The threat of impeachment has been floating around since the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency, yet never has it seemed more imminent than now.
New headlines appear daily with news on impeachment efforts, more elected officials are vocalizing their opinions and nearly every friend and family member has a thought or two to say on the issue. With only a little over a year left of his presidency, many of us are left wondering, is it worth it?
At this point, it is impossible to argue that Trump has done nothing worthy of impeachment. Between hosting government functions at his privately-owned resorts and hotels and blackmailing foreign governments, on record, to investigate political opponents, there is a wealth of options to pick from at the impeachment charges buffet.
Despite all this evidence, congress is nevertheless divided on the issue of impeachment along clear partisan lines. According to the New York Times, of the 235 Democrats in the House of Representatives, 227 have announced support for an impeachment inquiry, and of the 197 Republicans, 183 have said they would vote no to an impeachment inquiry. For many, the concern of wasting time on a lengthy process is their main deterrent in supporting impeachment.
Concern for the efficiency of the chamber seems like a noble reason to withhold impeachment, but it is just another weak excuse for letting Trump off scot-free. Refusing to hold him accountable for his actions simply because it would take time is a slap in the face to the constituents that voted for their representatives. Making sure that the President, the most powerful elected official in the nation, is not abusing his powers is just one of the many duties that representatives promise to complete for their constituents.
Impeachment is not, as many Republican representatives have suggested, a way for Democrats to get rid of a president that they do not agree with to replace with someone more liberal. After all, if Trump were convicted he would only get replaced by the equally conservative Mike Pence. The whole process of impeachment is just to maintain our democratic systems. It keeps out the usual woes of high-power positions, like extortion, corruption and treason. Once these basic legal trespasses are disregarded by a majority of our governing bodies, we are left to wonder how much longer it will take for other legal standards to become irrelevant.
When the President is barely reprimanded for crimes that would derail the average American’s life, the double standard created deepens political disillusionment, mistrust and delegitimizes democratic institutions. The least our elected representatives can do is take the time to check Trump’s abuses of power before they create irreversible damage to our democracy.
Cécile Girard is a 19-year-old biology and psychology sophomore from Lake Charles, Louisiana.