Editorial: Vote for impeachment


  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gavels in the final vote of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Congress last week, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13. AP

Published: 1/15/2021 4:00:13 PM

Anyone who has propelled down a steep hill when sledding knows that it’s sometimes difficult to stop at the bottom. On hard-packed snow, a sled is capable of barreling downhill at a rate of speed that might become uncontrollable. But by the time the sledder realizes their predicament, it’s too late. In a heap, they pay the snowy consequences at the bottom for actions taken at the top.

Momentum is a powerful force in both sledding and politics.

On Jan. 6, President Donald Trump pushed too hard. Now, we are living through the consequences.

“We’re gathered together in the heart of our nation’s Capitol for one very, very basic and simple reason, to save our democracy. … For years, Democrats have gotten away with election fraud and weak Republicans, and that’s what they are,” Trump said in a rambling speech delivered to his supporters minutes before the riots erupted. “We fight. We fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Then Trump directed the crowd to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give … our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

More than a week later, we know that his supporters did march to the Capitol, where they stormed police lines, broke the windows, hunted for lawmakers, stole sensitive documents, killed an officer and ransacked the Capitol building.

Momentum is a powerful force.

Who is culpable for the mayhem? Certainly, the many perpetrators who were documented desecrating one of America’s most sacred spaces must be arrested — and it seems they will be. According to Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, justice will be served with time.

But what about those who delivered the push? What about American leaders who, by spreading debunked lies and gaslighting their opponents, stirred the crowd into a turmoil before sending them to the Capitol? Should they be held accountable, too?

For the sake of our republic and democracy everywhere, we must hold our president and all those who were complicit in the coup attempt accountable.

At this historic precipice, with democracy hanging in the balance, some have argued that it’s better to allow Trump to fade into obscurity — that drastic action could light the match. But as the Jan. 6 attack on democracy showed, the match has already been lit. America’s historic precedent of peacefully transferring power has already been upended. Calls for healing and unity are too late — the damage has already been done.

Democracy has suffered a blow and leaders must respond.

We cannot call ourselves a free and equal republic if we do not take immediate action. On Wednesday, the United States Congress initiated that action by passing a bi-partisan article of impeachment against Trump 232-197 for “high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

Our nation’s founders anticipated that people like Trump would try to exploit the office of the president. Checks were built into place, notably impeachment, to limit executive power. But for the system to work, political leaders must be willing to put aside party affiliations and consider what is best for the nation as a whole. Yes, in this dark time, unity is imperative — but in order for America to reclaim its moral footing, justice must come first.

A wound must be cauterized before it can heal.

This editorial board supports impeachment by the House and calls on Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren to vote in favor of the conviction of the 45th president in the Senate.

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