On Impeachment

An iris flower at night with raindrops on its petals.

I doubt that anyone mistakes me for a fan of the current President of the United States or his policies. I reviewed a list of his priorities as he entered office and considered three of them to be actively evil:

  • his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.,
  • the income tax cuts that would (and have) disproportionately benefit the wealthy, and
  • the border wall with associated measures.

I had not imagined children taken from their parents. I had not imagined entire families imprisoned. I had not imagined the cold refusal to welcome refugees.

To my mind, family separations in and of themselves constitute grounds for impeachment. The practice removed children from their parents because the parents would be imprisoned without bail while awaiting a hearing for an offense that was most likely a misdemeanor. The directive to deny reasonable bail flies in the face of Constitutional protections. Incarcerated parents around the United States know where their children are, but these parents were denied that basic information. It’s clear from the government’s failure to reunite these families that they had not made any plans to do so. The loss of one’s children sounds an awful lot like cruel and unusual punishment to me.

Further, the President who gave these orders corrupted the enforcement agencies who carried it out. They had to do the work of cruelty. They still carry on the work of cruelty, only now the parents and children share the same prisons. It is monumentally unjust and a horrific abuse of power to require unjust acts of someone. We have seen it happen before.

I have been ready for his impeachment for some time. I have been impatient for it for some time. And yes, I find the articles passed last night to be adequate grounds for impeachment and removal from office.

The event finds me solemn and sorrowing. Although this is only the fourth time Congress has debated articles of impeachment, three of them have happened in my lifetime. I do not welcome Presidential misconduct. I do not welcome abuses of government power. I cannot greet even their exposure and impeachment with enthusiasm. At best, I feel a solemn satisfaction, not that “justice will prevail” (I read too much history and theology to be assured of that), but that, for a moment, a sign has been posted. “These acts, even of a President, will not be permitted.”

I wish I had more comfort to offer. I wish I felt more comfort. Some voices speak of loyalty, and some speak of violence. Some voices speak their fears. A few voices speak their hope. Would that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were here to speak of a dream…

Well, here is mine (it was David’s first), and I suspect it is similar to the prayers of incarcerated children:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:1, 13-14

2 responses to “On Impeachment

  1. Such a fair and balanced presentation. An interesting phenomenon — people are hanging fewer lights outside their homes this year than in many, many … (though I am firmly a candle in window and tree — my electric skills are right up there with my computer ones) but the question is –is the disillusion seeping into our very being?

    • To answer your question: Yes, I think it is. On Hawai’i Island, we’ve confronted two major crises in addition to our national… well, I’ll generously call it a “drama” for the moment. Last year it was a volcanic eruption. It was stressful, very stressful. As it went on over the months, I could feel the rising tension in my parishioners, my friends, my colleagues, and my neighbors. It still lingers because the recovery continues. This year, the crisis has been the conflict over the use of Maunakea. It exposed existing fractures in the community, and to this point, there’s been no public sign of concrete address to the fractures, let alone new approaches to the presenting conflict. That’s been *more* stressful. For people who live here, the saga of this presidency has aggravated the nearer anxieties – for people in other places, the saga of this presidency has been far more directly harsh.

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