Impeachment, The Sequel: Day 3 & 4 – Cable News Talking Points, Whataboutism, and a Moment of Reflection for All

Days three and four of Impeachment 2.0 saw the conclusion of arguments from both the House Impeachment Managers and Trump’s defense team. Democrats continued to reiterate that words have consequences, including the fact that it can cause a deadly insurrection like the one we saw on January 6, 2021, and thus have consequences for our country. Trump’s defense team maintained that Donald Trump was exercising his freedom of speech during his speech on January 6th, Democrats also have blood on their hands because of their rhetoric and that election fraud is real. January 6th is one of those important days in American history thus far. It’s the prime example of what can occur because of something as simple as words. No matter one’s side of the aisle, it’s time to continue our reflection and maybe dig deeper within ourselves to understand where we want to be as a country and where we want to go. Is it bipartisanship or staying in one’s lane?

The House Impeachment Managers didn’t need the third day to make their point; they had already made it on day two. The only piece of information that was newly presented on day three was the argument that our standing in the world has been tarnished. I thought that Joaquin Castro beautifully articulated the fact that our adversaries don’t think we are as powerful as we once were. This argument should have some clout with Republicans in a perfect world, the party that once believed in a strong national defense.

I’ve said repeatedly over the next couple of weeks that the Republican party is at a crossroads and is really going to need to figure out their identity: the party of Trump or the party of conservative principles? Republican House and Senate members lived through the terror on January 6th and had to relive it through the evidence shown by the House Impeachment Managers; there’s no coherent argument out there that this never happened or that this was staged by ANTIFA (they’re not saints either, but we know damn well that’s not true). Trump flags were being flown as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol; it’s plain as day. The truth is in front of them; come to terms with the fact that this was influenced by Donald Trump, he put your life in danger, and there should be consequences for shaping that crowd through words to threaten your life. Is the idolization of one morally corrupt man worth it for power? Right and wrong shouldn’t be a partisan issue here.

Trump’s defense team presented some legal precedents during their arguments, but it mostly seemed like it was a repeat of what we have heard in the last four years about how bad the other side is. Michael Van Der Veen, David Schoen, and Bruce Castor continued to push the amplified spin on reality that Trump has been echoing. They called the impeachment “constitutional cancel culture” and referencing voter fraud as if it is more of a widespread issue than it actually is.

They also showed one of the more infamous videos from this trial in which Democrats were using the word “fight” or some variation of “inciting violence” for nearly ten minutes and accused the House Impeachment Managers of doctoring the videos and Tweets that were shown during their argument. I swear it felt like most of their arguments except for the legal precedent reminded me of watching a right-wing cable news channel or right-wing analyst spin their coverage or opinion so that Trump looks like the good guy. It’s the continuation of the practice to deflect on one’s mistakes when we know something isn’t right.

Essentially, the theme of Trump’s legal defense team was stoked in “whataboutism”. The infamous “fight” video shows this loud and clear. Their splicing of clips from Democrats in which they are using “fight” metaphorically (I can’t stand using this word anymore) was exactly the thing that the team accused the House Impeachment Managers of doing. Isn’t that just lawyering and have nothing to do with the bigger picture here?

I understand that the video was hypocritical, but it brings up an overarching thing to think about, whether you are a Democrat or Republican. If you don’t want your words thrown back in our face like this, think about them more closely before they come out of your mouth. Whether the clips were spliced only to fit their argument or not, it doesn’t matter. Have some tact in the way things are said. Tactfulness, whether it be with working with the other side or just in everyday life, has been lost in our political climate.

It doesn’t matter whether one is a Republican or Democrat. It’s important to note that the events on January 6th are a pivotal moment and what I hope is a turning point for us as a country to go in a better direction. We have been so distracted with the Impeachment trial that we know isn’t going to go anywhere. It’s a perfect world to think that someone would hold someone else accountable for their rhetoric almost killing them, but people unfortunately still live in delusional worlds. I get it wasn’t Trump that did the act; it was the insurrectionists. I’ve been very careful to say it was his rhetoric that influenced the insurrection since this is truer than the argument that he actually did it. Once this Impeachment trial is over, I want both parties to take a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror and reflect on the last four years.

Trump is no longer president; do you want him to remain an omnipresent force in our politics? I’d prefer to let him fade away as a former president, weakening his relevance. He has brought out a bad side of everyone, capitalizing on the divisions that were already brewing because of the Obama era. It’s almost as if we need to be snapped back into reality. We are not like this. The idolization of one man by some and the unbreaking hatred of him from others has made us ugly. Pointing out the other side’s flaws angrily is not the way to go about a political discussion. Let’s be move on and be pretty again and most importantly, make our country pretty again.

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