Trump’s second impeachment trial is currently happening in the Senate. I feel like I should be paying attention, but I can’t. I’m just so fatigued from the last four or five years. He’s not president anymore, I’d like to never think about him again. In some vague way, I hope he’s convicted. He’s obviously guilty, and the way the system is supposed to work is by convicting guilty people. But, it’s not like this country has any kind of history of holding rich, white men accountable for their actions (Just ask Robert E. Lee how terrible it must have been being president of Washington College after the Civil War.), so I won’t be shocked or particularly upset if he gets off. Like I said, I feel like I should care about the outcome, I just don’t have the energy.
Strangely, even though I can’t muster the energy to care about the trial, I seem to have plenty of energy to be annoyed that the trial is even happening in the first place. This annoyance is going to take some explaining, though. I want to stress from the outset, that it is not coming from the Republican’s calls for unity or a desire to move on. I understand why criminals should be held accountable, and I agree that they should be held accountable. I believe in fair jury trials. There’s even a vindictive part of me that wants to see Trump suffer just because he hurt me and my friends and family. (My feelings on crime and punishment and justice and accountability are actually very complicated, I promise I will write about those subjects in more detail later.) For now, just trust me that I agree with Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) and Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) and all the rest on all their substantive points. I’m annoyed because of the things that they will not say.
I’ve known that Trump was a criminal for as long as I’ve known Trump existed. I’m pretty sure everyone has known that on some level. Jump ahead to the rise of Trump’s political career and he’s been breaking the law and crapping on the Constitution almost constantly. He literally committed treason as a candidate by coordinating with a foreign power to subvert an American election. He incited violence at his rallies and assured his followers that he’d pay their legal bills if they got in trouble for it. No one even tried to do anything about it.
As President he continuously broke the Emoluments clause, the Hatch act, and myriad other rules and regulations. He continued to incite violence, everything from murders at BLM rallies to an attempt at kidnapping Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer), the governor of Michigan. He didn’t try to hide it. He wasn’t subtle about it. Yet no one even tried to do anything about it.
They have only tried to hold Trump the politician accountable for two things. The first was when Trump publicly asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s (@POTUS) son. I was confused at the time. I thought it was good that the House brought articles of impeachment even though I knew that the Senate was going to have a joke of a trial. But, like I said, I was confused. Asking Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son seemed like so much less of a big deal than pretty much everything Trump had done to that point. No one died. As far as I know, no one lost any money or property. No elections were actually tampered with. So, it was nice that they were finally doing something about one of Trump’s crimes, but why that one?
The second attempt at accountability is the current impeachment trial. It is for “inciting an insurrection” with the January 6th riot at the Capitol. That is a much more serious crime than the Ukraine thing. Five people died. It threatened the stability of the government. But, I still couldn’t help but ask, “Why this?” Trump was committing treason and subverting elections before he was president. There was loss of life and destruction of property, but both had been fairly common occurrences throughout Trump’s term. If none of those other things warranted impeachment, I couldn’t figure out why this one did.
Then, I started thinking about what the Ukraine thing and the Capitol riot had in common. The only thing I could find was that they both targeted political elites. Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence), Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) were the targets of the Washington mob. Biden’s family was the target of the Ukraine thing. Apparently, that is the line. If you want someone to be held accountable, they have to directly attack the political establishment. Anything else and no one in power cares.
So, that’s why I’m so annoyed by this impeachment trial. Despite all the rhetoric, it has nothing to do with America, Justice, the Constitution, Rule of Law, or anything else. Those in power are just pissed because they were the ones targeted. That’s it. If they cared about anything else, Trump would have never been allowed to take office in the first place. I still vaguely hope that Trump is convicted. I’m just having trouble with the fact that it took a too late attempt at holding a known criminal accountable for me to completely lose faith in my government.