Impeaching Trump a second second time will provide fuel for domestic extremism. Right wing extremism has been growing as a direct response to extreme left wing ideology.
A second impeachment trial now that Trump has left office is a mistake. The legal standard for incitement or sedition is very high and without direct evidence that Trump specifically aided and abetted the rioters, this impeachment could be a lost cause and will only further embolden right wing extremists who will view Trump as a martyr to their cause, especially if he is impeached. The full evidence has not been evaluated and Trump actually made comments in the speech in the run up to the Capitol riot to “go peacefully”. He also said, “fight like hell”, but did he specifically encourage violence into the Capitol? It will also bring out evidence that the Capitol police, ex military and others were responsible for aiding the riot. Remember the mayor of DC told the national guard and other security apparatuses to stand down the day before the riots. This will just be political theater for the left and some republicans who want to wrestle the Republican Party away from Trumpism. But in the end it will only continue to divide Americans more as most republicans and even moderates believe the left is using perpetual anti-Trumpism to unite their party around coalition that otherwise can’t agree. on anything else.
The recent events remind us that our democracy is badly fracturing not just across political lines, but across every aspect of our lives, including economically and socially. It’s pretty apparent there is a growing distrust of “others” these days as we surround ourselves by like minded people and even avoid political discussions with family members who share different views. I think it is in this context you have to view the recent events and ask — is it any surprise we have political violence in this country? Yes, we can condemn the Capitol riots and “hold those people responsible”. But I’m more curious about why large swaths of the country are going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories online and what led to nihilism and Trumpism is the first place. Is it OK to start censoring people online even if they are in engaged in conspiracy theory peddling? Do we really trust big tech and big government to control our news and screen our content.
If you examine how democracy works, it is inherently a disruptive system which is based on popular elections which periodically puts different people in power. Unlike the top down approach you find in communist or totalitarian states where the political elders just simply tell you what to do, and you accept it, we trust the masses to elect their representatives, which is often messy, inefficient and sometimes chaotic. If you have different demographics and diversity, you get different types of leaders, some of which will be diametrically opposite in their viewpoints and philosophies. No matter how much you revile and despise another person’s views, or claim to even understand them, under the American system that we subscribe to, shouldn’t we believe in the right to free expression of those we detest? Moreover, under our democratic system would you support the right of slaves to overthrow their masters, even with violence if they were oppressed? What if the laws allowed for that oppression. How would we know when we are enslaved when the chains of modern slavery are not metal shackles but become the increasing and ever watchful eye of technology and big government. As we begin the great “purge” of Trump supporters and their 74 million voters, I wonder where these people will go, and whether we might be better off if we start talking to and engaging with people in the open, as opposed to driving them underground.