Second Wednesday in a row…

… that I’ve been stuck to the screen watching US politics unfold in their congress. Last week the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win in congress was interrupted by the awful riot by Trump supporters on the Capitol. Today Donald Trump was impeached for the second time during his presidency for inciting that riot. Just like with all those Brexit debates and votes in the British parliament in 2019, I was glued to the screen this evening with the impeachment debate and subsequent vote in the US House of Representatives. (Good thing about watching these UK and US debates is that I learn a lot about how democracy is conducted there).

The US House of Representatives vote was 232 for and 197 members against impeachment and I wonder why 4 Republicans didn’t vote on such a monumental resolution. I took a screenshot of the moment the 10th Republican voted for impeachment…

I have to say, the arguments Republicans brought about ‘needing to unite and bring the country together’ felt very hypocritical to me after they only deepened the huge divide through repeated lies and spreading hatred during at least the past four years. Also, they didn’t seem to be able to keep their arguments to the point, citing the current president’s accomplishments and referring to Black Lives Matter protests that were violent. Yes, that violence was terrible too but those arguments didn’t seem pertinent to me to the issue at hand, namely that lies told for months on end and Trump’s speech on January 6th only emboldened his base to do what they ended up doing in that riot. The Republicans speak of healing, but healing can only begin if politicians start telling the truth and especially Republicans need to state at the very least the truth that there was no widespread election fraud. You can disagree on policies, you can’t disagree on the truth. Apparently 197 representatives don’t see it that way and continue to support a lying president. Thank goodness he’ll be gone next week when I’ll be stuck to the screen again, watching the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Images I have seen today of the National Guard having to rest in the Capitol to protect it from their own countrymen and women are extremely depressing, they don’t belong in a country which has always said it holds democratic values high.

A three week extension of our Covid lockdown here in The Netherlands until February 9th and the consideration of possibly even a curfew (as announced yesterday) is disheartening but almost feels like peanuts in comparison. US democracy is under siege and it’s heartbreaking to witness from the outside. I really hope the inauguration next week will remain peaceful!

15 thoughts on “Second Wednesday in a row…

    1. Fingers crossed for the 20th!

      Our numbers are going down slightly but the UK variant of the virus, which is even more easily transmitted, has popped up and there are fears things will get worse very quickly like in Ireland now. And so lockdown continues…

      Speaking of, I’ve been wondering on the wisdom of holding a big inauguaration like that in the middle of a pandemic. I hope there will be many social distancing measures in place at the very least.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        Almost no one (which means — roughly 1,000 people) will be there as invited guests, and the events are outside. No balls, no meals, and the public has been asked to stay away. There will be demonstrators there, no doubt, and something 20,000 National Guard, but they are trying really hard to clamp down to keep people away.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            It was pretty clear Biden didn’t want to sponsor a superspreader event, and the riot actually made that easier (iirc I read that the DC restaurants are all locked down except for carry out, and I read today that Air BnB has canceled all reservations for the week of inauguration). Supposedly they are considering a ball in the summer, but honestly, who knows. I have to say that I wonder how important Biden actually finds that stuff. He seems to like spectacle, but not in the same way that Trump does.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Servetus

    The no votes were all GOP:

    Murphy of NC (officially: caring for wife after surgery, but said he opposed impeachment)
    Webster of FL (“family medical concerns” but said he opposed impeachment)
    Harris of MD (officially, seeing patients, but he’s a really controversial individual)
    Granger of TX (this is a weird one, and she did not issue a statement, but she has the virus).

    In general the main reason not to vote is not to put yourself on record on something that’s potentially a problem. In this case the GOP knew the articles would pass even if none of them voted for it, so in essence, if they had something more pressing, this was a good one to skip.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        Granger, possibly, but not the rest of them. But I think she would have voted “no” just because the entire TX congressional delegation voted on party lines. Harris actually supported overturning the electoral college — the entire remainder of the MD congressional delegation are Ds, but none of them can stand him. They have called for his resignation before this.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Servetus

    should say: Granger is weird b/c she is a very senior member. She also endorsed Romney for president, so she might have a candidate for supporting the article. It’s strange that there was no statement from her spokesperson, which does make me think that maybe she is quite ill. (Or else, that’s convenient for not having to vote against her party).

    I listened to it on the radio while I was driving and running errands and then while I was trying to grade. I was really troubled by the GOP (not just because “what about BLM” is a semantic / argumentative error in this case), even though I do take seriously their point that it’s a problem to impeach without full knowledge of what actually happened that day (as a stickler for procedure, this bugs me, too, though not enough to put me in the camp of opposing this measure). Romney said on the Senate floor a week ago that the GOP really needs to start telling its constituents the truth, and it’s really hard for me to believe that all but 10 congresspeople are suffering from mass delusion. I did hear a news report that said some of them have said privately that they fear the threats of violence they’ve been getting. But I think it’s an ongoing situation of kicking the can down the road — they will support the party, and there are adults in another room who will take care of cleaning up their mess, so they don’t have to put their seats at risk. That seems to me to be the most plausible explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I heard that too about the fears. Like you, I could even sort of get behind the argument of not having full knowledge yet but then again there is so much already out there in the public domain with video and photos and they were there themselves, that even if details may turn out different, the seriousness of the offense is still pretty obvious.

      It sounds like many voted for personal gain and not conscience and that’s depressing too.

      Like

      1. Servetus

        My guess (and this is really only a guess) is that Trump’s public statements would not meet the standard for a charge or conviction under applicable federal law. Political rhetoric in the US is very violent, and it’s not clear to me that he ever in so many words said “go to the Capitol, breach the security, take over the chambers and threaten the legislative branch.” If I were his defense attorney, that would be my argument. The House doesn’t have the standard of proof that would apply in the case of criminal charges. There’s no doubt there was a horrible riot, that parts of it were planned (if incompetently), and the US DOJ and DC DA will throw the book at those people. But as far as sedition or incitement on the part of the president, I suspect they would find that hard to prove. Normally I would also assume that the DOJ at least was currently looking for evidence that DJT’s participation in these events went further than that. But right now, the Trump admin runs the DOJ (and Barr resigned before Xmas, so they have an acting deputy head now and those people’s positions are really precarious.) But like I said, really only a guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Servetus

    Me, too, although I also very much sympathize with Biden that he doesn’t want his actual policy initiatives to be taken over in the press or in the legislative branch by the work of convicting DJT. I think, though, that DJT made it so that it’s not an option to simply “move on.”

    Liked by 1 person

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