Second Impeachment Has Lessons for Jackson County to Heed

The Second Impeachment of Donald Trump: Are There Lessons for Jackson County?

John Marciano, Talent

The Democratic-majority House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” for inciting his supporters to engage in an “insurrection” by storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6. He should be charged and convicted in the Senate for this crime. But it pales alongside the untold thousands of the nearly 470,000 Americans who have died because of Trump’s criminal negligence in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to mention illegal and unconstitutional wars in Africa and Asia that he inherited from Obama which have left hundreds of thousands of people, mostly of color, dead, maimed, and displaced. The latter is the greatest crime that any president can commit.

In 1974 the House refused to impeach Richard Nixon for the highest crime against the Constitution. Political activist and author Norman Solomon states that left out of the Nixon impeachment articles was “the Vietnam War that he had prolonged with a vengeance while claiming to seek peace” but his “crimes against humanity were judged to be completely unimpeachable.” In addition to this horrendous omission, “entirely excluded from the Nixon impeachment articles” was the massive U.S. bombing of Laos, making that country the most heavily bombed per person in history.

The impeachment articles also did not mention Nixon’s secret and illegal bombing of Cambodia, that began two months into his presidency and persisted for years (ZNET, Feb. 8). This history is being repeated again as the present Democratic majority in the House has avoided impeaching Trump for illegal and unconstitutional wars. Instead, he is being charged with the lesser crime of “incitement to insurrection.” 

For over four years Trump used drones and other lethal weapons against innocent victims of war, continuing after GW Bush and Obama. He could have been investigated for these war crimes from the moment he took office in January 2017, but Democrats remained silent on these illegal actions. As with Richard Nixon in 1974, we now have a criminal president who deserves to be impeached and convicted being tried again for a lesser reason.  Trump has not been impeached for truly high crimes that brought death and illness for so many Americans from COVID-19, or Syrians, Somalis, Iraqis, and Afghanis from endless wars. What message does this narrow  impeachment article send about the Rule of Law?

Let’s imagine the national Trump impeachment story unfolding in Jackson County: For more than a year the county executive has been criminally negligent in his actions and inactions around the COVID pandemic, leading to hundreds of deaths in our area. In addition, he has used police and military forces to attack small cities and towns in the county, leaving thousands of people dead, maimed, and homeless. Imagine that he’s not impeached for these crimes by his political opponents. Instead, they impeach him for inciting a mob to attack the Ashland City Hall.  After years of criminal behavior that brought death and devastation to thousands in our community, this local executive is impeached on a much lesser crime. Imagine what people would think about the political priorities of the executive’s opponents who managed to ignore massive violence and refused to impeach and convict him on that basis, but tried to impeach and convict him on what is by comparison a much weaker charge that avoids confronting the human carnage he created.