45.7 F
Seattle
Saturday, April 4, 2020

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 a writer, teacher, speaker and ordained minister (United Church of Christ). He served as Senior Minister of Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church for fourteen years. His newest book is Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers. He divides his time between Seattle and a cabin in Wallowa County of northeastern Oregon. If you’d like to know more or receive his regular blogs in your email, go to his site listed above to sign-up.

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

Why Authoritarian Leaders Minimize COVID-19

Once the death toll can no longer be denied, these leaders shift to blaming others for the pandemic. Consider the cases of Xi, Putin, Bolsonaro, and Trump

The View From 2023: How Seattle Changed

The Virus Depression (called VD) has greatly changed the way we live. Surveillance mechanisms are now ubiquitous, monitoring temperatures, spacing, coughing. Grocery stores are well-policed, both to enforce health regulations and to guard against the food riots that broke out in late 2020.

“We Shall Beat It On The Beaches, We Shall Beat It On TV” – Trump’s COVID Oratory Through Our Churchill Spinometer

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to me, and me alone. Only I can fix this.

Coronavirus Chronicles: Unexpected Shortages of Sudden Needs

Just try to buy a solid looking buzz clipper. Sold-out, sold-out, sold-out. Now I did find one for way too much money, and it won’t arrive for a while. I will be cautious about Zoom meetings.

A Bridge Too High? How Warren Magnuson Overbuilt The West Seattle Bridge

Maggie drained the entire $100 million bridge replacement fund and soon the bridge design was high enough to allow passage of "the highest mast conceivable for a ship at that time; higher than has ever been remotely needed."

TRENDING

“We Shall Beat It On The Beaches, We Shall Beat It On TV” –...

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to me, and me alone. Only I can fix this.

The View From 2023: How Seattle Changed

The Virus Depression (called VD) has greatly changed the way we live. Surveillance mechanisms are now ubiquitous, monitoring temperatures, spacing, coughing. Grocery stores are well-policed, both to enforce health regulations and to guard against the food riots that broke out in late 2020.

A Bridge Too High? How Warren Magnuson Overbuilt The West Seattle Bridge

Maggie drained the entire $100 million bridge replacement fund and soon the bridge design was high enough to allow passage of "the highest mast conceivable for a ship at that time; higher than has ever been remotely needed."

Why Hasn’t Washington Adopted Ranked Choice Voting?

FairVoteWA, the citizens group urging adoption of the system, urged the state Democratic Party to use it in its multi-candidate March 9 primary, but for unexplained reasons it declined, even though its 2018 platform calls for its adoption, presumably statewide.

Why Authoritarian Leaders Minimize COVID-19

Once the death toll can no longer be denied, these leaders shift to blaming others for the pandemic. Consider the cases of Xi, Putin, Bolsonaro, and Trump