Saturday, June 30, 2018

To End a Presidency by Laurence Tribe & Joshua Matz

Hardcover, 304 pgs, Pub May 15th 2018 by Basic Books, ISBN13: 9781541644885

America is an advanced democracy. It is imperative we the citizenry recognize our responsibilities and make use of our rights. “Impeachment is neither a magic wand nor a doomsday device.” It won’t fix the problems that brought a failed real estate magnate and showman to power. Moreover, calling for impeachment may have deleterious consequences which serve to rally the tyrant’s support.

The best thing about this book for me is that it lowered my blood pressure. I am not going to deny I have been distressed for…more than a year now, and severely low in the past couple months. This book reminded me that there are smart, educated people thinking about how best to deal with a liar whose proclivities border on fascism. Impeachment, these authors argue, may not be the best way to address this threat.
“When our democracy is threatened from within, we must save it ourselves…We must draw together in defense of a constitutional system that binds our destinies and protects our freedoms.”
Calls for impeachment have been increasing over the past decades, but this pair of authors thinks that is a sign of the divisiveness of our politics rather than realistic means of addressing things we don’t like about the other party’s president. We reached a new low when, even before the last presidential election in 2016, promises were made by each side to impeach the winner.

The authors stress that loose talk of impeachment may become as desensitizing as crying wolf when even the public begins to mistrust the options for curbing bad behaviors in a sitting president. Our elected officials must think strategically about what they are planning to achieve especially when they do not control enough seats to initiate impeachment hearings. Hot air is not helpful in educating the public in a time of crisis because it inflames the citizenry’s baser instincts.

We must work together if we are going to govern. The authors quote Lincoln at a time our country was more divided than now:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”
Yes, exactly. We clearly have not seen the existential threats coming down the road or we would be a lot more circumspect about calling hatred down on fellow citizens. Good grief. If we can’t work together despite living in the most resource-rich and abundant country on earth, we’re gonna lose it. But the people that made us this angry will all be dead and we and our children will have to deal with the problems that come. If everybody’s happy with that, let’s prepare well.
“In our experience, one of the main obstacles to an even-keeled analysis of impeachment under Trump is the fear and fury that he inspires in many of his political opponents.”
Don’t be a part of the problem. Educate yourself. It turns out that the most reliable way to deal with a pedant ideologue is to sideline them…in our case, by voting him and his supporters out. Not easy. But neither are any of the alternatives. This state of affairs was a long time developing into toxicity. It may take some time to rid ourselves of it.

This book is worthwhile. Time to take a deep breath and think before you speak.

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