Tears rolled down my cheeks today as I watched and heard House Manager Adam Schiff read the two Articles of Impeachment referred to the Senate by the House of Representatives for trial and removal of the president. Listening to the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Senate chamber against the American president Donald John Trump, even a president I never supported, was an unexpectedly joyless experience.
I think I finally understood what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had been reminding the nation in every press conference she’s held concerning this process. Somber, solemn, even sad, the burden of discovery of the facts that forced her to stand up for her belief in the constiution of the United States regardless of political consequences. Her belief, and the conviction of her party’s caucus in the House, that no person is above the law in this country gave her no choice in pursuing the removal of someone who continued to threaten our national securtiy and ultimately our democracy.
Today I felt her pain and sadness and wept with her for a country caught up in crisis.
Pretty tells me that only people like me who have the luxury to watch either MSNBC faithfully or FOX news religiously during the past few months actually cared about the Senate trial or its outcome. Until yesterday I assured her she was wrong.
But I had a conversation yesterday with a young woman who teaches sixth grade at a middle school here in South Carolina. Obviously a person with a good education and a teacher for all the right reasons in this her eighth year of classrom experience. We talked about politics – the Democratic debate the night before. I asked her if she watched the debate, and she said no. She was waiting for the later ones. And then she added out of the blue, really politics are a joke in this country since Donald Trump became president. I felt she spoke for many in her generation; I had a sense of loss and frustation that perhaps our brightest younger citizens were turned off by the divisions, heated hateful rhetoric, the images of a country at war with itself.
Then last night Pretty was once again proven to be right about the state of political awareness in our nation when three Jeopardy contestants, three clearly smart women who wouldn’t be on Jeopardy if they weren’t, had a question with a picture of a man they were asked to identify. None of the three buzzed in to answer. The man was Adam Schiff, the person who was the face of the House impeachment process during the past three months because he is the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee which began the investigation into the president’s misconduct as a result of a whistleblower complaint. I have to admit I was stunned at their lack of recognition of this key House spokesperson.
Clearly I have too much time invested in the parade of outrageous acts that have defined this country in the past three years. Yes, I hope for a change in leadership, but I also hope for a change in our country’s attitudes toward ourselves in our home towns, attitudes that celebrate our differences, attitudes of finding common ground with our neighbors who share the same dreams for their families that we have for ours, attidudes that rise upward toward the men and women who represent us in Congress and elsewhere around the world.
The outcome of the Senate trial of this president supposedly has already been determined along party lines. I just watched 99 Senators sign a book attesting to their oath for a fair trial. I would like to believe they will be true to that oath. Regardless of the outcome, this is a moment in time for us to decide who we are as a nation. I encourage every American to care enough about our country to tune in to the Senate trial as our history and future unfolds.
Hear ye, hear ye – calling all patriots – mayday, mayday!