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EDITORIAL: The Impeachment of President Trump

From the Editors  |  Issue: January 2020

What is at stake is whom government serves. Is it Wall Street and corporations? Or is it humanity?

 

Protest against the caging of children

Protest against the caging of children.
PHOTO: TED QUANT

 

It is hard to listen to the news these days without hearing about impeachment of the President. This is even more consequential given the fact that it occurs in the context of the presidential elections coming in November 2020.

Since before Trump’s election, there have been concerns over his suitability to unite and lead the United States. These concerns became even more vociferous after his election. Despite having lost by over 2 million popular votes, he was handed the presidency through an artifact of slavery in the United States, where state electoral college votes override the popular vote [see Wikipedia on the electoral college].

Almost immediately, Trump began his relentless attack on women, minorities, workers, immigrants and the disabled, clamoring for his border wall, caging children, and separating families on the border. His words and actions have promoted violence in Charlottesville, El Paso, Gilroy and other places. He promptly installed cabinet people who are dismantling or privatizing social service programs they swore to protect such as in education, housing, environmental protection, etc.  He attacked health care by pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act that provides health care for the poor and middle class.  He successfully pushed forward a tax bill that overwhelmingly benefited billionaires at our expense. All this despite his campaign promises to drain the swamp and rein in Wall Street.

Following the Mueller investigation, the decision by House Speaker Pelosi to start an impeachment inquiry with open and closed Congressional hearings, the scope of the proceedings has been unduly narrow. It focused on Trump’s blackmailing the President of Ukraine for personal advantage by delaying Congressionally approved military aid in exchange for “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son and suspected improprieties in business dealings in the Ukraine.

Trump should be impeached for that, but also for his assault on human rights, dignity and democracy. Simply impeaching Trump or seeking to weaken his electability in November 2020 is not enough. Though the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is likely to impeach Trump, the Republican dominated Senate will almost certainly not convict him. He may yet be re-elected by pandering to his base of support, telling his followers that immigrants, the homeless, and other poor are to blame for their economic hardship.

What is at stake is democracy itself – and the age-old vision of the America that can be, the one that inspired immigrants from Latin America and all over the world to come here. We are in crisis, and this is shown in several ways.

There is a constitutional crisis at play in Washington, with the system of checks and balances of the executive, judicial and legislative branches not working. Trump is functioning as a dictator, installing Supreme Court justices of his choosing such as Brett Kavanaugh, demanding unquestioning loyalty of the Republican party and government officials.

There is a crisis in the Democratic Party, reflected in part in the unprecedented number of candidates in the campaign. There is no middle ground anymore. Corporate Democrats are showing their loyalty to Wall Street by accepting campaign donations and attacking Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who champion human needs measures popular to millions. Billionaires such as Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg seek to buy their way into the presidency by financing their own campaigns as Democrats and by not directly threatening Wall Street.

What is at stake is whom government serves. Is it Wall Street and corporations? Or is it humanity? The world is watching, no less Mexico and Latin America. Just as the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence of 1776 inspired wars of independence in Haiti, Mexico, and Latin America, so today what happens in the November 2020 elections will have profound impact. Will it be further meddling and destabilization south of the border such as deposing Evo Morales in Bolivia, promoting chaos in Venezuela, promoting fascist Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and blackmailing Mexican and Guatemalan presidents with higher tariffs if they don’t support repression of Central American migrants?

We have the means to achieve the vision our forefathers and mothers dreamed of. The previously unheard of abundance produced by new means of production provides the material basis to bring this vision to reality. It will entail removing despots from office and fighting to make certain that democracy becomes a reality for everyone. This takes independent thinking and action. That’s what impeachment should really be about.

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