The overwhelming Signal over the last few days is, of course, impeachment, with Trump finally being impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night. Everyone and their uncle has already weighed in. But humor me for just a moment: Why was impeachment necessary, even if the Trumpites in the House won’t listen to facts—even if Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate is intent on rigging whatever trial it ends up holding?
Because it is the only morally right course of action. It is the only way that decent politicians in this tawdry, violent era of American politics can move forward and stand tall—so they can say to their descendants, and to future historians, that they did the right thing.
Because this president has normalized sadism and cruelty and capriciousness and self-dealing as basic principles of governance, to an extraordinary degree.
Because this country needs an injection of moral principle into its political spine, enough to get us through the coming years. We need to preserve some remnants of democratic culture, to which the country can return after Trump and his henchmen have been drummed from office—after the Republicans who enabled this catastrophe have been voted out of power by an outraged populace next year.
And why else should we care about next year’s election? Because everything—everything—is on the line. This week, amidst the drama of impeachment, a federal appeals court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. A judge in a district court had previously ruled that the entire ACA was unconstitutional; the appeals court panel has asked him to provide more reasons why the whole thing should be scrapped.
Also this week, on the day of impeachment, McConnell’s Senate rammed through 13 more Trump judicial appointments. A baker’s dozen of lifetime nominees was gifted to the GOP by the crook in chief in one goddamn day, including several who hold extreme views on everything from birth control to gay rights.
Miraculously, there was also some good news this week: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy restored voting rights to those on parole and probation in the state. This change will enfranchise more than 80,000 people, according to information provided by the Brennan Center for Justice.
Not only that, but as a part of the FY2020 spending bill, the US House of Representatives funded the upcoming Census to the tune of $6.7 billion—finally getting serious about paying for an accurate count of the hundreds of millions of people who call this huge land home. This victory was in no small part due to the advocacy work of grassroots groups over the last few years. They pushed back against the Trump administration and conservatives in Congress who had hoped to eviscerate the Census—who had wanted to make it harder to count, and provide services to, the poor, minorities, noncitizens, and other vulnerable groups.
As for the Noise? Take your pick of Trump’s banal and angry tweets, his rancid six-page letter denouncing the impeachment process, or his two-hour-long speech—both idiotic and simply offensive—delivered in Michigan the night of impeachment.
Or you could just listen to the strange sounds of GOP politicians performing mental contortions, as they continue to rationalize the irrational and make virtue out of the indefensible.