek writes, “The key question now is: who will articulate this discontent? Will it be left to nationalist populists to exploit? Therein resides the big task for the Left” (Verso, “Living in the End Times,” 2010).
The answer may be disheartening. Clearly, the voice of the individual voter has declined in its strength with Trump’s leveraging of the Electoral College, despite receiving several million fewer popular votes than his opponent. This effectively underscores that property ownership still gives a select minority a larger voice in democratic processes than the unlanded. That is, the way modern U.S. election strategy has developed, low-population swing states such as New Hampshire and low-population density states like Nevada have garnered the attention of presidential candidates. All of this is just the cherry on top of the terrific sundae that the Electoral College enables someone to be elected without being elected by the majority of the country’s population. Moreover, despite popular votes resulting in Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, the House has yet to launch an easy impeachment vote, not to mention their choosing to let reckless Republicans off the hook when it comes to repeatedly threatening individual and national safety.
Since lawless conservatives in Congress have escalated the situation, the liberals controlling the House of Representatives must rise to the occasion. On Oct. 23, House Republicans blatantly violated security protocols by improperly barging in on a closeddoor impeachment deposition being held in a chamber reserved for sensitive intelligence operations. Director of the National Security Program at Third Way Mieke Eoyang stressed the gravity of the group infraction first in a Twitter thread, then in a CNN oped. Eoyang makes clear, “The SCIF for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence [the very chamber that select Republican congresspeople illicitly entered] is one of the most sensitive in the nation” (CNN, “For any national security professional, GOP stunt is a serious breach” 10.24.2019). That’s right, as Vivian Kane of online publication The Mary Sue underscores, “This may sound small, but it’s a HUGE violation, and [Republicans are] just flaunting that violation by actively tweeting it” (The Mary Sue, “House Republicans Are Making Fools of Themselves by Storming a Deposition to Derail Impeachment,” 10.23.2019). I’ll echo the same question Kane asks in a separate article:
Why haven’t these congresspeople been arrested? Why are the Democrats in the House dragging their feet impeaching the biggest-ever threat to American sovereignty? At this point, I am so exasperated by officials repeatedly blatantly breaking rules that I find myself having to ask these questions over and over again.
The answer is the aforementioned weakness brought on by the desire to cling to power, to collect a paycheck and, as establishment liberals, to usher in just enough change so as to appear progressive. These people support a status quo that keeps the same politicians in power while endlessly profiteering. It is this spineless impulse that may very well had led the DNC to betray Bernie Sanders in 2016, and the same impulse that delayed the opening of the impeachment inquiry for so long. After taking into account the long history of bureaucrats and politicians disregarding the wants and needs of the public that elected them, it becomes more and more clear that any lowercase “r” republican impulse in the U.S. is quickly fading out of fashion. Meanwhile, theocratic oligarchy and kleptocracy find it less and less necessary to veil themselves.
Conservatives and reactionaries often look nostalgically on the good ol’ days of the United States’ Founding Fathers as a means of escapism, carefully disguised as a search for guidance. You know, the good ol’ days when white folk owned and enslaved Black people, when only rich white men could vote and when women were seen and not heard. Some students would suggest that we need a new Founding Father to right the ship: “Our country’s founding fathers are beacons of leadership in the dark and murky waters of our current politics. The founding of a country with unprecedented ideas of liberty only happened as a result of great men deliberating fundamental values and eternal truths, in an effort to promote the common good” (Vassar Political Review, “America needs a statesman,” 10.22.2019). Not only is the concept of statesmanship inherently patriarchal, but the belief in a colonial Santa Claus is adorable. America does not need to romanticize and remain attached to a problematic past as a means of turning our eyes from the present. Those who obsess over statesmen have been ignoring leaders right in front of them (not to mention stateswomen right in front of them).
As one can see, conservatives pray to altars dedicated to 18th-century plantation owners. On the other side of the aisle, moderate Democrats in government are taking their sweet time enacting change, wary of being too progressive to challenge the establishment providing them with power. However, we do not need more politicians that can be romanticized by historians and conservatives generations from now, as my conservative counterparts in student media might suggest. Moreover, we cannot afford to delay justice any longer, as the House’s inaction forces us to do. The authorities need to take out the trash and arrest those breaking federal laws by entering SCIFs and bragging about it. We need to impeach the president, and not when it’s just convenient for establishment Democrats attempting to cling to power. We need to abolish the Electoral College and re-enfranchise those whose votes have been rendered meaningless by de-democratizing actions, both legal and illegal. We need political revolution to replace the lunacy of the Trump administration, and we need this revolution now.