The biggest news of the day in our country — no matter what your individual concerns or endeavors — is impeachment.
And if the support for it isn’t diverse along party, race and class lines, then we definitely need a check-up as to what it means to be an American living in the model democracy.
Here’s something you should ask yourself: If students have mobilized in Hong Kong and now include middle class families with young kids to get on the streets to demand democracy for their future, why aren’t we as concerned here in America about losing it?
Are we too satisfied taking democracy for granted and willing to let “them,” the political class, do their thing?
The majority of us don’t even vote.
But we should care.
Impeachment isn’t simply about Democrats versus Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pretty frank at a lunchtime session last week in Washington, D.C. when she said the president brought on impeachment by his own actions. She said impeaching the president was a patriotic stand to protect and preserve the Constitution, now and for the future.
“And if we allow one president, any president no matter who she or he may be, to go down this path (unchecked) we are saying goodbye to a republic and hello to a president king.”
That’s the solemn gravity of the moment.
Republicans were anything but solemn in the Judiciary Committee hearings this past week.
They left the facts undisputed: The president made a call to Ukraine; The president withheld money for an ally to fight Russia; The president said he wanted a “favor” of investigations on a tech company suspected of hacking, and on a political rival Joe Biden, and his son in Ukraine.
The facts showcase an abuse of power, putting private interests over national security interests; and because Trump has blocked witnesses like Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others from appearing, as well as failing to provide needed documents, the second article of impeachment is evident — obstruction of Congress.
Instead of dealing with the facts, the defenders of the president acted like any good lawyers. Confuse the issue with irrelevancies. The most egregious might have been Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was arrested for DUI using his time to discuss Hunter Biden’s past substance abuse as evidence that he was unqualified for a job. That was as Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson said like the “pot calling the kettle black.”
The facts are impeachable enough as the three law professors said the previous week, notably Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan. Higher ed is always the trusted resource for confirmation.
But the main thing Republicans did at the committee level was delay.
For fourteen hours they debated amendments on Thursday. Was it enough? Was it undoing the 2016 elections? Look at the economy? It was one irrelevancy after another.
Funny, they should ask if two articles were enough, as if it were as Trump called it “impeachment lite.”
Just remember, one of anything is all it takes to adjudicate and incarcerate a person of color.
No defense attorney ever said, “Your honor, my defendant only killed one man.”
In an era of mass shootings, maybe that will come to pass. But for now, there is no such thing as impeachment lite.
It shows how the Republicans failed to argue like the founders. This isn’t about a statutory law. This is about the Constitution. The Supreme Law. And the Republicans didn’t rise to the occasion. They kept it at the gutter level.
Was that so people could understand and get emotional that somehow Trump was being besmirched?
How was that more of a concern than the foundational principles of our country? Republicans had no answer but they did their best to smokescreen the issues.
Finally, instead of voting at in the wee hours of the morning like they’ve done on hastily put together Trump budgets, the Democrats adjourned to have the vote on Friday morning for all to see.
If you saw the hearings, then you saw the People’s House move the issue along.
And you saw the committee as a microcosm of the issue.
The vote for the two articles was a picture of diversity.
Just look at the “ayes.”
Of the 23 for impeachment, nine were people of color, men and women, and there would have been ten had Ted Lieu not been recovering from a medical procedure. All of them patriots.
And the No voters?
It was like the cult of Trump, that of the self-interested, all white, mostly male, and neither diverse, nor open minded.
That’s the cult politics of now. But hopefully not the future.
The full House now debates the issue and votes, probably by the end of the week.
We’ll see the arguments made in committee come back in a futile attempt by Republicans to show Trump love. But the Democratic majority votes are there to impeach in the House.
And then it goes to the Senate, where the Republicans are in the majority.
Let’s see if some Republicans get the courage to acknowledge the truth, for the sake of the country and the Constitution.
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. You can follow him on Twitter @emilamok