By Liam Jeffries
Last week, the news broke that President Trump, apparently ignoring all the disruption and controversy caused by the Russian effort to hack the 2016 elections to his benefit, tried to get a foreign leader in the President of Ukraine to launch an investigation into a political opponent in Joe Biden.
Like prior reactions to his scandals, the initial reaction to this news was a mixture of shock and fatigue, a sense of “oh great, here we go again.” Here is yet another scandal by a president who has long proven himself to be corrupt and horrible beyond the point of no return, and a scandal that will likely be forgotten like all the others in a few days, when another one surfaces.
This is a feeling that has slowly been instilled into the minds of every American over the course of the last three years, helped along by Trump’s seemingly endless escapes from scandals and a belief that, by virtue of his high position, he is simply untouchable. These are assumptions that made the rapid fire news developments of the past week so shocking and gratifying to fatigued observers, for, unlike past scandals, it is looking more and more likely that Trump will finally be punished for something.
While, in the past, faint rumblings of impeachment were heard when particularly severe scandals came to light, this time, it seems that something may have finally broken, for when John Lewis, the civil rights icon who’s widely seen as a deciding voice on impeachment, dramatically announced his support for it on the House floor in response to the Ukraine scandal last Tuesday, it was as if a metaphorical dam had finally burst after years of heavy rainfall.
Since Rep. John Lewis’s announcement and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s initiation of an impeachment inquiry soon after, the number of House Representatives who have publicly endorsed impeachment has risen from around 160 to, at last count on Saturday night, 224, a majority of all seats in the House, and a number that doesn’t include Democrats and possibly a surprising amount of Republicans in the Senate.
This, then, could very well be the smoking gun, our generation’s version of the Nixon tapes, the scandal that goes so far beyond the pale of decency and comprehension that it may finally bring down a president who, up until this point, has evaded any punishments for his actions.
An impeachment of Donald Trump would be an enormous cause for celebration, but beyond this, it would finally be confirmation that the despicable actions taken by him over the course of the last three years, whether it be trying to get a foreign power to bring down a political opponent or the separation and detainment of migrant kids in concentration camps, are not normal. It would be confirmation that no one is above the law, and that even presidents as morally bankrupt as him are subject to the same levels of decency as the rest of us.
Donald Trump must be impeached, and if we lose this opportunity and let him off the hook, I don’t see how any future generations of Americans will be able to forgive us.