I am troubled by a phenomenon I've been encountering more and more often around the reaches of Left Blogistan these days: namely, the "Impeach! Or! Else!" crowd, as I've taken to calling them.
But before I segue into the main theme of this rant, let me indulge in a little prelude, which I will use to put out a few salient points it will be important to remember as I go on here. First, it is both my professional opinion as an historian, and my personal opinion as a reasonably well-informed citizen, that the Hedgemony will absolutely go down in the history books as the worst bunch of bunglers, buffoons, wankers, nitwits, ignoramuses, criminals, boodlers, and all-around scum-of-the-earth bad guys this nation has ever known. And please God, the worst we'll ever have to know.
Second, I believe in my heart of hearts that virtually without exception, starting at the top and working all the way down to the least and last of the political appointees, every member of the Hedgemony is quite likely guilty at least of "high crimes and misdemeanours" within the meaning of Article II, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution. But I also believe, rationally and informedly, that we do not now have, and are extremely likely ever to get in the time remaining before his term ends in 550 days anyway, the necessary or even the sufficient legal evidence that would be needed actually to impeach a single one of them.
Thirdly, I recognize (which the "Do! It! Now!" crowd can't seem to manage) that our slim majority in the House makes it highly unlikely that articles of impeachment would ever be agreed to, and that our not-even-majority (since I don't consider Lieberman a real Democrat) in the Senate means there's absolutely no way we'd ever get a conviction. And furthermore, I submit that this week's late-night filibuster session in the Senate makes it reasonably plain that even if we were lucky enough to peel off a couple of Republicans and get them talking about impeachment, when it came down to crunch time, they'd revert to type and circle the wagons around their president.
Fourthly, I recognize that the world is a highly complex place, and growing more so all the time. I know that our system of government was really not designed for one-party rule, but rather set up in such a way as to require compromise and negotiation from all sides most of the time. I look around me and see such a tremendous host of problems facing me, facing my government, facing us as a nation, and facing all of us as citizens of one small troubled planet, that I sometimes despair of ever solving even one of them.
Fifthly and lastly, I want to see the miserable bastards frogmarched out of the White House as much as the next red-blooded patriotic American does! I also want world peace, a fantastic lover who's gorgeous and smart and a great cook (and "independently wealthy" would be a nice plus!), an end to global warming, the extension of full legal and civil rights to all persons regardless of their sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, race, class, creed, or any other irrelevant factor. I want the Republican Party, at least as it is presently constituted, to shrivel up and die, consumed by its own futility and the searing hatred that it has preached (and practiced) against so many for so long.
I haven't gotten any of the things I just listed in the preceding paragraph, and I'm not likely to get any of them any time soon. To judge the Impeachniks by their routine behavior, my response to that sad fact of life should be one or more of the following:
- Yell louder (I.e., if I just shout at the rain long enough, the Law of Large Numbers will eventually kick in and I'll get something I wanted. See post hoc, ergo propter hoc.)
- Pick up my marbles and go home (see Cindy Sheehan)
- Jump up and down in frustration (often practiced in conjunction with yelling louder and holding one's breath until one turns blue)
- Demonizing, attacking, belittling, castigating (even to the point of accusing them of treason) anyone who does not agree
My inclination, on the other hand, is to acknowledge the sad reality that impeachment is most unlikely to happen, feel a little sad about that, and then get right back to working like crazy doing worthwhile things to limit the amount of damage that the Hedgemony can do in what little time remains to it--in tandem, if at all possible, with trying to get more Democrats elected the next time around so that we don't even need the slimy Republicans to get on with the business of the country and with picking up the messes left by seven years of Bu$hevik rule. Because of that inclination, and because my normal reaction when I see the 7,436th call (this week) for this person to be impeached, or that person to be voted out of office for not impeaching the first person, or anything of the Impeachniks' ilk, is to roll my eyes heavenward and mutter an imprecation or two, I've been called a traitor, a Republican enabler, and a few other choice epithets. Adding insult to injury, very often those insults are flung my way in the midst of what was supposed to be a call for greater civility--a civility, apparently, that is only to be extended toward those who agree with the Impeachniks. Behavior that is Viewed With Alarm, decried, ridiculed, mocked, or complained about when I engage in it is not only tolerated but encouraged from the other side.
And that concerns me. Deeply. Because it seems to me that what I've just described is most, if not all, of what most of us hate the most about our political opponents' behavior toward us these past couple of decades. Unlike the Impeachniks, I won't say that the Impeachniks have become Republicans, but they sure as hell seem to be acting more and more like them every day. It's all there: the circle-the-wagons mentality; the my-way-or-the-highway mentality; the arrogance; the dogged conviction that they, and only they, are right and that no one on the other side can ever possibly be right about anything, no matter how small; the name-calling; the swift-boating; the refusal to acknowledge reality when it's practically biting them in the arse. I could go on and on.
I thought our side was supposed to be the party of reason. The party of tolerance. The party of open-mindedness. The party that wanted to lift all boats together, instead of just those of a certain chosen few. So why the hell are we starting to act like the other side?
Enough. The Impeachniks don't speak for me, even if I share their desire to see the pretzelnit forced to stand in the well of the Senate while a guilty verdict is read out to him. I condemn their methods in no less stringent terms than I do those of the Republicans they claim to want to save me from, and from whom they apparently learned those very methods.
We have bigger battles to fight, and more important things to do than stamping our feet and pouting like petulant toddlers because we've just been told we can't have the thing we want more than life itself (at least at this particular moment in time). I'd have liked to think that all of us who ever tried such tactics when we were children and seen how rarely they worked would have given them up long before reaching adulthood. Apparently I was mistaken in that belief.