The case for firing Donald Trump is an extension of an argument I’ve long made in these pages: impeachment should be “normalized.”

It should seem incredible that a man with control over nuclear weapons has less job performance accountability than a Starbucks barista. This is only half funny: we actually did have a President get drunk and threaten the use of nuclear weapons, and it was part of his worldview strategy (the “madman theory” of negotiations). Another President distorted intelligence to invade a nation that never warred on us (using the UN concept of proportionality). That war killed hundreds of thousands of people, and set in motion events which displaced millions of others, creating the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. The sequel of that refugee crisis strains the philosophy of the open liberal order of the European Union to this day, and will continue to do so tomorrow. Another President cannot practice law in his own state, since he was disbarred for perjury, yet he headed the Justice Department. We have blatant crimes unaccounted for in our “highest” leaders, while we have the world’s highest incarceration rate for our “lowest” citizens.

Sigh, I could go on (and on). We have the opposite approach now: impeachment has not been applied even as a solution to the malfeasance clearly intended by our Founding Fathers (and one of them, Ben Franklin, wanted the option to impeach just for obnoxiousness). If we don’t impeach for President’s Trump’s conduct since the election, what would it take to impeach anyone in the future?

Maybe the problem is that a special word, “impeachment,” means, to many, a special thing, as opposed to “firing someone for the cause of incompetence.” Not “impeach for Russia coordination,” not “impeach for politicking over Ukraine,” but “firing for gross incompetence.” “Firing for mismanaging the pandemic; firing for dereliction of duty as the head of the justice department; firing for the cause of disgracing the institutions the President swore an oath to uphold.” See how simple: just changing the vocabulary might make the concept easier to apply (our old namesake, George Orwell, wrote all about how words precede concepts, as well as distort them).

If nothing else, Donald Trump proved that a President can be so very bad, and still do passing-well. Thus, there is no argument that a President is somehow indispensable. Firing Trump would be firing the person who botched the challenge of a century, but who also made firing people who perform poorly at making papier-mache creations an innovative TV entertainment.

A private company that has its reputation so impugned by its leader would have forced a resignation years ago. The American political system is different, since impugning each other is a feature, not a bug. But impugning our democratic traditions, the oldest continuous in the world, is not that. Trump insults our institutions at every turn, and on every level. He does so with purpose, on Twitter, and out of what seems like manifestations of mental illness, to this author’s practiced eyes (his niece would certainly agree). Grandiose delusion, with imperviousness to evidence to the contrary, is a well-established facet of many forms of mental illness. When listening to the leaked phone consultation between the President, and the REPUBLICAN officials who oversaw their State’s electoral investigation in Georgia, There is no other conclusion possible.

Another argument for impeaching the President, is that his gangrene might be amputated from the effect it is having on the Republican Party’s future. He would be barred from federal office, and would torment them no more. Mitt Romney has the right of it here, like he has long had. The Democrats will be bludgeoning the Republicans with this for a long time, and they have a right to.

Impeachment could be very fast, and it could be near effortless. The time is ripe. It would be a healthy amputation, for the Democrats, the Republicans, and the nation, whose interests rarely seem to factor in our incessant partisan warfare.

With Presidential-level power should come Presidential-level accountability.

Eugene Darden Nicholas

About Eugene Darden Nicholas

Eugene Darden (Ed) Nicholas is from Flushing Queens, where he grew up sheltered from the hard world, learning the true things after graduating college and becoming a paramedic in Harlem. School continues to inform and entertain in all its true, Shakespearean glory. It's a lot of fun, really. In that career, dozens of people walk the earth now who would not be otherwise. (The number depends on how literally or figuratively you choose to add). He added a beloved wife to his little family, which is healthy. He is also well blessed in friends and colleagues.


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