Opinion / Politics / We The People

Impeachment is Utterly Inappropriate – Ask James Madison

impeachment

Reluctantly, we find ourselves discussing impeachment – again.  In modern America, rather ominously, when factions line up against each other, this old English tool – embedded in the Constitution – is trotted out like an elixir for what ails us.  It is not.  It is an extreme measure, utterly inappropriate for this moment. 

First, what ails us is not a gregarious, full-throated president wielding executive power with uncommon panache, or even a president quick to make politics personal.  We have had those before, and likely will again.  It is far deeper. 

What ails us is a widening fissure in the body politic, one side believing in traditional American ideals – led by individual liberty, the other taken with centralizing power and remaking the world in their image, mandating an end of social ills as they see them.   

Put differently, what ails us is a division between those who appreciate American history as a long, undulating process of free people pooling their talents, defending their nation and raising opportunity for all, and those who see American history as failed, in need of condemnation and remaking, if necessary by radical measures. 

So, while impeachment grabs headlines, it is no more than the symptom of a disease we would rather not think about.  And what is that disease?  In short, the disease of short-sightedness, failing to teach recent generations that America is not just special, but unique. 

America grew out of long-sightedness, sacrifice for the future, respect for those who came before us, persistent risk-taking, hope in the nation’s ideals, faith in a merciful God, as well as in ourselves and our fellow Americans.  

For the long-sighted – hundreds of millions of deceased American citizens – the world was filled with uncertainty and injustice.  America spelled opportunity and hope.  They wanted a chance – to succeed as individuals.  Given the chance, they did – individually and together. 

They did not want handouts, free things, or a chance to give up and depend on others.  They did not want the government to do for them what they could do for themselves or to tell them what they could and could not do, except as enhanced everyone’s opportunity to succeed.

Most of our ancestors, literally and figuratively, would be shocked that our government has run up a 23 trillion-dollar national debt, that we are not unified in defending the nation, protecting borders, honoring veterans, allowing free speech and free exercise of religion, not tending to the nation’s mental health.  They would be shocked that we do not understand the history they forged for us, or burdens that inheritance imposes. 

In short, America is not an accident.  It is the product of long suffering, lessons learned the hard way, great failures, resilience and great success.  It is about staying unified when foreign and domestic forces try to divide us, undermine individual liberty, inflame passions.

That brings us back to impeaching a president.  This rash impeachment is not about an inconsequential call to a foreign leader, ginned into a complaint – assisted by a committee that now sits in judgement on that complaint. 

It is not about non-existent obstruction of justice, in a probe that lasted three years and produced nothing – at enormous cost in treasure and stress to the American people. 

It is not about public corruption, since understanding what led to that waste is an inquiry that must be conducted – and that the American people deserve to know.

This emotionally stoked, stumbling and outcome-determinative push for impeachment is about something smaller and bigger.  Smaller – because it is about misusing the Constitution to unseat a duly-elected president, a quest for power to satisfy dark passions. 

Larger – because this impeachment drive is about imposing the will of a craven few on America, using whatever pretense serves.  Americans understand their country is divided, and that resolving differences is incumbent on them. 

That said, they do not want to see the republic torn asunder by congressional hubris, self-adulating chairmen, dissembling and dishonest, focused by animus on unseating a president.  Most are not interested in another show trial; they are exhausted.  What they want is responsible leadership, a return to the long view. 

Impeachment is not a magic elixir for what ails America.  Every one of the founders would say so, and many did.  Perhaps the most poignant warning came from James Madison, Father of our Constitution. 

Said Madison, the Constitution was not meant to enhance but to contain Mankind’s tendency toward violent factions.  He considered anything pulling in that direction a “dangerous vice.”  Madison was clear.  Impeachment had its place, for “incapacity, negligence or perfidy” – but was an extreme remedy.  Misuse was dangerous.

Madison’s greater fear was that human passion would lead to misuse, distortion or destruction of the Republic.  As he wrote in the Federalist Papers, “human passions” are the great threat, which has “divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.”

If politics is messy, impeachment is messier.  Abuse of the Constitution is uglier and more dangerous than House Democrats realize.  Impeachment will not fix what ails us; it is an extreme measure, utterly inappropriate for this moment.  Madison knew it and most Americans do also.

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George Hook
1 year ago

Corruption happens in many aspects of life both public and private. Uncovering corruption is an investigative task carried out by officials charged with such tasks. You cannot dismiss allegations of corruption by fiat no more than you can make such an allegation. That is the purpose of an investigation. Your article betrays your bias in support of the President when there exists more than enough probable cause for said investigation to uncover the truth — either for or against the President. Also, Madison did not think impeachment was “inappropriate.” Writing in 1787 Madison made it very clear that the “chief Magistrate” (President) “Might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppresion (or) betray his trust to a foreign power” could be “fatal to the Republic.” Therefore, he and others, championed for the inclusion of the impeachment clause to the U.S. Constitution. Only a thorough inquiry into allegations of corruption or betrayal of trust or abuse of power will uncover whether such actions actually occurred. Give the “process” a chance as you would in any criminal investigation (which, by the way, in almost all instances is conducted in secret including Grand Jury tesitimony),

David Campbell
1 year ago

“Most are not interested in another show trial; they are exhausted.”

We are not exhausted. We are tired of the right allowing the left to run roughshod over the constitution, our values, and our rights. This is why Trump got elected in the first place. He fights back.

If you hate The United States of America, vote for democrats.

Marilyn S
1 year ago

All this investigate Trump every which way is absurd, and a major waste of taxpayers money by the Democrats, is just energizing folks that are FOR Trump. I for one voted for Trump in 2016 and will do so again in 2020. Trump is a breath of fresh air, he has accomplished more in three years than Obama did in eight. We don’t need any more lifetime politicians in Washington!

Mark A LaJoie
1 year ago

Whether impeachment is appropriate is, under the constitution, a matter for congress to decide.
Now, in some ways, you may compare society to an nuclear reactor. Without the fissionable material, no power is produced. Without the control rods, the reaction become disastrous. Just so, society needs the liberals to respond to change and the conservatives to keep that change from becoming too extreme.
What we have today is an electorate whose liberals and conservatives both see the need for change, for a different way of doing things. But there is a disagreement about methods.
Climate change threatens us with disaster. Dealing with it will require changes to our economic and social system. It requires us to strike out into new directions, and that is frightening. And self-identified conservatives, the neuroscientists tell us have highly developed amygdala and less development in the anterior cingulate cortex and so are more likely than self-identified liberals who show the opposite anatomy and physiology. This causes conservatives fearfully deny the need for radical changes. The changes we are facing are unprecedented. They require global participation to deal with. The old methods are leading us to calamity. Deforestation, depletion of fisheries, the erosion of topsoil and the release of greenhouse gasses, CO2 and methane into the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates.
America is not unique in history. It may be for the moment the most militarily powerful, but just as the fastest gun in the west is always a temporary title so is military predominance an inevitable precursor to an eventual fall. We spend too much on the military and not enough on education, health care, social welfare and infrastructure. An athlete on steroid gets big muscles fast, but becomes insane and finally dies. It is time to give up the ideas of American exceptioalism and rejoin the world to solve the worlds problems.
If we are to conserve anything why not the custom of the president divesting himself of economic conflicts? Why not demand that the executive honor legal subpoenas by congress? Why not have congress reclaim the duty of declaring war, rather than letting presidents declare wars and abandon allies at his own whims?
Impeachment and the removal of a president from office is a political process. It may or may not be followed by criminal court proceedings.
Using the Constitution is a matter of law. Such use is not abuse.

JUDITH MCMILLEN
1 year ago

SOUNDS FAIR! WE ARE CONSERVATIVE. AND THEY ARE SOCIALIST WANT TO BES FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY! THEY WILL RUIN OUR GREAT COUNTRY!

Jack Thomas
1 year ago

Excellent insight by Robert Charles on this topic. However, the kids in our public schools and universities need to hear this message more than we do. Unfortunately, as other AMAC members have pointed out, our education system has focused largely on “indoctrination” to a leftist view rather than instructing students on American values and history — the uniqueness of our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights. These were instrumental in creating an America that is unlike any other nation in the world. Sadly, the Democrats have lost sight of this, otherwise they would not be frothing at the mouth like a pack of wild dogs, seeking to undo the results of the 2016 election —- or prevent Trump’s 2020 re-election. What the House Democrats are doing is illegal — a clear attempt at an end run around constitutional provisions governing Impeachment. Our founders did not intend Impeachment to be “weaponized” by either party; it is to be used in the event of mental or physical incapacity of a president to perform his duties, or in the event of “High Crimes” and “Misdemeanors.” There is no evidence of either in President Trump’s case, but the Democrats continue to grasp at straws, twisting facts totally out of context, thus presenting a false narrative with the aid of their Fake News media proxies. But even if the House ultimately votes for Articles of Impeachment, the political advantage still goes to Trump. Perhaps one or two Republican senators like Mitt Romney might be flipped, but it’s doubtful the GOP-controlled Senate will ever convict.

Jonathon Hood
1 year ago

Thanks Mr. Charles. Very well said.

dino
1 year ago

The real AMERICA WILL prevail,the liberal,socialst democrats are very close to a communistic run society and in AMERICA that will NOT work.The democrats do not realize how many”REAL”AMERICANS that are still out there.

Mark
1 year ago

The progressive Marxists don’t want to fix anything. The seek to destroy liberty and impose centralized control and slavery. The are doing the same behaviors as other totalitarian regimes. Read Alinsky’s 12 Rules. Grams I is worth reading too. It’s all manipulation, deceit and lies.

An Arizona Conservative
1 year ago

The impeachment drive is disgusting. I am deathly afraid of where all of this leftist venom is leading this country. I fear for the children and grandchildren of future generations. I love this country. The current political climate makes me very sad. What happened to having a respectful discussion of opposing opinions? People are willing to buy into the negative media dialogue and are willing to vote with those too ignorant to think for themselves. This country was founded as a refuge for people seeking freedom of speech and religion. We have always cherished our diversity and embraced our cultural differences. Now I am afraid to open my mouth or express my thoughts. It’s a sad, sad day.

Mike B.
1 year ago

There’s no doubt the Democrats assted by the main stream media are attempting a bloodless coup to overturn a legitimate presidential election. If they succeed, I dare say it will not be bloodless. Freedom loving Americans across this nation will take their country back and fight to re-instate the ideals of our constitution once again.

Della Fultz
1 year ago

What happened to by the people for the people. It has been trampled under the dems feet. old Nancy and Adam don’t care what the people of this nation think and feel they just want to dictate to us and destroy America. I just pray that God would step in and save this country from Satan’s demons before it is to late.

JohnH
1 year ago

Impeachment & major differences between the two parties will probably lead to a THIRD party that will run on as platform that is good for USA, unite the people again, and believe in paying down our national debt before it gets any bigger. Tax cuts are okay if we are not adding more debt!!! But not good if only to be elected & ignore……remember Obama years added 8-9 trillion dollarts to debt & now it is looking at +$1 trillion a year. A country cannot go bankrupt like a US company can & survive for another dayt

JohnH
1 year ago

Big distraction to all of our real problems (forget about Turkey invasion, China trade war NKorea threats, Hong Kong, GM strike no mention at all, and on . Trump actually pushing Dems to go for impeach & look at the way he asked China to investigate Biden also. What a bag of tricks on all sides & more division in our country. My opinion, the dems have not come up with a 2020 candidate & I wish Repubs would come up with a candidate to put some pressure on Trump to be more truthful to American people. Why did he talk to Turkey on Sunday & did not talk to our Kurdish allies at same time ????

Sharon Harrigan
1 year ago

This country was founded by God, and it’s government at that time was based on Biblical principles. I would ask each person who reads this article to please pray that the LORD will bring about another great awakening to our country. He has done it in the past and is able to do it again, if we pray.
2 Chronicles 14:7 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
I have heard this before, “America, you are too young to die.”

JohnH
1 year ago

Hope that others will listen to you & pray for this country. I also think that God is throwing the climate diasters at USA as a warning to straighten up .
A divided country is never good & leads to chaos & can fall. Note: Communism/Socialism want to take God out of countries as a weapon to destroy our values.

J Kenneth Brandon
1 year ago

Keep your bible in one hand; your gun in the other. Their own corruption will eventually take them down, but like Rome it will take a long time. GOD has time to wait, we don’t.

Dolf R.
1 year ago

Impeachment inquiry is not an impeachment. This charade is being done to take the focus off of the Dumbocratic party. They are almost broke and in disarray. Biden will not be the candidate. He is a buffoon that is merely holding Hillary place until she steps out from behind the curtain to steal the nomination.

Nancy Sypolt
1 year ago

Very well stated and well written article! Regardless of what the slimy dems do, we are still the greatest country. I wish they would stop the craziness. Trump has been excellent as President, and has tried very hard to keep all the promises he made to us Americans, even though he was stopped at every turn by the far left. I believe this all started when Obama became President. All our American values were trampled on by him and his henchmen men. Also, the professors who are teaching our children, are mostly socialists who have no regard for American values, capitalism, or American history. Our society today has no great hero’s to look up to, only a man and administration who failed our country! Namely Obama and his crooked administration.

J Kenneth Brandon
1 year ago
Reply to  Nancy Sypolt

Only answer I see; support Trump.

Lav
1 year ago

Sad is that Truth and Justice are taking the back seat. With everything so personal we forget to avoid the feelings and push for Truth and Justice. If there was Truth and Justice for all then we would not be so divided. We would not protest, call each other names and give the lack of respect that is out there now. Shame on those who cover for some and pursue others for the same faults. I Vote for Truth and Justice for Good of All fellow Americans not just me and my agenda.
So Sad we are where we are today. I think President Trump is doing a wonderful job, despite what our government is doing to him. Thank you Jesus and I pray for our country as a whole not as divided parties.

The OLD Warhorse
1 year ago

This piece gives the Dems far too much credit. They know exactly what they are doing and IF it destroys the country in their quest to regain power and control, the end will have justified the means. It is so sad to see, yet it is good to see that they (the Dems) have finally come out from behind their masks to show their true selves. Sadder still is to see so many young people cheering for the destruction of this country. I don’t think they have any idea what they will be losing. They have been brainwashed by media, the education system at all levels, and social media to believe this great nation is the root of all evils in the world. I am only thankful that I probably won’t live long enough to see the complete demise of this land I love so much. I pray for my kids and grandkids. God, Please Bless America, Again.

Jack Thomas
1 year ago

The Old Warhorse,

I agree with you. The Millennial generation (age 25/26 and under) is worrisome. They’ve been “indoctrinated” by the Ministry of Miseducation at the public school/university level by socialist-minded teachers and professors. They have not been taught American history or values the right way, and our politicians and media are no help. Why should the attitude of the younger generation toward our country be a surprise when you have politicians like N.Y, Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly declaring (not so long ago) on TV that, “America was never that great!” ?? Today’s kids — to an alarming extent — think the Government owes them everything — from “free health care” to “free college tuition,” . . . on and on. This is precisely why Democrat presidential hopefuls like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the 2020 rogues gallery are both dangerous and divisive. Add to the mix the flood of illegal “guest voters” the Dems have allowed to flood into the USA + the usual low-information voters who get drunk on the kool-aid of CNN, MSNBC, NY TIMES, etc. and it’s plain to see we’re in real trouble in 2020. And remember that the younger voters I’m describing are the same age group and mind-set as those who turned out in droves to vote for Obama in 2008 and again in 2012 —- and for Hillary in 2016. You could wish for a better nightmare.

Mary
1 year ago

The full house must vote on impeachment. This is a democrat coup to over throw our President . It is unfortunate that the media/Obama’s deep state/ is driving this coup with the democrats. Voice your thought to Congress…

JohnH
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary

Tell me why this has to be a full house ?????

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