Impeachment?

Gosh, this is not part of my usual writing or response. It’s not that social or political subjects are taboo, it’s just that in general, decisions are already made, and I don’t see myself, or this blog as a “influencer”. I mostly write for some audience in the future, and I write for myself, to help me clarify what I believe.

So, what do I believe about “impeachment”? Well, it’s a constitutional requirement for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. I’m absolutely down with “high crimes”. And in general I’m pretty okay with punishing for misdemeanors. It is a low bar, I admit. Convicting someone on a misdemeanor and bouncing him/her out of office seems harsh for something where I might only be required to pay a fine. Still, I do hold positions of leadership to higher standards, so depending on evidence, a misdemeanor might be grounds for a bounce. Execution? No, not hardly.

Unfortunately, I’m guessing that half the country has either given the past President a pass, or a “noose, based only upon their feelings. That’s actually okay by me, I just can’t use that standard myself. I haven’t had any confidence in politicians for multiple decades. I try to vote by platforms, and even that has gone wacko. I do the best I can.

So, that still leaves it up in the air about impeachment. I will try to explain my opinion by looking at it from a very practical point of view. I am a bonafide keeper and protector of the Constitution. I swore an oath, and I keep it still. I believe in “free of speech”. But I am not an idiot, there is a difference between “protected speech” and unprotected speech. Unprotected speech has aspects that are fungible. By that I mean, “depends”.

The classic example is that you can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theatre. Well, that’s silly, you certainly can say that, if you are right. True, you may be responsible for someone if they are injured in the mob trying to exit. But you are also responsible for possibly saving the lives of hundreds. It may be better to shout, “I think I smell smoke, there might be a fire!”, but that does not quite do the same thing. You are either a hero, or convicted of manslaughter.

Could I stand on a soapbox and ask the public to fight in order to save the republic? Of course, that would be protected free speech. What about a movie star, rock star, city councilman? Pretty much you would have to balance their responsibilities as a public influencer.

I’ve only had three positions in life that might have included the greater responsibility of leadership. I recognized very early that I had to be very careful of what I said, and I no longer had the freedom “to speak my mind”, just in case that my mind was off-base.

In general, higher responsibilities do not get “a pass” just because they are powerful. The President can call out the military for high alert because it is part of his job. It can be very troubling to the rest of the world, and it can be very disturbing to concerned citizens. It is not the same as local mayor in Texas, declaring war on Mexico!

Back to impeachment. Was the speech by the president “‘Protected free speech”? I believe the president thinks that it was. Unfortunately for him, that is wrong on several counts.

It comes down to his basic character. He has stubbornly been consistent to who he is at his core. That has been a quality and a curse. He was elected because he wasn’t the usual politician. He has run into trouble because he isn’t the usual politician. This is the source of the national polarization. This can still be workable, except for the tangential effects. In this case, i believe it is his ego, it is not understanding his responsibility of using words that can influence.

I genuinely believe that the president was shocked at the action in the capital, but that does not mean he isn’t responsible. There were deaths, manslaughter is on the table. Is that “high crimes” or “misdemeanors”? Probably a little of one and a lot of the other. It doesn’t matter if you love the individual, or that you hate him. Take the emotion out of the equation and act on the logic.

There is a responsibility to future leaders to carefully choose their words without being frozen into inaction. Maybe this can be a standard that will trickle down to governor’s, mayor’s and politicians that cater to the mob, on the left and the right.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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