Sowers: Regardless of pun, immunity trumps impeachment


Reid Beveridge’s essay was a good, short and nice review of impeachment and its connection to a few historic events and hypothetical situations (“Impeachment should be rare and backed by abundant evidence”).

However, the main point I would urge people (with open minds) to remember is that any one person’s perception of any fact or situation is not necessarily connected to any kind of absolute truth, wisdom or justice. Our two political parties almost always describe different “realities.” If anything, any one person “should” understand that another person may have a different perception and a different interpretation of that perception, and may arrive at some different conclusion. Indeed, I have read numerous essays about how some people think our Constitution should be somehow followed literally, while others think the meanings need to be interpreted or clarified (often by the Supreme Court).

Several of Beveridge’s examples showed what I described in my paragraph above. He was wise to say, “It is left to Congress to define ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’” However, even that definition will be determined by a vote. So, the definition will depend on the number of yeses and the number of nos.

I think Beveridge was well-meaning in his essay on impeachment. But impeachment may be irrelevant in the future. Polls currently favor Donald Trump to win later this year. But, if he does not win the election, then wouldn’t that be seen by Trumpers as “proof” of another “stolen election” (this is the same “heads I win, tails you lose” strategy Trump used in 2020)? How would the well-armed “Make America Great Again” people react? If they “accepted” that “he won” this election, too, then he becomes, in their minds, instant president, and from the polls, about a third to a half of all Americans seem to be ready to take any orders he gives. What orders could he give? How about a serious insurrection that is already being planned somewhere (see below)?

Trump has been recently attempting to elevate existing informal “presidential immunity” to “absolute immunity” by repeated foot-in-the-door assertions. (Readers may wish to read the Wikipedia article, “Presidential immunity in the United States.”) I would expect his next step would be to redefine “absolute immunity” to get him a “get out of jail free” card whenever he does something bad or wrong, whether done in the past, present or future and whether he is in office or not in office.

Since about 2015, the Republican Party has split into two camps: pro-Trump (not my favorite) and anti-Trump (my favorite and composed of very respectable Republicans). One example of pro-Trump thinking involves Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. She proposed to expunge the records of Trump’s impeachments. Really? They did stuff like that in the communist Soviet Union. Then, in another example, all over the internet, there was Florida Senate Bill 1248, filed by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, to eliminate the Democratic Party. Really? They did stuff like that in 1930s Germany, when the Nazis and Adolf Hitler seized power (see Wikipedia). And look how that turned out for Jews and a lot of other people! Could Trump overthrow the government? Well, Fidel Castro did it, with 200 guerrilla fighters in Cuba from 1953-59, and look how that turned out. Suppose Trump loses the election later this year. He gets on his social network with an emotional and emergency call for all armed supporters (at least tens of thousands, for sure) to take over the White House, etc. Think it won’t happen? You didn’t think Jan. 6 would happen, either, did you?

Arthur E. Sowers


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