Archive for What’s at Stake in Impeachment

The Struggle to Save American Democracy

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 13, 2019 by playthell

 Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and Amb. William Taylor

What is at Stake?

What is at stake in the Impeachment hearings against Donald J. Trump? Nothing short of whether a functional constitutional democracy in America will survive. Some of the most thoughtful Americans have recognized that our democracy is fragile and might not be permanent.

Indeed, at the time of the Constitutional Convention during the hot “Dog Days” of August 1787, when the US Constitution was drafted and ratified in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin who did not participate in the Convention but was a distinguished resident of the City, said to the delegates “Well gentleman, you have got yourself a republic…if you can keep it.”

This proved to be a prescient observation, because 75 years later our constitutional Democracy collapsed as the country fell apart in Civil War, due to the leaders of the slave holding states of the South placing their personal interests above the fate of the nation. It was the bloodiest and destructive war in the history of the world at the time, because it was the first modern war where industrial technology was employed on an unprecedented scale

Although many of President Lincoln’s most trusted advisers urge him to seek a settlement with the south as the murderous war trudged on, Lincoln turned a deaf ear to their pleas because, although he was not an abolitionist at the beginning of the war despite the lies and hysteria of the slave holders, he had become during the bloody trials and tribulations of the war that it’s severity was Gods punishment of America for “the sin of slavery.” Hence he was determined to see it through to the til the total destruction of the manifestly evil institution of human slavery noting: The Judgments of the Lord are always right and just!

Standing amid the destruction and stench of death on the battlefield at Gettysburg, in the aftermath of a battle in which over 20,000 men had been slaughtered at the hands of their countrymen in a society where political disputes were intended to be settled by debate in Congress, conducted by elected representatives, a beleaguered President Abraham Lincoln said the great Civil War was being fought to determine “whether government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall perish from the earth.”

That is the question which is being asked with the hearings that began today. Whether government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall long endure in theses United states of America. Alas, the answer lies in whether the Republicans in Congress shall place the dictates of the Constitution, which the basis of our Democracy, over the interest of their party in which is invested their personal political interests.

Yet after listening to the Opening statement of former Republican Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, an exercise in pure obfuscation conducted by a shameless charlatan, I fear for the fate of our nation. I am reminded of Thomas Jefferson, sitting on the veranda of his well appointed mansion at Montecello in Virginia, watching his black slaves laboring in the fields and wrote:”I shudder for the fate of my country when I reflect upon the fact that God is just.”

While I am not a God fearing man, the Republicans in Congress scare me big time! For in their actions I can see the erosion of democratic safeguards that will pave the way for the rise of an Autocratic government in the US.  Anybody who thinks this is a “hysterical response” to contemporary political developments, that it “can’t happen here” because our Constitution would prevent it, should look at how Adolph Hitler, an obscure “Austrian Corporal,” became a Dictator in Weimar Germany, one of history’s most enlightened constitutional democracies, by democratic means!

One of the constant refrains one hears from civic leaders, oppositional politicians, news paper editorials and assorted intellectuals was: “Our constitution will save us from the establishment of a dictatorship.”  Yet, despite their abiding faith, history shows their constitution did not save them.  That is the question I address in the essay “A Made in America Autocrat,” ( https://commentariesonthetimes.me/?s=A+Made+in+America+Autocrat”  It is a lesson that, properly understood, could save our Democracy.

From the Republican comments in response to the opening statements of Ambassador William Taylor and Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, the initial fact witnesses in establishing Impeachment charges against Donald Trump, who are long standing public servants of impeccable character and credentials,  all indications are that the Republican members of the Intelligence Committee have no interest in uncovering the truth.

Sadly, they appear to have rejected the oath they swore to “protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and instead are on a mission to obfuscate the facts and obstruct the proceedings.  If this proves true alas, then the viability of our Democracy is in dire straits and it’s preservation is problematic.  And that, finally, is what’s at stake.

 

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 13, 2019
NOTE: This is an installment in an ongoing series on the Impeachment of Donald Trump