Ralph Waldo Emersion said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds….” So it is with cults where members put consistent, absolute faith in a charismatic and, often, psychopathic leader, sometimes following them into death like what happened with the David Koresh and Jim Jones cults. Sometimes whole nations consume the Kool-Aid.
Even after Nixon’s criminality was revealed, about 20 percent of Americans continued to support him. Likewise, President Donald Trump’s base has remained loyal, with approval ratings staying between 43 percent and 46 percent.
When Trump stated he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue without losing a vote, he was pointing to his follower’s cultish faith. Cult “of personality” and “of masculinity” are characteristics attributed to fascist leaders.
The fact Attorney General William Barr is acting like Trump’s personal defense attorney, and not the people’s Attorney General, hasn’t affected Trump’s approval ratings. Misleading America, Barr permitted Trump to shout “absolute and complete exoneration” for weeks when the opposite was true. Some 700 former federal prosecutors signed a petition stating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report documented numerous “obstruction of justice” felonies. Opinions vary as to whether Trump should be indicted on four or eight counts of obstruction of justice. Previously, we knew of two felony campaign finance violations in the payments to a Playboy model and a adult film actress. Yet Trump’s base remains enthralled.
Nevertheless, when facts change, some folks do change their opinions. Since April, support for impeachment increased 5 percent. A recent Reuters-Ipsos poll found 45 percent support impeachment while 42 percent don’t. The Mueller report, Barr’s coverup and Trump’s continuing obstruction changed the facts. After Mueller’s report was released, several Democratic candidates called for impeachment, while the others agree he deserves impeachment but aren’t calling for it…yet. Now 70 percent of Democrats support impeachment.
To some progressives the argument that Vice President Mike Pence would be just as bad isn’t valid. Pence’s parroting of Trump is reprehensible, but Pence is unlikely to rise to the level of immorality that Trump is capable of. Lacking empathy, Trump has no shame. He is capable of anything.
Some progressives think impeachment could backfire, like it did on Republicans for impeaching Clinton. But others maintain the situation isn’t similar. Clinton was impeached for political reasons using a minor issue as an excuse, while Trump has many felonies pending, violates our Constitution, and fails to protect our democracy from Russian aggression. They find the danger too extreme to wait until 2020.
With many indictments waiting for Trump upon leaving office, his panic and ruthlessness to remain in power will increase. Re-election could run out the statute of limitations on prosecution. If defeated in 2020, some, including Trump’s ex-personal attorney Michael Cohen have said he won’t leave office peacefully. Trump recently warned, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad — very bad.”
Impeachment will fail in the Republican controlled Senate. The disagreement among Democrats is about practicality, not a lack of “high crimes.” Americans supporting impeachment fear the danger we are in outweighs practicality. Progressive Thom Hartmann pointed recently that in 2012 Trump tweeted four times that President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran just to get re-elected. Trump understands Americans rally around a president during wartime. As I write this, American war ships are heading towards Iran.
MSNBC host Rachael Maddow suggested impeachment will help Congress defeat Trump’s stonewalling, making it easier to interview witnesses, read Mueller’s complete report, obtain bank records and review his taxes. Impeachment will help Americans understand the facts. Most Americans will not read the Mueller report, but will listen to witnesses.
Denying Russia’s attack, Trump hasn’t acted to protect us from future aggression. Recently, he spoke with Putin for 90 minutes, failing to tell Putin not to interfere with our election. That’s silent-collusion. Impeachment will help protect us.
Previously I wrote, “A progressive argument against impeachment.” Many likely concluded I was against impeachment. But a careful reading of both articles will reveal that I never say “I think.” My goal is to lay out the arguments for and against impeachment. Eventually I will have an opinion. As new facts emerge, I expect my thinking to evolve.
Roger Ledbetter is a politically-active resident of the Valley. He and his family have lived in Snoqualmie since 1979. Contact Roger Ledbetter through the editor by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.