Is impeachment enough? The aftermath of the Trump era


Destiney Green, Columnist

2020 was an endless loop of terrible events. As I watched the clock tick down on December 31st, I envisioned a perfect world. Perhaps replacing the number zero with the number one — transforming 2020 to 2021 — would give us all a fresh start.

But my thoughts quickly changed six days into the new year when violent thugs and domestic terrorists violently attacked the United States Capitol where government officials resided. The attack upon the United States Congress, incited by the President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump, became once and for all the breaking point for a handful of Republicans. In hindsight, Trump’s years of deception and lies as well as his incitement of terrorism became the turning point for the country often considered as the best in the world.

Undoubtedly, Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy did not work in the way he wanted to. Not only did he endanger the lives of government officials as armed, maskless Trump supporters broke into the Capitol, but he, as President, directly threatened and disregarded the democracy and integrity of America that he promised to uphold. Following his assembly and provocation of the attack on the Capitol, Trump neglected to acknowledge the effects of his efforts. In feeding his thoughtless followers numerous conspiracy theories about the recent election and inciting them to attack the Capitol, Trump’s loss will be more than that of an election. With this, a second impeachment has taken place and Trump, deservingly, will face consequences for his shameful and humiliating actions over the past four years. 

Trump disgracefully became the first president in U.S history to be impeached twice. The decision to impeach Trump not only demonstrates his uncompromising actions in the eyes of America and the world but also instills a sense of hope, amidst its ugliness, in me. This historical impeachment is emblematic of the dreadful presidency Trump led, dividing our nation and failing to “Make America Great Again.” Although Trump’s presidency concludes in a little under one week, a second impeachment creates a new precedent for our leaders, and with the required vote and conviction by the Senate, potentially prohibits the biggest mistake from ever happening again: Trump running for President of the United States and winning.

Should Trump be barred from office, the American people will be spared another presidency filled with Trump committing tax fraud, spewing lies and conspiracy theories, fuelling hate and white supremacy, downplaying a deadly virus that has claimed the lives of almost 400,000 Americans, separating children from their parents, and placing children and adults in cages (to name a few of his most egregious accomplishments). Most importantly, of course, Trump won’t be able to take golf trips while he should be fulfilling the role of President, which he was elected to do, but has failed to do for four years. A second impeachment followed by a conviction in the Senate and subsequent Senate majority vote will also cause Trump to lose post-presidential benefits such as lifetime pension, backing for travel, and funding for staff and an office. If only Trump’s loss equated to the loss he has caused so many people to experience these past four years –loss of family, loss of money, loss of life, and loss of hope.

Trump’s incitement of violence and response to it, along with the second impeachment, has caused me to reflect on the past four years. Though Trump’s recent unredeemable actions have resulted in impeachment, I cannot help but think about his supporters who are complicit in enabling his destructive behavior. Impeachment might be a punishment for Trump, but what is the punishment for those who have bought into his hate and lies, those who have condoned divisive and hateful behavior? Are their actions redeemable, and is it fair for them to avoid judgment for their aid and support of the President through all his transgressions? What about those who have undermined democracy under oath and fueled the notion that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cheated the election to win?

I suppose the long-awaited condemnation of Trump amongst those who have defended and condoned his actions is better late than never, but they must take responsibility. Perhaps those who have been complicit in Trump’s actions, watching the monstrous consequences of their willful ignorance destroy Trump and his party’s reputations, along with the world’s view of America, punishment is enough. 

Perhaps not.