In terms of pure dogma driving a political issue, the current impeachment proceeding of President Donald J. Trump would be hard to beat.
And as an example of a sheer waste of time, the effort to impeach the president stands alone.
Don’t get the wrong impression. Many of the president’s actions and words since the time he stepped into office have been questionable, divisive and, at times, embarrassing. His lack of knowledge of history and his indifference to the truth are gravely disturbing.
But now, dogma is driving efforts on both sides of the political fence on this current federal legislative fight, and that is truly discouraging.
Throughout our history the democratic foundation of this nation weathered similar political ills, and, when our legislative system works best, its hallmark is compromise.
Our nation now, though, often represents an unhinged element of democracy where the person who can yell the loudest is the one who is listened to. Facts are twisted and discarded. Our problems, it seems, are almost always someone else’s fault. The Democrats are to blame. The Republicans. Or migrants are the biggest problem, or the Chinese. The list of potential villains grows daily, and perfectly well-educated people — men and women who are products of our educational system — descend into a dark chasm of political misinformation and warped doctrine.
We have evolved into a mass of citizens who choose a side and then believe whatever “facts” that political clan proposes. Whether they are true doesn’t matter.
Which brings us back to the impeachment proceedings. The procedure is a simple one. Congress investigates, then the House of Representatives must pass — by a majority — articles of impeachment. Once the articles are passed, the individual is impeached.
Next the Senate tries the accused. If it is the president, then the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the proceedings. Conviction — which is the key word — requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of those senators present. The result of a conviction is the removal from office.
So why is it a waste of time in this case?
Simple. Democrats control the House. Republicans control the Senate. The chances the president would be convicted in the Senate are miniscule. The chances he will be impeached in the House are nearly a forgone conclusion.
So, in the end, it isn’t really about an unjust smear on our system of government by the president. Instead it is about making a statement.
There is a built-in system to eliminate someone who the voters believe no longer best represents their views.
It is called an election.