Impeach the system

By SKIP MENDLER
Posted 12/18/19

They had to be dragged into it kicking and screaming, but Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats finally got around to giving America a nice holiday present by starting impeachment proceedings against …

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Impeach the system

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They had to be dragged into it kicking and screaming, but Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats finally got around to giving America a nice holiday present by starting impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Interesting, by the way, to note that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for the Democratic leadership wasn’t his incarceration of refugees or separation of families at the southern border, his misuses of the military, his violations of the Emoluments Clause, or any of his other misdeeds or missteps, but rather his clumsy attempt to take down one of their own—centrist icon Joe Biden.

As of this writing, I am not optimistic that Trump will be removed from office as a result of the present timid proceedings. The Faustian deal that Trump seems to have struck—a deal that keeps him from ever having to face true accountability for his actions—appears to be in place still, and the Republicans are staging a strong counterattack of disingenuousness and distraction. Nor am I particularly confident that the 2020 election will serve to exorcise him from the White House; the mechanisms for widespread voter suppression, manipulation and deception remain in place as well.

And even if, through some kind of extraordinary turn of good fortune, he were to be forced out of office, that would not solve our problems. He is only a symptom, after all. The systems that produced Trump, and the interests that have created and benefited from his reign, will still be there. If he is merely impeached, Mike Pence (R-Heaven) will step into the Oval Office in his stead, and commence a whole new series of outrages against the Constitution and the ideals of pluralist democracy.

And meanwhile, our ever-building crises—climate, inequality, refugees, discontent, nationalism—will continue to build, not only here in the U.S. but around the planet.

It might be that we get really lucky in 2020 that not only Trump and his minions are ousted, but longstanding nuisances like Sen. Mitch McConnell are sent packing as well. But even then, we will still face the Herculean task of repairing the damage to our frayed and shredded national fabric.

Part of our present troubles can be traced back to the aftermath of our first Civil War, and the failure to establish a true reconciliation between North and South. The resulting resentments allowed to fester for nearly a century, left fertile ground for right-wing Republicans like Sen. Jesse Helms, and they took full advantage. For America to move forward again, we are going to need a new social contract that involves, respects and benefits all the segments of our society, across all our divides—racial, ethnic, economic, religious, geographic, social and political.

For that to happen, the existing system, to the extent that it is based on exploitation, division, domination and ignorance, has to go. That will be, as I have observed previously, a generation-long effort, one that will take us to mid-century at least to accomplish.

So we have to start now… and removing Trump may not be the end, but it’s as good a place as any to start.

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