Justice Is A Verb!
December 26, 2018
During the first month of Donald Trump’s presidency I penned and posted an essay to this blog titled Explaining Donald Trump in One Word. The word I used and defined in that essay was “psychopath.” Here is a link to that essay: https://wendelllgriffen.blogspot.com/2017/01/explaining-president-donald-trump-in.html.
Almost two years later, President Trump has demonstrated to people in the United States and throughout the world that he is mentally, socially, politically, and behaviorally unstable. Granted, Trump’s fanatic followers (his “base”) of white religious nationalists, white supremacists, free market capitalists, and personal and political sycophants consider Trump a fit leader. The rest of us recognize that Trump is corrupt to the core.
President Trump is a classic example of “a loose cannon.” He is a “loose cannon” about truth. He is a “loose cannon” about ethics. “He is a “loose cannon” when dealing with US politicians (including those from his own political party), US allies and competitors, his White House staff, and members of his personal inner circle. It is well past time for the rest of us to treat him accordingly.
The first thing smart people do when confronted with a “loose cannon” is to stop and secure it. “Loose cannon” people must be stopped and secured to prevent them from doing more harm. By now the world knows that Trump’s family, staff, and political colleagues have either failed to stop and secure him or don’t want to do so.
We cannot expect help from Vice-President Mike Pence, the heads of departments in the federal government, and leaders of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Only federal judges have honored their duties to uphold the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. Vice President Pence, executive department leaders, and Republicans in the Congress have not done so.
No one seriously thinks that Pence and the Cabinet heads have enough sense, let alone honor, to certify Trump constitutionally disabled according to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Only in a fantasy world would Ben Carson (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), Mike Pompeo (Secretary of State), Matthew Whittaker (Acting Attorney General), and Patrick Shanahan (the in-coming Acting Secretary of Defense) possess that much honor and patriotism.
Because executive branch leaders are not honorable and patriotic enough to certify President Trump disabled, the House of Representatives must do its constitutional duty and conduct hearings on impeachment. Yes, I used that word. The word “impeachment” exists because from the beginning the founders of this nation realized that some people are morally and socially unfit to hold public office.
Donald Trump is such a prime example of such moral and social unfitness that calling him a “loose cannon” may be too kind. There is reason to suspect that Trump more closely resembles cancer, something much more dangerous.
So because Pence and the Cabinet officers won’t declare Trump disabled, the House Judiciary Committee should begin the urgent work of holding public impeachment hearings after the new Congress assumes office on January 3, 2019 to determine whether there is evidence that Donald Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Yes, impeachment hearings will involve painful work. Yes, Nancy Pelosi (the presumptive Speaker of the House of Representatives during the coming session of Congress), would prefer that the House not address impeachment proceedings among its many other difficult challenges.
Experienced leaders know that duty, honor, and loyalty to principles of truth and fairness override concerns about personal or political inconvenience and allegiance. Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis demonstrated that when he resigned his post and stated his reasons for doing so in his letter of resignation. Speaker Pelosi, Representative Jerrold Nadler (the presumptive incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee), other members of the Judiciary Committee, and the rest of the House of Representatives (including Republican Members of Congress), should follow the example set by Secretary Mattis.
Impeachment proceedings will not prevent House Members from considering and passing legislation on immigration, voting rights, and to repair the highways, bridges, tunnels, and other aspects of the nation’s infrastructure. Impeachment proceedings should not prevent the House of Representatives from considering, debating, and passing legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from political meddling by President Trump and his lackeys in the Department of Justice. By appointing Matthew Whittaker Acting Attorney General, publicly suggesting that he might pardon Paul Manafort for the crimes Manafort has pled guilty to committing, and by his obvious attempts to intimidate Michael Cohen and cajole Roger Stone, President Trump has shown that he will sink to any depth and employ any tactic to interfere with, obstruct, and derail the Mueller investigation.
If the House Judiciary Committee votes to issue Articles of Impeachment, and if that vote is upheld by a simple majority of the House members, then the issue becomes whether Senator Mitch McConnell (the Senate Majority Leader), Senator Lindsey Graham (the presumptive incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee), and other Republican members of the U.S. Senate have honor enough, loyalty enough, and patriotism enough to follow the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, that is an open question.
The bottom line is that Donald Trump must either be declared disabled by Vice President Pence and leaders of the U.S. Cabinet (under the Twenty Fifth Amendment) or impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate of committing high crimes and misdemeanors (according to Article II, Section 4) in the U.S. Constitution. Procrastinating or denying that painful truth won’t make dealing with it less unpleasant.
We, along with the rest of the world, know that President Trump is politically incompetent and psychologically, pathologically, and socially dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether one terms Trump a “loose cannon,” likens him to cancer, or thinks he is like a drunk driver. Loose cannons, cancers, and drunk drivers are mortal dangers that demand prompt and decisive action. The sooner we begin taking it the sooner we will put Donald Trump’s psychopathic presidency out of our national and geo-political misery.
The Founders of U.S. democracy and the drafters of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution foresaw that the nation might someday be forced to deal with a psychopathic or sociopathic president. We will find out in the coming weeks and months whether current U.S. leaders have enough honor, loyalty, and patriotism to follow the course of action and procedures that the Founders painstakingly established.