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  • Reverend James Squire

Ethics and The Impeachment Decision


Photo by Maria Thalassinou


It was a foregone conclusion that Trump would not be found guilty for the Insurrection even before the trial began. The great underpinnings of Ethics are Justice and Love. Justice is defined as a decision that contains Truth and shows a genuine concern and respect for people. Love is not the sentimental emotion with which it is often confused. It is “willing the neighbors good”. It is that action that brings about putting others before yourself. It does not contain self-interest over the interest of the greater good of others.


“Let justice roll down like waters in a mighty stream” are the words of the Prophet Amos. It is a good image to keep in mind.


Let’s look at the key ingredients of the Impeachment Trial Part 2 which made the acquittal possible by locking the door not permitting Justice and Love into the Senate Chamber.


First and foremost, how many trials have the accomplices to the crime actually be the jurors. I noticed that this was a conclusion that Hillary Clinton highlighted as well. Keep in mind that this was not a civil or criminal crime. The prosecution of those crimes of Trump will hopefully come later. It was a political trial. If this was a criminal trial none of these jurors would have been added to the jury list. Anyone who has served on jury duty knows that they would be rejected from serving. How could they find Trump guilty if they themselves were part of the Big Lie? Recall in political ethics that there are certain questions that were moving around in the Senate Chamber that led to this miscarriage of Justice. Who has the power? How do I get it? How does power get distributed throughout government in a way that benefits BOTH the minority and the majority? The last question got locked out of the Senate Chamber as well.


If Trump was innocent, why did his Republican colleagues call him and indicate that he was the only person who could stop the Insurrection?


How many people bring the wood and a noose to construct a structure to hang someone if this was a peaceful protest and shout, “Hang Mike Pence”?


The lawyers themselves were channeling Trump. Both Philadelphia lawyers are regarded as the Ted Cruz of the legal profession. No one likes them. We could see why in the trial. They are big on show and small on substance. Castor tried to charm his way by rambling on and saying nothing in the hope of confusing the senators. Recall he refused to prosecute Bill Cosby. I am sure that, after his opening comments, that senators were looking right and left seeking an answer to the question, “What did he say?” Michael Vanderveen is really a “slip and fall” personal injury lawyer who Is use to his bullying ways to win cases where bullying and lying are the preferred methodology. Some of their comments were cringeworthy.


But there was a very important dangerous entity that was let in to the Chamber. That was not Mr. President. It was Mr. Precedent.


Ethics pays a great deal of attention to precedents as law school does. What happens in the present sets a bar for making future decisions. Who could possibly be impeached in the future after this Impeachment Trial? But even more dangerous are the words of Mitch McConnell. After the whole Senate voted to disregard any jurisdictional issues regarding if the trial could proceed, he went ahead and stated that the trial was not constitutional because Trump was out of office. He completely ignored the vote of the entire senate. Everyone in the room knew that he would not bring the Senate back from their recess to have the trial while Trump was still in office. That delay was on him. There is no neutral ground in Ethics. Not to act is to act. But he added injustice to injury by claiming that his failure to bring the Senate back was the very reason that he would acquit.


Going forward means that the vote of the whole Senate is meaningless because of that precedent setting statement. His final remarks saying Trump was guilty but couldn’t be impeached is not consistent. Inconsistency in application of the law is the greatest ethical enemy of justice. How many times did we hear, “The President is not above the law. He is like everyone else.”


There was another ethical person who was locked out of the room. It is Mr. Reasonable Person Standard. Interview 12 people who are not a Democrat or a Republican, and give them the evidence. Ask them if Trump was guilty. We heard references to Thomas Paine’s book, Common Sense. We know what their vote would be. It would be common sense. It would have been interesting to see the Senate use a secret ballot. I would bet a hefty amount that Trump would be found guilty.


The last political ethical person locked out of the Chamber was perhaps the most important. That person is our future. We need a strong Democratic Party and strong Republican Party without Trump to have a strong Democracy. Only time will tell if future damage has been done. We now know how fragile a Democracy is which is why so few make it a long as we have.


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