If there's something upon which many Americans agree, it's that the impeachment might be the catalyst to sweep President Trump back into office where he can continue terrorizing his fellow Republicans. O ye of little faith.
Some Democrats have become cynical pragmatists, having lost hope that Republicans will ever return to their ethical and patriotic roots, believing that impeachment will simply inflame Forever Trumpers. Well, they're already inflamed, folks, trousers included in many cases.
Even amid the biggest presidential debacle in history, a torrent of lies and coverups, of grift and graft that threatens democracy itself, they've doubled down. Such unrepentant people are lost to us anyway, mired in ignorance, avarice and hate. Ignorance because they're ill-informed, avarice because greed is their new god, and hate because Trump's fanned its flames.
As for the centrists who chose Trump's political blank slate over a baggage-laden Hillary Clinton, they were rolling the dice. A “lesser of two weasels” strategy. They realize their mistake.
Here in North Dakota, it's unlikely that a malevolent billionaire blow-hard could win a city council seat -- I don't believe that much rot has set in -- yet inexplicably, many North Dakota Republicans still support as president a snake oil salesman their grandparents wouldn't let darken their doorways.
How far we've fallen from the path in the absence of leadership. Our congressional delegation is motivated by primitive ambition, opportunism and fear. Sen. Kevin Cramer, whose political philosophy is too shallow to float a frog, is the most obvious opportunist. This isn't a calling for him. It's a meal ticket. Rep. Kelly Armstrong is an example of myopic neophyte ambition. I'd like to believe that if he grasped the gravity of these times, he'd do the right thing. Conversely, Sen. John Hoeven sees the damage Trump's doing but seems too paralyzed by the fear of Trump's vindictiveness to challenge it.
Then there's Gov. Doug “I'm Just One of the Boys” Burgum, who lost many supporters when he cynically endorsed corruption incarnate in 2016. Now, in another cynical political calculation, he'll campaign for Trump in Iowa, where the president is apparently locked in a desperate primary contest against corn. 'Tis but a fart in the wind, but this display of fealty shows that Burgum’s abandoned self-respect and North Dakota values to reach the next brass ring. I wonder if they make denim tuxedos.
I keep hoping these guys will surprise me, but they inevitably disappoint. They'd rather “win” (or survive) even if they're wrong. A once-honorable Republican Party has lost its way.
That brings us back to impeachment. There's never been any delusion that the current flock of Republicans will defend the Constitution. But in life, in the past and in the future, you have to fight for what's right, not just when you think you can win. Even if they don't go down, all bullies need to be punched in the nose.
Americans have always been defiant in defense of democracy. This impeachment is about lighting a path back to American ideals, about fighting the good fight, about proving that no one is above the law. If Democrats had meekly stood by and done nothing as a matter of political expediency, how would voters distinguish us from Republicans? We would have become them.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.