A Snap Impeachment Should Be Done Within 24 Hours
The president of the United States of America incited a mob attack in Washington, D.C., yesterday, the Capitol Police failed (or deliberately refused) to defend the Capitol Building, and the Republican Party this morning is deservedly in chaos. Just another Wednesday in the sad clown paradise.
“Donald Trump is in the Bible,” one of the mostly maskless wreckers told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg as the mob swarmed toward the dome. “Get yourself ready.”
Thus spake QAnon, another virus that has staggered the nation in the grim twilight of the worst presidential administration in recorded history. It is thoroughly fitting that Donald Trump’s attempted coup was undertaken by people who believe pedophile lizard cannibals have taken over the federal government. Nothing less would meet the whipsaw violence of the moment.
I was alive to see U.S. military servicemen push Huey helicopters off an aircraft carrier to make room for those in full flight from our final debacle in Vietnam. I was in Mrs. King’s English class when the Challenger exploded. I was preparing to teach a class when the Towers exploded. Less than two years earlier, I was in my basement apartment in Boston when the Bush v. Gore decision teed up the ball for every subsequent horror, and I was flat on my back in Cambridge when Baghdad was turned into a cauldron of fire during “Shock & Awe.”
Today, I add January 6, 2021, to the long hall of bleak murals that have decorated my passage through this lethally erratic thing called the future. We were supposed to have flying cars by now. Instead, we have this.
There is no point recapitulating the details of yesterday’s attempted sequel to the Beer Hall Putsch; by now, even Bathypelagic fish in the eternal darkness of the ocean deep know what went down in the District yesterday. The facts are stark enough as to be axiomatic: Trump ordered his own private army — “I’ll be with you!” he lied from the podium with his bare face hanging out — to storm the halls of Congress and disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory and the rule of law itself. They succeeded in defiling the building, and utterly failed to thwart the certification. The fate of the rule of law remains to be seen.
In lieu of telling you what you already know, please allow me to damn Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Mark Meadows, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Chuck Grassley, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Rob Portman, Tommy “Came Down With The Last Drop Of Rain And Disgraced Himself Already” Tuberville, Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue, Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart, OANN, and everyone else who spent years enabling this pocket Nazi of a president for profit, power and attention, or spent that span standing mute, to whatever space happens to be lurking beneath Hell. That goes for every still-employed staffer in the building. The avalanche has begun; it is too late for the pebbles to plead ignorance.
Donald Trump is not a car accident. He is white supremacy’s legacy, the product of more than four decades of pure, unrefined Republican ideology, and the inevitable shrieking offspring of the Reagan “Revolution” that made racism and plunder wrapped in the flag the core ethos of that party’s purpose on this planet. Forty years on, a parade of deliberate GOP actions have created a masterpiece of callous, heavily armed chaos.
Even today, close to half of Republican voters believe yesterday’s abomination was hot shit. That number pretty closely correlates with the number of people who voted for four more years of this in November. Being a so-called “Never Trumper” Republican is no shelter, Steve Schmidt and friends. You gave us Sarah Palin among other things, who along with multiple right-wing luminaries has spent the day attempting to blame this debacle on antifa.
I have passed the last 20 virtually sleepless hours watching a parade of solemnly self-righteous Republicans condemn Trump after allowing this blister to swell until it burst and sprayed hot, stinking pus all over this nominally democratic republic. I have no patience for any of them. The Republican Party should be burned down to the stumps and the earth where it stood salted, so that nothing so brazenly wretched ever grows there again. If you call yourself a Republican today, shame on you.
I have many questions for the Capitol Police, who posed for selfies with the brigands and removed barriers to provide them unencumbered access to the building. Among the many acidic effects of “President Trump” has been the permission for law enforcement to flex their Ku Klux Klan roots in broad daylight, and yesterday was a pluperfect example.
Scant months ago, Black Lives Matter protesters were greeted with the full bristling violent menace of the most policed city in the land. Yesterday, far right mutineers were, for the most part, allowed to do their thing. If heads do not roll, the whole department should be shoved into the Potomac and let out to sea.
“All the Senators and congresspeople hiding under their desks now know how it feels to be a public school student in the U.S.,” a friend said yesterday. Law enforcement — through intent, negligence or both — allowed that to happen in the supposed seat of what’s left of this democracy. Peace is the presence of justice everywhere. When there is no justice, there shall be no peace. Mention that to the next cop you meet.
As for the author of this overtopping nightmare, what to say that has not yet been said? Donald Trump must be removed from office with all dispatch, an opinion that is now du jour across most of the real-world media spectrum. Before he can do more damage, he must go.
The 25th Amendment has been bandied about as a possible cure, and certainly looks more likely now than it did a couple of days ago, but it is a long and difficult option. To make use of it, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet must tell Congress the president is unable to perform the duties of his office. The president can challenge this with a simple “I’m fine” letter to Congress and immediately retain his powers.
If the vice president and the Cabinet reaffirm their claim of presidential incapacity, the matter goes to Congress for what amounts to a trial. For removal, both the House and the Senate have to agree with the vice president and the Cabinet by a two-thirds majority in each chamber. Otherwise, the president stays put, and we do not have that kind of time.
Last night, both houses of Congress were assembled for the business of certifying Biden’s nascent presidency. They must be called into emergency session. For the moment, few of them are in a mood to defend the man who has misled us to the brink of ruin. This includes much of the GOP; in this moment, Republicans’ shamelessness is a valuable commodity, because they can be counted on to turn on their master like the opportunistically rabid dogs they are. In short, all of them are in town, and they should be put to work.
A snap impeachment could be done in a day, and should be done within literal hours; Rep. Ilhan Omar and a number of her colleagues are drafting and circulating articles at this moment. The prospect of yesterday’s astonishment being used by Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in an attempt to prolong his tenure has its face pressed against the window, and all the doors are still unlocked. Make it stop.