I admit it: just as I sensed that it was important for Ethics Alarms to lend ethical clarity to the potentially (and possibly already) disastrous effort by the Democratic Party to abuse its power and Constitutional processes to remove (that is, overthrow) the President of the United States, I was overcome with a crippling combination of unrelated professional responsibilities and crippling weariness. I’m sick of writing about this topic; I’m even sick of thinking about it. I’m definitely sick of arguing about it on social media. The tag “2016 post-election Ethics Train Wreck” has been appended to more posts than any other, with no end in sight.
I floated the idea of creating a spin-off website that would endeavor to provide one-stop shopping for members of the public who wanted to counter media spin and information suppression on the topic. I do think this is an important project, and I have received a few generous offers to help. I’m still trying to figure out if I have the time to do it right; if I don’t, then it would be unethical to do it at all.
The fact that some polls show that the relentless pro-impeachment propaganda has led to a majority of Americans believing the President should be impeached is troubling, though 1) polls, and 2) on this topic even more than others, all the number shows is how many ignorant Americans are willing to opine at the moment on topics they know nothing about. “Survey Finds More People Would Support Impeachment If They Knew What Crime Trump Was Supposed To Have Committed” snarked the Babylon Bee.
I have several longish essays that I need to write, notably one titled “The Ethics Context of the Trump Impeachment Push.” It should have been written last week, and I’ll be lucky if I can get it complete next week. I know how important the Democratic Party/ “resistance” /mainstream media coup attempt is. As I have been writing here since January 2017, it is the most important ethics story of modern U.S. political history.
I’ve got to keep the analysis moving, even if it’s too slow.
Here, for reference purposes and future discussions, is a list of the Villains of the Impeachment Coup.
The order is mostly random, except at the beginning.
The President’s power to keep the culture, society and public opinion from spinning out of control is well established, and many scholarly works have documented its influence on American history. Barack Obama’s mostly passive encouragement of the effort to undermine the Presidency of his successor has been a stealth affront to American democracy. He laid the infrastructure for the coup while he was President, by his enabling of his supporters’ and his party’s eventual addiction to demonizing all political and ideological opposition to his policies. After the 2016 election, when the effort was obviously underway to try to de-legitimatize the results of the election, Obama could have ended the dangerous enterprise with a well-timed and unequivocal statement in public, and strategic communications with party leaders and activists in private. He could have, and should have, stopped the Congressional Black Caucus boycott of the Inauguration. He could have, and should have, used his position and influence to unite the country before it became dangerously divided. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly for the most intentionally divisive President in our history, Obama allowed the organized degradation of our democratic institutions to proceed, either because that’s what he wanted, or because he lacked the character to do what was necessary.
Like Obama, she had a duty, as the defeated candidate for the Presidency, to rally the nation around the victor, as every other defeated candidate has done at least to a minimal extent. Unlike Obama, Clinton actively did the opposite, and continues to do so. Despite reprimanding candidate Trump for even suggesting that he might challenge an electoral defeat as illegitimate, Clinton did exactly what she had condemned, and is doing it still. She, also like Obama, was in a position to ensure that Donald Trump, like every previous elected President of the United States, was given the traditional “honeymoon period” of guaranteed support from the citizenry, as well as support, respect and loyalty from all political adversaries. Bitter, angry, foiled in her multifarious schemes to become the first female President, she couldn’t and wouldn’t do the right thing, in part because to the sociopathic Clintons, the right thing always means what they perceive as most beneficial to them.
Some blaming of the victim is in order, unfortunately.
Early on, even before he swore the oath of office, the President either knew or should have known that a unprecedented coup attempt was in the wind. Whether he could have stopped it on his own without the assistance of Obama and Hillary, especially with so much of the mainstream media having already made their intentions clear, is a legitimate question. However, he did not have to intentionally throw gasoline on such a dangerous fire for the nation. He could have made a show of trying to bring some prominent Democrats into the administration. He could have worked to heal the rifts, many of which he was directly responsible for, in the party whose banner he ran under. He could have, and should have, set out to at least try to make amends with the Bushes, Senator McCain, and others. including the Clintons. He could have, and should have, delivered a well-crafted speech calling for reconciliation, cooperation, and respect for the Constitution. It is pointless to repeat, but President Trump should have, and indeed had (has!) a duty to, frame his conduct, including his social media presence, with minimal standards of decorum, care, prudence and dignity.
Taunting and trolling may be fun (if you are 13) but when you hold the highest office in the land, when your duty is to preserve that office and the system it supports, and when you know or should know that an unprecedented alliance of hateful and powerful enemies are willing to do tremendous damage to the nation in order to destroy YOU, it is reckless, irresponsible, and stupid to repeatedly poke those enemies in the eyes, mock them, insult them, and dare them to bring it on.
There are another 23 or so villains to discuss. I’ll get Part II up as soon as I can stand it.