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Cheering for impeachment is ugly, inappropriate

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

The impeachment of Donald Trump elicits strong emotional responses from almost everyone. One reaction seen too often, however, is applause.

Let’s put aside for a moment all the arguments over what Trump did and whether it constituted a crime. If, as those who voted to impeach Trump believe, the president sought a foreign country’s assistance in targeting a political rival, there is nothing about that situation that should cause anyone to cheer.

But so many people have cheered anyway. Impeachment has been a crowd energizer at some Democratic presidential candidate rallies. It’s been a reliable laugh line and applause-getter on late night TV. There were even members of the U.S. House who had to be silenced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday night when they cheered after the first article of impeachment passed.

But what does impeachment mean? It means a majority of our U.S. representatives believe there is evidence that the leader of the country committed a serious crime and we should pursue removing the leader from office. Impeachment can be a necessary action, but it’s necessary the same way it’s necessary to indict someone who has committed murder. 

No one should be celebrating if we are at a point where the leader of our country — who ought to be one our most upstanding, intelligent and loyal citizens — has betrayed the country and the constitution they swore to protect.

Those who cheer a harbinger of such a dark moment in U.S. history are making it look like it’s true what Republicans like Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell claim — that they were simply out to get Trump all along.

By cheering, they turn impeachment into a political weapon. By cheering, they distract from the facts of the case and make it impossible that anyone from the other side of the aisle will listen. By cheering, they further widen the already enormous chasm of division in this country that we cannot afford to continue widening.

This country has suffered through enough ugly, selfish, political behavior from its leaders — that goes for Trump, Republicans and Democrats. But the level of political discourse keeps descending lower and lower. Cheering the impeachment of a president is another step down this bad path.

If the facts of a situation warrant impeachment, it is the solemn and unfortunate duty of our elected leaders to carry out that task. It is also their duty to do so respectfully and deliberatively. Cheering just confirms they view impeachment primarily through the lens of how it hurts their political opponents.