Sydney M. Williams
Thought of the Day
“Impeachment, Instead of Debate Over Capitalism and Sovereignty”
September 30, 2019
“‘No, no!’ said the [Red] Queen. ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’”
‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first.’”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
In the case of the President Trump and impeachment, a verdict has been rendered without a trial. A visceral hatred for Mr. Trump, an outsider who campaigned on cleaning the swamp that was (and is) Washington, D.C., is all that Democrats need as prima facie evidence.
Outside this maelstrom of malice, the West faces stark alternatives. But instead of debating issues that will affect us, our children and grandchildren, specifically capitalism and sovereignty, politicians have chosen to throw up red herrings, like climate change, white supremacy, equality, gender identity, immigration, etc. Progressives have tried to undo the will of the people, i.e. to deny Brexit to the people of the UK and to declare fraudulent an election in the U.S. Debate is impossible when personal, venal hatred replaces deliberative and respectful disagreement. An intentional consequence has been unprecedented scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his appointees. With individuals vilified and high legal expenses incurred, lives have been destroyed for some and bankrupted for others. Is it any wonder so many have left the Administration?
This is not meant to trivialize these other issues. The constant effect of an ever-changing climate is something we must monitor and do what we can to alter and/or adapt, but we shouldn’t let emotions substitute for reason, or use children to score political points. No real conservative denies the existence of white oppression and privilege, but we question its ubiquity. Where it exists, it must be confronted and addressed. Equality is tricky and subject to interpretation – are we referring to equality of opportunities or equality of outcomes? Conservatives believe in the former, while progressives desire the latter. Conservatives are mindful that the favored should bear some responsibility for those less fortunate, but they believe that concern should be manifested in the actions of individuals, not diktats of the state, for morality and compassion are characteristics of people, not bureaucracies. Al genders deserve respect. As for immigration, politicians believe this crisis unresolved is better than were it resolved.
The last few days have seen more red herrings sown. A Presidential election is just over a year away. The economy, the single most important consideration in a Presidential election, is humming, not as fast as Mr. Trump would like, but better than it had been. Unemployment is at record lows and employment at record highs, especially for African Americans and Hispanics. Incomes have increased, particularly for those at the low end of the income scale. The tax bill and deregulation have not only helped the economy and tax receipts, they have helped the poor and hurt the wealthy in high-tax states. Joe Biden, in my opinion, has been permanently sidelined by the disclosure of his and his son’s antics in Ukraine. With the exception of candidates like Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet (all polling in single digits), Democrat Presidential candidates have swung far to the left, putting at risk their aspirations and that of their Party. Candidates could, legitimately, question excessive spending on the part of Republicans, but their (Democrats) proposed programs would result in even more spending and greater deficits.
Democrats, thus, have resorted to politics of personal destruction. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the self-righteous, pompous chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, lied to Congress without consequence, when last week he pretended to read a section from the transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25th call to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Schiff later claimed his words were meant “to be, at least in part, parody.” Parody! Is parody acceptable for a U.S. Congressman who is chairman of a committee investigating a sitting President under threat of impeachment? Where is his sense of decency and respect? Why have we, as a nation, seen civility sink to such depths? As well, the entertainment world and the media serve as supplicants to their elite masters on Capitol Hill, using, for example, verbs like “implores” and “demands,” as ABC News did, and “pressures” as the New York Times did, to distort the words President Trump used in his telephone conversation with the Ukrainian President. Why haven’t all news outlets printed the transcript and let the people read it for themselves? In the transcript, Mr. Trump concludes his request about Biden with the words “if you can look into it…” “When you’ve once said a thing,” spoke the Red Queen to Alice in Through the Looking Glass, “that fixes it, and you must take the consequences.” Mr. Trump is an easy target. He was never one of the “good old boys,” as he came to the Presidency with no previous political experience. He is not “of the manor born” – something, ironically, that appeals to those who claim to fight for the poor and oppressed. Mr. Trump is curt and humorless. He is no one’s image of a victim; nevertheless, like Shakespeare’s Lear, he is “…more sinn’d against than sinning.”
What is especially dispiriting is that politicians ignore two critical issues that deserve debate: Are we better off with a political-economic system based on principles of “refereed” free-market capitalism or one that tilts toward socialism and statism? President Obama raised the specter of an all-consuming, compassionate state in his video, “Life of Julia” and in the Obamacare ad with “Pajama Boy” – a frightening prospect for those of us who value freedom, but perhaps comforting to those who prefer the cocoon of a benevolent government. The stakes have been raised further with the proposed “Green New Deal,” healthcare for all, free college and a universal basic income. With those added services, what are the costs and what individual rights would be foregone? The second issue is one of national sovereignty versus global governance. President Trump spoke of this in his speech at the UN, which received little coverage and no applause from sitting members, whose self-interest is the continued strengthening of global institutions. Nevertheless, the question needs be asked: Would you prefer to live in a world where global governance dominates individual nations, or is the world safer when sovereign nations predominate? History tells of risks to individuals when empires and reichs are forced on people and nations. Yet, the West is moving toward a world where global governments play an ever-enlarging role, and entities like the UN and the European Union are gaining ever-increasing powers. On one side, we have free people and sovereign states; on the other, unelected bureaucratic enacting and administering laws. The West deserves a serious debate on these issues and an exploration of the consequences of what current trends portend.
Impeachment is a serious business. It should be. Removal from office by impeachment is reserved for those who have been tried and convicted for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Two previous President have been impeached by the House of Representatives – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – but neither was removed from office by the U.S. Senate. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. Had he not, he would certainly have been impeached and probably removed. Impeachment should not to be used for political purposes, to destroy a President whose crime is that some people don’t like him. The politicization of the Constitution will have long-term ramifications. It will take us down a path that leads away from the Republic that Benjamin Franklin assured us would be ours, “if we can keep it.” To stay true to that path, we should be debating and considering the issues mentioned above.
 Zelensky can also be spelled with two “y’s” or with an “i” before the “y.” I chose the simpler version.