I was asked how Republican GOP Senators could side with Trump and acquit him. It’s a thought-provoking question, given the fact that Trump’s defense team presented a radically different view of the events and the Constitution, seeking to turn the charges back on his accusers while simultaneously denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.
To answer the question, I went back to Nixon aide Egil Krogh.
“The premise of our action was the firmly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation’s security demanded it. When the president does it, that means it is not unlawful. To this day, the implications of this statement are staggering.
At no time did I or anyone else there question whether the operation was necessary, legal, or moral. Convinced that we were responding legitimately to a national security crisis, we focused instead on the operational details: who would do what, when, and where.”
Is this where we’re at? A January 26th, 2020, tweet, Trump emphasized his belief that Article 2 of the Constitution allows him to do anything.
“Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”
And what’s the price, Mr. President?
Republicans willingly accept leadership from a morally bankrupt family who presides over a scandal-laced presidency. Many Trump advisers face significant prison time, and Donald Trump probably has to stay in office to avoid prosecution.
The pursuit and abuse of power—power is an end unto itself. GOP Senators weaponized religion. In doing so, religion is no longer personal and private; it’s a public freak show. In his appearance before the right-to-life movement on January 25th, Trump noted:
“Sadly, the far-left is actively working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious believers from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life. They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, and we are fighting for those who have no voice.”
It’s the same message, twisted differently for each occasion: Anyone who opines is evil.
I often ponder anger’s value. Should we valorize it or avenge it. In prayer, I’ve was informed to abandon anger’s thirst, eliminate even the smallest seeds of violence, because the full-blown emotion can only cause harm. In life, I want to prevent similar events from occurring.
One problem with anger is the tendency to cling to it, to bear a grudge against any reasonable form of reconciliation. On the other hand, I want to exact (often disproportional) revenge. Yet failing to react to grievous wrongdoing runs the risk of acquiescing in evil.
In the end, as a Buddhist, both sides of our current political system prefer to segregate the ‘moral side’ of anger. Each promotes its version of the ‘dark side.’
The agents for change are documented in history. To avoid despair, we clarity – a clarity that only (“the truth”) can provide. Trump claims he is the ‘revolution.’ However, Trump himself doesn’t have a revolutionary character of ‘truth.’ If we don’t get that, I fear a hell of a lot of people will continue to suffer and die.
By acquitting Trump, we’ll unleash a political leader that wants only was power. And what he most obviously enjoys is smashing anything in its pursuit.