“Anyone who makes up their mind about an issue before they hear the issue is a fool.” (Chris Rock)
I found it very difficult to follow the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump this week. For as an informed citizen, was I being taken for a fool by watching those who seemed to simply hide behind the “tricks” of the political trade? So let me give you a practical analogy of the mindset I expected then. As a teacher/professor, there seemed little doubt that my students would pay diligent attention to my presentations in class. For if they did not take the time or were unable to effectively absorb the material conveyed then, they likely failed my exams or the entire course. To enhance their learning prospects, I also urged them to work together cooperatively with me as I responded impartially to their questions during lectures. I also encouraged them to share ideas by forming study groups together in preparation for these exams. Now let’s consider below several matters related to a similar code of conduct that I hoped would occur during the course of these impeachment proceedings.
Did the senator participants in this trial feel the urgent need to “critically” examine the evidence according to our U.S. Constitutional framework? Were they attentive to both defense and prosecution sides of the issues presented? Did they even feel compelled to “show up” during those times of impeachment testimony? What message for instance was being sent when eighteen senators were observed to be absent at various points of Thursday’s prosecution proceedings. Furthermore, why wasn’t the 2/3 conviction vote decision to convict or acquit in this trial based only those senators who actually attended all the hearings?
To what extent as well did established impeachment trial procedures help senators to go about honestly doing their duties these days? Or did this forum merely descend into a shortsighted sham of flagrantly partisan opinion making? Consider for instance the political implications of not allowing impeachment motion votes of each senator to be recorded anonymously throughout this trial. For many of them were most assuredly wary of inviting public scrutiny of their decisions. For that matter, were their aye and nay votes recorded in this impeachment trial an accurate representation of what members really believed about the guilt or innocence of the ex-Prescient’s culpability in this trial?
Moreover, how damaging might have been the divisive political mindset of the senators themselves in influencing a fair tally of votes to convict or acquit the ex President? For why was our ex- President and Vice President, for example, granted a “free pass” from testifying as a witness in this impeachment hearing? How could Mitch McConnell as well declare his acquittal verdict in this trial while the matter of witness subpoenas were still pending? Why were other live witness testimonies not compelled in this impeachment trial as well?
As the closing argument phase of the trial took place on Saturday afternoon, this impeachment trial thus seemed tragically incomplete. Could they not have considered, for instance, the increased incidence of the Corona virus as a culpable matter for the ex- President in his encouragement of this densely attended social gathering on January 6? Or why weren’t security camera images of the President’s behavior/movements in the White House at the time of the insurrection brought up as relevant evidence in this trial? Was not censure an option in lieu of an impeachment conviction worthy of consideration then as well?
I would welcome your follow up comments on any of the questions I’ve raised above. On a more positive note, Ruth and I will begin our next road trip west in less than two weeks to California. My next blog will preview our intended itinerary for this two month adventure. Stay well.