50.3 F
Seattle
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Family Values: To Impeach Or Not?

In 1932 a famous argument took place between the brothers Niebuhr, Reinhold and H. Richard, in the pages of The Christian Century

The issue at hand was whether the U.S. should intervene militarily in China in response to the Japanese invasion of China, and reports of Japanese atrocities against civilians.

Though this seems a long way from the current debate over whether Democrats in Congress should be pushing for impeachment, give me a minute.

Both theologians, the brothers came down on different sides. Reinhold argued the case for intervention, H. Richard against.

In his case against intervention, H.R. noted that just because we aren’t doing something does not mean that nothing is being done. There are other forces and factors at work, including an unseen but sovereign God.

Now to the hot topic of impeachment.

Passions are running high both because of what Trump has done and what he has not done. What he has done is two-fold. He has turned a blind eye to clearly demonstrated Russian interference in our elections. “The Russian hoax,” he calls it as he yucks it up with his good friend, Vlad.

And he has obstructed the investigation into that same interference.

And there is what he has not done, which is to refuse to respond to Congressional subpoenas, and instruct his minions to do the same.

Understandably, all of this is really getting under the skin of Democrats who are ratcheting up their rhetoric and response. They argue that their constitutionally mandated responsibility of oversight demands investigation and possibly impeachment.

My instinct is more the H. Richard Niebuhr one. That is, “just because we’re not doing something doesn’t mean that nothing is being done.”

I understand the Democrats sense of constitutional responsibility, and if they feel they must impeach, so be it.

But my suspicion is that we who would like to see Trump tossed out of office in 2020 might be better off to let Trump make his own messes between now and November 2020, and not to look like a victim of never-ending Congressional harassment.

I want to believe that Trump’s dishonesty and grift will catch up with him and that the smart game now may be restraint. Not exactly doing nothing, but not — on the other hand — responding to Trump’s every provocation or mendacity.

I think Trump capable of turning off the majority of American voters on his own simply by being who he is.

I, of course, may be wrong. I didn’t think the guy would ever win in the first place. Hardly alone there.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Trump it is that he thrives on conflict and relishes having an enemy. I’m afraid the Dem’s move to impeach would only feed this guy’s fire.

Meanwhile, I’ve been surprised how well Biden has been doing out of the gate. I had leaned his way earlier, but was bothered when I re-visited the Anita Hill hearings. I don’t know. But I do think he’s taking the right tact in going after Trump on values.

Some of us remember that the explanation for Bush’s defeat of Kerry in 2004 was the so-called “values voters.” The values in play then were mostly around sexuality, gender and abortion, so-called “family values.” Personally, I thought Bush won because Kerry wasn’t a very good candidate. But at the time, the conventional wisdom was “values.”

2020 may see, should see, a new kind of values voter. Now the values to defend are basic human decency, respect for truth, guarding democracy, and hope rather than fear as the American DNA.

Leaning on these values rather than pursuing impeachment seems to me the wiser course.

Image: Pixabay

Anthony B. Robinson
Anthony B. Robinsonhttps://www.anthonybrobinson.com/
Tony is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. He is the author of thirteen books, including the best-selling Transforming Congregational Culture and the award-winning What’s Theology Got To Do With It: Convictions, Vitality and the Church. He is a frequent contributor to The Christian Century as well as other publications. He writes for the “The Daily Devotional” of the United Church of Christ. He has served four congregations, most recently Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

LATEST

Intiman: Theatre Of The Future? (an update on the “theatre that wouldn’t die”)

The existential question is what exactly Intiman is at this point. The speed at which money has been raised so far suggests there's still a constituency willing to find out, but the Big What is still an open question.

The Sounders Lift Our Spirits. Let Me Count the Ways.

For millions of short or average height—like me—this is such a refreshing change from the super-bulked athletes of professional football or the towering giants of basketball.

Trump Could Win in 2020, but the GOP Is Losing Suburbs and Sinking Fast

That national Republican suburban collapse is driving politics here too. Since Trump became the face of the GOP, Republicans have lost 12 seats in Olympia, and one seat in Congress, all from suburban districts. That is likely to continue next year.

The Michael Bloomberg Lane: Is There One?

The billionaire ex-mayor of New York City isn't done thinking about being president. Post Alley writers think about that.

Books: A Seattle Historian on How the West Rescued a Starving Russia

I was shocked by this story — it was so dramatic, moving, powerful, and historically important — yet few Americans, and even fewer Russians know about it.

TRENDING

Intiman: Theatre Of The Future? (an update on the “theatre that wouldn’t die”)

The existential question is what exactly Intiman is at this point. The speed at which money has been raised so far suggests there's still a constituency willing to find out, but the Big What is still an open question.

Seattle Arts Organizations Say They’re Leaders For Social Justice. So Why Are They Fighting...

It's illuminating that the argument Seattle's arts organizations are making isn't about whether paying overtime is fair, but whether it's affordable.

Trump Could Win in 2020, but the GOP Is Losing Suburbs and Sinking Fast

That national Republican suburban collapse is driving politics here too. Since Trump became the face of the GOP, Republicans have lost 12 seats in Olympia, and one seat in Congress, all from suburban districts. That is likely to continue next year.

A Better (And Fairer) Way To Fund Medicare For All.

What employers now pay for their workers’ health insurance should be paid NOT to the government but to the workers as a raise – both the portion already taken out of employee paychecks and the company’s share.

The Sounders Lift Our Spirits. Let Me Count the Ways.

For millions of short or average height—like me—this is such a refreshing change from the super-bulked athletes of professional football or the towering giants of basketball.