Impeachment II: This Time It’s Personal

Well, all right; last time it was personal too — and political. It’s a pop culture reference, not an epitaph; it’s not graven in stone.

So — yes, Trump is getting impeached — again. And, even though the Senate won’t reconvene until the Inauguration is over, it’s actually meaningful. We all know that the first penalty that can be assessed is removal from office, but they could well pursue the second penalty, which would forbid him from ever again holding any office of trust. This process is thus unlikely to get dismissed as moot.

As before, there’s no requirement that he committed any actionable crime. That’s for courts, not the Senate, to decide. We’re reliably informed that his public speech to the demonstration on the Ellipse probably wouldn’t get someone convicted for incitement to riot in criminal court even though that was the result; he didn’t specifically call for violence. But again, that doesn’t bind the Senate; they can impeach for anything they choose to.

Bear in mind: Nothing we say here — indeed, very little that anyone says or does anywhere — will change what’s going to happen. Articles of impeachment have been filed, and they’re likely to pass the House. The Senate will be required to act on them. This is nearly as certain as the sun rising tomorrow. Obviously, if Trump shoots himself in the mean while, or drops dead from a massive coronary, it won’t happen — but what are the odds?

So whether or not we approve, whether it’s the right thing for the country, or serves the cause of justice, or will create a more adversarial Congress going forward — none of that really matters, interesting though the discussion might be.

We might also question the motivation of those calling for impeachment if we want, but what’s the point? Congress has the right to be as biased as they like. They have no duty to serve justice, no need to go beyond the politically expedient. They may be right; they may be foully unjust — and it doesn’t matter one whit which if either is the case. I happen to feel Trump irresponsibly incited a riot that got people killed — but my opinion is meaningless here, as is yours.

There is exactly one thing we can impact, and that’s the effect of the coming proceedings on the populace going forward. I speak now specifically to those people who insist the mob of facepainted fur-clad idiots who broke into the Capital and shat on the marble represent a planned coup instead of a pitiable group of madmen who should be in institutions rather than their parents basements. To these I would offer a reminder.

When it comes to rampages, the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand should have taught us all a lesson:

– We don’t name the madmen. We don’t celebrate them.
– We don’t post their politics online; the politics of the insane don’t matter.
– We offer public pity and mental help, not glorification.

This was mob stupidity, idiots and madmen, not a coup. The last thing we want to do is grant them public credibility by calling them anything else. If we’re not careful, we’ll inspire basement trolls everywhere to grab their off-brand SKSes (polished through constant fondling) and go out to shoot up the place on January 20th. Remember: They’ve been locked in down there for ten months now; don’t encourage them.

Public pity followed by censure and ridicule is the appropriate response.

Bear in mind: Peaceable protests, I honor. If you’ve got the personal courage to go out and parade your political beliefs in public, more power to you. I’m far less thrilled if you’re a KKK member or one of the 42 surviving Westboro Baptist Church crazies, but… we have a right to assemble together to petition Government for redress of grievances, even if we’re wrong. Nobody says I have to agree with you for you to have that right. Stay nonviolent; don’t preach murder or assault or abuse — that’s all anyone can ask.

If you should happen to find yourself in a group that gets rowdy and spills over the barricades: Be kind to the fallen; protect people and buildings from violence if you can. Don’t break windows or light fires or shoot anyone. Whatever you do, don’t do what they did on the 6th.

It makes your cause look really stupid.

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